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Sony game division hits the black

PS3 software up five times over last year.


Sony issued its quarterly earnings report today, covering April to June 2008. The big news for the company's games business was a return to profitability.

Sony Computer Entertainment saw sales of 229,600 million yen for the first quarter of the fiscal year. This was a 16.8% rise from last year. Citing strong hardware sales and reduced component costs for the PS3, the company said it made a profit of 5,400 million yen.

Sales were particularly strong for PSP and PS3 hardware, the company said. PSP sold 3.72 million units over the period, a leap of 1.59 million from the same period the year before. PS3 was up 860,000 to 1.56 million. PS2 saw a drop of 1.15 million to 1.51 million units.

PS3 performed particularly well in software, the company also noted, with five times the software sales over the same period last year. The system shifted 22.8 million games, an increase of 18.1 million. PSP software sales increased 2 million to 11.8 million. PS2 dropped 11.8 million to 19.3 million.

The company gave a vague glimpse at the success of its PlayStation Network business as well. In addition to reaffirming past reports that that accounts have topped the 10 million mark, it noted that the service has seen over 200 million downloads.

For the whole of 2008, the company maintained its previous targets (disclosed in May) of 10 million PS3 systems, 15 million PSPs and 9 million PS2s. For software, the firm expects 250 million games across the entire PlayStation family.

While this quarter was profitable, Sony also expects its games business to be profitable for the year as a whole. However, speaking at a financial briefing in Tokyo today, Sony CFO Oneda said that the PS3 hardware itself won't be profitable until some time in 2009.

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