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Sony Sees $385 Million Profit, But Game Biz Declines 12.9 Percent

3.5 million PS3 consoles sold and increased game sales during Sony's second fiscal quarter helped drive the company to a profit -- but the game business saw overall sales decline 13 percent.
PlayStation house Sony closed its second fiscal quarter with sales up 4.3 percent to 1.73 trillion yen ($21.4 billion) -- and with profits of 31.1 billion yen ($385.2 million), compared to last year's 26.3 billion-yen ($325.7 million) loss. Even working against the strong yen, the Japanese electronics giant saw sales up across nearly all its segments. But Sony highlighted the Networked Products and Services Segment, which contains the PlayStation business, as having "contributed significantly" to the improved results. Sony's second fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2010. The segment's sales were up 5 percent to 369.1 billion yen ($4.4 million), and it contributed operating income of 6.9 billion yen ($85.5 million) versus a 59 billion-yen loss ($730.7 million) in the same period last year. But a 50 percent increase in its PC unit sales takes most of the credit, particularly as Sony says it's seeing increased global marketshare on that front. The company sold 3.5 million PS3 consoles during the quarter, a year-over-year increase of 9 percent. Sony also says overall PS3 game sales from first and third-party creators increased from 23.9 to 35.3 million units, and that the combination of lower PS3 production cost with higher unit sales is continuing to assist. However, the game business itself within the Networked Products and Services division saw sales decline 12.9 percent to 171 billion yen ($2.1 billion) -- with PS3 hardware and software up, a sharp 50 percent year-over-year decline in PSP hardware helped offset the segment's performance. PSP handheld sales came in at 1.5 million -- about the same as the legacy PlayStation 2 platform, now a decade old. PlayStation Portable game sales from both first and third party publishers declined from 13 million to 11 million units, while PlayStation 2 game sales saw a sharper decline, falling from 11.4 million to 5.6 million units year on year. Alongside the positive overall results, Sony raised its earnings forecast for this fiscal year ending March 31, 2011 17 percent to 70 billion yen ($867 million) -- but conscious of the yen's currently-challenging exchange rate, it lowered its sales outlook slightly to 7.4 trillion yen ($91.6 billion). The company expects to sell 15 million PS3 consoles this year, alongside 8 million PSPs and 6 million PS2s.

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