Electronics giant Sony confirms it has been hit with its largest annual loss yet, a cold way to round off a fourth consecutive year in the red. Sony's net losses for fiscal year 2012 plummeted year-on-year to ¥457 billion ($5.7 billion USD), compared to the ¥260 billion ($3.3 billion USD) loss reported for FY2011.
The company faced many challenges last year which eventually brought about the bad fortunes, not least of these being the eastern Japan earthquake, the severe floods in Thailand which devastated production facilities, unfavorable currency exchange rates and of course, declining product sales including PlayStation hardware and software.
PlayStation 3 hardware sales fell to 13.9 million units worldwide this past fiscal year, down slightly from the 14.3 million units garnered the year before. PlayStation 2 hardware sales dropped further to 4.1 million units, while PlayStation Portable unit sales slipped to 6.4 million.
While PS3 software sales actually enjoyed a year-on-year increase in unit sales to 156.6 million (up from 147.9 million units the year before), PS2 and PSP software didn't fare as well, slipping quite substantially to 7.9 million and 32.2 million units, respectively.
Sony CEO Kaz Hirai meanwhile confirmed that PlayStation Vita hardware sales hit 1.8 million units worldwide since it first launched in Japan last year. While Hirai felt this was a "good start" for the new handheld, he acknowledged that the platform's software needs to be reinforced this year.
The good news is that Sony is predicting a change for the better; while the company expects software sales levels to remain static during the new fiscal year, it believes it will hit the 16 million magic number for hardware unit sales. That's 16 million units combined for the PS3 and PS2, and another 16 million units combined for the PSP and PS Vita handhelds.
The bad news is that Sony still needs to weather the storm, and will need to implement measures including a 6 percent reduction in its global workforce throughout the coming months.