The PlayStation 4 helped boost total sales and operating for both Sony Corp's gaming division and the company as a whole this past fiscal year after the console's launch across multiple territories. Yet Sony is still in red ink as the console and electronics giant today confirmed it was stung by a loss of 126 billion yen ($1.16 billion USD) for the twelve-month period ended March 31st, 2014.
Gloomy as they were, the results were in line with company's expectations after it warned of larger than expected annual losses earlier this month, no thanks to expenses from selling off its Vaio PC business. Unfortunately, Sony does not believe the pieces will be in place for it to return to profitability during the year ahead.
Sony sold a total of 14.6 consoles (of which at least 6 million can be attritubed to the PS4 alone by March, before ballooning to 7 million last month) and 4.1 million handhelds this past fiscal year. Game software sales meanwhile grew from 266 million to 374 million units. As mentioned earlier, the PS4 was a contributing factor to the company's 14.3 percent year-over-year increase in revenue to 7.8 trillion yen ($75.4 billion). Naturally the console helped boost revenue garnered by the Games & Network Services division itself by 38.5 percent year-over-year to 97.2 billion yen ($9.5 billion).
Unfortunately, like Sony as a whole, the company's gaming business ate an operating loss of 8.1 billion yen ($78 million). which doesn't compare favorably to the 1.7 billion yen ($16.6 million) in operating income it scored the prior fiscal year. The costs related to promoting and launching the PS4 hurt the gaming division's bottom line, but it's worth noting that much of the operating loss was actually attributed to a 6.2 billion yen ($60.7 million) write-off from Sony Online Entertainment.
With a greater balance betwen cost and returns from the PS4 within reach over the coming fiscal year, Sony's gaming division expects to generate revenue of 1.2 triilion yen ($12 billion) and operating income of 20 billion yen ($196 million) come March 2015. The company expects console hardware sales to grow to 17 million units, offset by handheld sales (including the PS Vita and PSP) shrinking even further to 3.5 million units. Total software sales are estimated to grow to 390 million.
Sony Corp as a whole is preparing to face another year in the red, forecasting an annual loss of 50 billion yen ($489.5 million) for the twelve month period ending March 2015. According to Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida, this will be a year of "biting the bullet on restructuring."