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Sony hopes for PlayStation profit boost; smartphones struggle


Tokyo (Sept 18, 2014): The head of Sony Corp's PlayStation division hopes to raise its profit outlook for this year, in stark contrast to the Japanese electronics firm's mobile business which has forecast deep losses and sent Sony's stock reeling.

With Sony's three core electronics businesses - the third is imaging - looking increasingly lopsided, the company is having to shrink and restructure in mobile, and focus its growth hopes on image sensors and the 20-year-old PlayStation games console.

Buoyed by strong sales of the latest PlayStation 4 and the rollout of games and content for its network services, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House hopes he can again raise the division's profit forecast for the year to end-March. Sony pushed up that forecast in July to 25 billion yen ($230 million) from 20 billion yen.

"We raised our profit prediction and I hope that's a trend we can continue, even within this fiscal year," House told Reuters in an interview on Thursday, adding his unit's profits looked certain to increase next year from this year's levels.

Sony has sold 10.3 million PlayStation 4 consoles as of Sept. 6, almost double the sales of Microsoft Corp's XBox One, and well ahead of the 7.2 million WiiU's sold by Nintendo Co Ltd, according to market research firm VGChartz.

House's upbeat comments came a day after Sony's struggling smartphone division announced a 180 billion yen impairment charge, triggering the company's sixth profit warning in two-and-a-half years. It also said it would not pay a dividend this year - the first such move since its 1958 listing.