Report: Sony profits will be up, game-unit losses down

Enterbrain reports that the PSP outsold the DS 2-to-1 in Japan in April; Nikkei expects Sony's full-year profit to increase by a factor of five.

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Sony's game division has had its fair share of financial woes, with losses "arising from the strategic pricing of [the PlayStation 3] at points lower than its production costs and PS3-related inventory write downs" being blamed as recently as last October. However, the worst may be over. Japan's Nikkei newspaper has credited Sony Computer Entertainment's performance for contributing to an expected boost of Sony's current profitability.

In the financial year ending March 2007, SCE posted an operating loss of ¥232 billion ($237 million at the time), but Nikkei is reporting that this year, that loss will have been trimmed by ¥100 billion ($967 million), helping the company post an overall operating profit of ¥380 billion ($3.6 billion). This is five times the profit of the previous year, with strong sales of digital cameras also credited by the Japanese business daily.

Though in the black, Sony's performance would be lower than analysts' expectations and the company's own forecast of ¥390 billion ($3.71 billion). Sony's shares were up 3 percent at ¥4,920 ($47.58) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange at time of writing, though this falls far short of their peak this time last year of ¥7,190 ($68.36).

There was other good news for Sony coming out of Japan today, with Reuters reporting that the PlayStation Portable outsold the Nintendo DS 2-to-1 in Japan in April, shipping 380,867 units to the DS's 169,911. Monster Hunter Freedom 2 led the way for Sony's handheld from the top of the software charts for a second successive month.

The PlayStation 3 didn't fare so well, according to the same report. It was outsold 5-to-1 by Nintendo's Wii, which shipped 187,121 units to the PS3's 37,676.

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