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Sony Corp Swings To Profit, PlayStation Biz Slashes Losses

Sony Corp returns to profitability in its fiscal first quarter after a year of heavy losses -- and while the PlayStation business isn't profitable yet, the division slashed losses thanks to lower PS3 manufacturing costs and higher unit sales.
Profit remains just out of reach for Sony's PlayStation business, but the division continues to cut losses -- whereas last year it was 36.7 billion yen ($422.1 million) in the red, this year's fiscal first quarter sees Sony's game segment report a smaller 3.8 billion yen ($43 million) loss. Sales in the Networked Products and Services division, which houses PlayStation and PC products, saw sales up 32 percent thanks largely to the lower-cost, higher value PlayStation Slim. PS3 unit sales 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. Sony's fiscal first quarter ends June 30. Explaining its results by segment, Sony suggested it might have been profitable if not for the strong yen and the higher administrative and business costs that come with more unit sales. The company saw PS3 software gains too, up 10 million units year over year to 24.8 million units. PSP software also rose to 9.2 million units, a 900,000 unit year over year increase. PlayStation 2 software declined severely, from 8.5 million to 3.4 million year over year -- even while sales of the hardware remained exactly the same, at 1.6 million units sold. Conversely, the gain in software on Sony's portable didn't correlate to an increase in the hardware userbase; PSP unit sales declined slightly from 1.3 million units to 1.2 million units year over year. As many analysts predicted, Sony overall as a corporation saw a return to profitability following on a 41 billion-yen ($440.33 million) loss for its most recent fiscal year, and a 25.7 billion-yen loss in its first quarter last year. Sony Corp saw a net profit of 25.7 billion yen ($289 million) for the quarter, with sales up 3.8 percent to 1.6 trillion yen ($18.7 billion).

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