Sony Corp.'s quarterly financial report card confirms a return to profitability for the first time in two years. For the three month period ended June 30th, the company scored a net profit of 3.48 billion yen ($35.38 million USD) compared to a loss of 24.6 billion yen last year. Revenue meanwhile grew 13 percent to 1.71 trillion yen last quarter.
While the company did enjoy a growing Xperia smartphone business coupled with stronger results from their financial services subsidiary, it's the weaker Japanese yen which really helped Sony by strengthening the value of exports to lift their earnings. Indeed, it's because of the weak yen advantage that Sony saw fit to raise their revenue forecast 5.3 percent to 7.9 trillion yen ($80 billion USD) for the year ending March 31st 2014, while at the same time trimming shipment targets for products like TVs, digital cameras and PCs.
Unfortunately, Sony's video games business continued to underperform. While revenue from the PlayStation division barely dropped at 117.9 billion yen ($1.2 billion USD), operating losses widened to 14.8 billion yen ($150.5 million USD) from 3.5 billion yen ($35.6 million) the year before.
As you may have guessed, the costs associated with PlayStation 4 R&D and production are taking a bite out of the gaming division. While Sony is no doubt looking forward to the PS4 selling really well once the hardware launches later this holiday season, the company expects their game division overall to fall into the red for much of this fiscal year.
For the past quarter, Sony sold a total of 600,000 PlayStation Vita and PSP handhelds combined, a 50 percent year-on-year decrease. Sales for PS3 and PS2 similarly plummeted from 3.4 million to 1.1 million units.
The good news is that PlayStation software sales have grown to 64 million units this past quarter. While this is a combined figure across all platforms including handhelds, it still represents a major improvement from the 43 million PlayStation titles sold during the same period last year.