Sony game division income up 135%

Sales of 6.3 million more cheaply produced PS3s help Networked Products & Services division post operating profit of $564 million.

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Today, Sony became the latest company to report its earnings for the October-December quarter of 2010. Overall, the company's profits were down slightly, slipping 8.6 percent to 72.3 billion yen ($893 million) on overall revenues of 2.206 trillion yen ($27.2 billion). The company said the biggest factor behind the decrease was slowing sales of LCD televisions, with Sony's movie division also losing income.

Sony's game division helped make it profitable during Q4 2010.
Sony's game division helped make it profitable during Q4 2010.

However, there was a bright spot on Sony's books--its Networked Products & Services division, the parent department of Sony Computer Entertainment. Though its revenue slipped 6.4 percent from 605.5 billion yen ($7.4 billion) to 566.6 billion yen ($7.0 billion), its operating profit was up 135 percent to 45.7 billion yen ($564 million).

There was one big factor behind the uptick: games. "The game business benefited from significant cost reductions of PlayStation 3 hardware and higher unit sales of PS3 software, which favorably impacted the change in segment operating results," the company said in a statement.

Indeed, the company sold 6.3 million PS3s during the quarter, down slightly from the 6.5 million it sold during the same quarter in 2009. Software sales, however, were up significantly, climbing from 47.6 million units to 57.6 million units. PSP sales sank from 4.2 million units to 3.6 million, with software climbing from 15.0 million units to 16.5 million units.

As for the PlayStation 2, the aging console sold the exact same number--2.1 million units--year-over-year in terms of hardware, but software fell from 11.2 million units to 5.3 million units.

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