Sony financials: PlayStation software shines as hardware slows

Strong PlayStation 4 software sales helped offset a slight decline in hardware and drive Sony's games division forward during the third quarter.

Sony has released its financials for the nine months ended December 31, and strong software sales helped drive its games division forward as hardware stalled during the third quarter.

Drilling straight into the company's Games & Network Services division, which houses Sony's video game operations, nine-month sales increased by 231.3 percent year-over-year to 1.49 trillion yen ($13.58 billion), while profits rose by 44.8 percent to 157.8 billion yen ($1.42 billion). 

That positive shift was driven by a surge in both physical and digital PlayStation 4 software sales, and was helped along by the impact of foreign exchange rates.

During the third quarter alone, PlayStation 4 sales clocked in at 9 million units, which is slightly less than the 9.7 million units sold throughout Q3 2016. 

Yet, despite that dip, the division's quarterly revenue actually rose by 16.2 percent to 718 billion yen ($6.5 billion), while profits increased by 70.8 percent to 85.4 billion yen ($773.7 million) - no doubt thanks to the performance of the PS4's software lineup.  

Looking ahead, Sony is still anticipating PlayStation 4 hardware sales to total 19 million units by the end of this fiscal year on March 31. 

It has, however, made a slight downward revision to the division's full-year sales forecast due to a "change in the launch dates of certain software titles."

As such, Sony is now expecting sales of 1.94 trillion yen ($17.57 billion) -- as opposed to the 2 trillion yen ($17.6 billion) it predicted in October -- and profits of 180 billion yen ($1.58 billion) by end the of the financial year on March 31, 2018.

Meanwhile, across the company as a whole, nine-month sales rose by 15.7 percent year-over-year to 6.59 trillion yen ($59.02 billion), while profits increased by 1,012 percent to 507.6 billion yen ($4.54 billion) over the same period.

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