Profits flat for Sony's game division
6.5m PS3s sold in Q3; decrease in PlayStation 3 costs offset by lower PS2, PSP sales
Sony's Networked Products and Services division, which includes sales of PlayStation hardware as well as Viao PCs, recorded an operating profit of ¥19.4 billion (£134m / $213 million) for the third quarter, an improvement of ¥25.3 (£125m / $277m) billion year on year.
However, profitability in the game business specifically was relatively unchanged, said the company, with cheaper hardware manufacturing costs of the PlayStation 3 offsetting the decline in PS2 and PSP sales.
Sales of PlayStation 3 units reached 6.5 million during the three months to December 31, compared to 4.5 million in the 2008 fiscal year, but sales of PSP units were down from 5.1 million to 4.2 million, and PlayStation 2 sales down from 2.5 million to 2.1 million.
The overall Sony business posted its first profit in five quarters, with operating profit at ¥146.1 billion (£1.01bn / $1.6bn), compared to a loss of ¥17.96 billion (£124m / $197m) a year earlier.
The company's Consumer Products and Devices division saw operating income was ¥49.4 billion (£341m / $542m), with cheaper manufacturing costs for BRAVIA LCD televisions and CyberShot cameras.
Higher Blu-ray disc sales helped Sony's B2B & Disc Manufacturing division to operating profits of ¥10.1 billion (£69m / $110m), a 21.5 per cent increase on the previous year.
Sony Pictures were up 9.1 per cent to ¥14.1 billion (£97m / $154m), Music up to 8.2 per cent to ¥23.1 billion (£159m / $253m), and Financial Services up from a loss of ¥37.4 billion (£258m / $410) to ¥35 billion (£242m / $383m) profit
Boosted by the results, Sony now expects a full year to March 31 operating loss of ¥30 billion (£329m / $207m), down from ¥60 billion previously estimated.