Sony hopes to sell 15 million PlayStation 3 consoles worldwide in the year ending March 2011, and the company says it's on track to reach that goal, even in a climate where console sales fell 5 percent last month
"As of the end of August, sales look a bit better than we expected," Sony Computer Entertainment president Kaz Hirai told Reuters at the Tokyo Game Show
. According to the report, Sony is tracking just ahead of hardware sales targets for its April-September period.
The division of the electronics giant that houses the PlayStation business saw sales up 32 percent year over year thanks to the PS3 Slim, and the lower manufacturing costs of the redesigned console mean that the firm continues to close its losses. During Sony's fiscal first quarter
, unit sales of the console more than doubled year over year, with 2.4 million units sold in the quarter as compared to 1.1 million units the previous year.
Notably, the PS3 Slim has boosted the platform by 66 percent in the U.S. in the 12 months to August 2010, up from 2.95 million to 4.90 million. Although it's not a perfect comparison, analysts are closely watching how the PS3 Slim is tracking
against the rival slimlined Xbox 360, which is slightly behind.
For Sony, part of that battle will take place on the network side; Hirai told Reuters 80 percent of the 38 million PlayStation 3 units sold globally so far are linked up to the PlayStation Network service -- although the aim is to capture 100 percent, up against Xbox Live's 23 million users as of January 2010. The launches of Move and Kinect are widely expected to be key to the console rivalry.
3D is another component of Sony's profitability strategy. The company recently released a firmware update
adding capability for 3D Blu-ray movies, as according to Bloomberg the company sees such high-definition capabilities
as key to competing with the booming mobile smartphone gaming sector. "It’s something that will lead to broadening the customer base of the overall game industry," Hirai said.