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Sony's Q3 game profits up 24% on strong Network sales

Combined PS4 and PS4 Pro sales reached 9.7 million, division revenue topped $5 billion

Sony Interactive Entertainment sold almost 10 million units of the PlayStation 4 in the third fiscal quarter, boosting the division's operating profit by 24%.

In the quarter ended December 31 2016, SIE's revenue rose 5% to $5.3 billion revenue - a 15% increase on a constant currency basis. Operating profit saw a steeper rise, up 24% year-on-year to $431 million.

The PlayStation 4 continued to perform well, with 9.7 million units sold in the quarter, up from 8.4 million in fiscal Q3 last year. That boost pushed lifetime sales of the console past 50 million units, though Sony didn't distinguish between sales of the PS4 and the more powerful PS4 Pro, which launched in November last year.

Sony did note that the rise in operating profit was helped by PS4 hardware cost reductions and improved software sales. It also mentioned a contribution from PlayStation VR, but offered no solid figures on its performance.

Hardware contributed $2.4 billion of the division's revenue, but despite the increase in unit sales that still represented a 14% year-on-year decline. However, the biggest gains were made by the SIE Network, which saw a 40% increase in revenue to $1.8 billion. The division's Other category, which includes packaged software, rose 20% to reached $900 million.

Overall, Sony Corp. saw a 7% decline in revenue, earning $20.7 billion in the quarter. Operating income fell 55% to $796 million, though, largely due to a $962 million impairment charge of goodwill related to its Pictures division, which includes Sony's Motion Pictures business. That resulted in a 83% decline in net profit to $169 million.

Sony Corp. has now revised its profit forecast for the fiscal year ending in March 2017. It now expects to make a ‎¥24 billion net profit, less than half of the ‎¥60 billion it forecast in November last year.

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