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PlayStation sales down as Sony posts record full year losses

PlayStation sales down as Sony posts record full year losses

May 10, 2012 | By Mike Rose

May 10, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Sony today posted record losses for the last fiscal year, due in part to its declining video game business, although the company estimates that it will swing to profits during the current fiscal year.

The company put its losses primarily down to the impact of foreign exchange rates and the disruption caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the floods in Thailand -- however, it also noted that market conditions in developed countries have deteriorated.

Its Consumer Products and Services division, which houses its PlayStation and TV businesses, amongst others, saw notable losses compared to the previous year, as sales of both PlayStation hardware and TVs were down.

The PlayStation business in particular saw decreased revenue from the PlayStation 3 hardware, due to the strategic price reduction during the year, and sales of both its PSP and PlayStation 2 consoles also fell.

During the 2011 fiscal year, Sony sold 13.9 million PlayStation 3 units worldwide, compared to 14.3 million sold year-over-year. The PlayStation 2 sold 4.1 million units, down from 6.4 million year-over-year, and the PSP sold 6.8 million, down from 8.0 year-over-year.

In terms of software, the PlayStation 3 saw 156.6 million units sold worldwide, up from 147.9 million in the previous year, while 7.9 million PlayStation 2 software units were sold, down from 16.4 million year-over-year, and 32.2 million PSP software units sold, down from 46.6 million year-over-year.

Although hardware and software sales figures for the newly released PS Vita were not provided as part of the financial results, CEO Kaz Hirai revealed during the company's earnings call that the handheld had sold 1.8 million units by the end of March.

For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012, the company's Consumer Products and Services division posted revenue of 3.2 trillion yen ($39.3 billion), down 18.5 percent year-over-year from 3.8 trillion yen ($48.3 billion), and losses of 229.8 billion yen ($2.9 billion) compared to profits of 10.8 billion yen ($135.5 million) in the previous fiscal year.

Overall, Sony posted revenues of 6.5 trillion yen ($81.5 billion), down 9.6 percent from 7.2 trillion yen ($90.1 billion) year-over-year, and losses of 456.7 billion yen ($5.7 billion), compared to losses of 259.6 billion yen ($3.3 billion) year-over-year.

Looking to the current fiscal year, Sony expects to swing back to profits, as it currently forecasts revenues of 7.4 trillion yen ($92.9 billion), an increase of 14.0 percent year-over-year, and profits of 30 billion yen ($376.5 million).

The company estimates that, for the current fiscal year, it will sell around 16.0 million PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2 hardware units combined, and 16.0 million PS Vita and PSP hardware units combined, while the company estimates software sales figures for each console will be approximately the same as the year just gone.

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