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Sony's first profit in five years, no thanks to PlayStation

Sony's first profit in five years, no thanks to PlayStation
May 9, 2013 | By Mike Rose

May 9, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Although Sony recorded a swing to profits during the last fiscal year -- its first profit in five years -- the company's PlayStation business wasn't so healthy, with a significant drop in operating income.

A notable decrease in the number of PSP and PlayStation 3 units being sold was to blame, said Sony, as well as the poor sales and subsequent price reduction on the PS Vita.

It was the reduction in LCD television losses that really helped Sony turn the tide, as well as the consolidation of Sony Mobile as a wholly-owned subsidiary, and favorable foreign exchange rates.

Sony sold 16.5 million PS3 and PS2 units during the last fiscal year, down compared to the 18 million it sold year-over-year. Meanwhile, 7.0 million PS Vita and PSP hardware units were sold, essentially flat compared to the 6.8 million sold year-over-year.

The company clearly doesn't believe the near-future is very bright for hardware sales either -- it's predicting sales of 10 million for PS3 and PS2 during this fiscal year, and 5 million for Vita and PSP.

Unfortunately, Sony does not break this latter figure down separately into Vita and PSP sales, and there's no mention of how many Vita hardware sales in particular Sony predicts it will make.

As for software, 153.9 million PS3 and PS2 units were sold during last fiscal year, down year-over-year compared to 164.5 million, while 28.8 million Vita and PSP software units were sold, down year-over-year compared to 32.2 million.

For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013, Sony's PlayStation business saw revenues of 707.1 billion yen ($7.2 billion), down 12.2 percent year-over-year, and operating income of 1.7 billion yen ($17.2 million), down by a significant 94.1 percent year-over-year.

Overall, Sony posted revenues of 6.8 trillion yen ($72.3 billion), up 4.7 percent year-over-year, and profits of 43.0 billion yen ($435.7 million), compared to losses of 456.7 billion yen ($4.6 billion) year-over-year.

Looking to the current fiscal year, Sony estimates that it will continue to increase its profits, but barely -- it's forecasting profits of 50 billion yen ($506.1 million), up 16.2 percent compared to last year.

While the company is predicting a significant sales increase for its PlayStation business, thanks to the launch of the PlayStation 4, it says profits will be "essentially flat" year-over-year, primarily due to PS4 research, development and marketing expenses.

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