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PlayStation division sales down, Vita target cut

Sony’s PlayStation division has posted a disappointing set of results for its third financial quarter ended December 31, 2012.

As well as reporting a drop in revenue and operating income, the firm slashed its annual sales forecast for portable hardware from ten million units to seven million, noting that “the slow penetration of the Vita” has been recognised as a “particularly important” issue.

The company didn’t alter its previous guidance of 16 million home console sales for the full financial year ending March 31, 2013.

Revenue generated by the PlayStation business during the Christmas quarter fell 15 per cent year-on-year to 268.5 billion yen (£1.8b / $2.9b). Operating income also slumped, from 33.8 billion yen (£230m / $361m) the previous year to 4.6 billion yen (£31m / $49m). Sony attributed the declines to lower PS3 and PSP hardware and software sales.

Combined PS3 and PS2 sales totalled 6.8 million units during the quarter, down from 7.4 million a year earlier, while Vita and PSP sales rose from 2.4 million units last year to 2.7 million. Home console software sales fell from 68.7 million units to 61.7 million, while portable software sales declined from 11.4 million units to 8.9 million.

The platform holder said: “In the game business, Sony is working to expand sales and operating income through the introduction of an attractive software lineup and through offering game software on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.”

The company as a whole recorded a net loss in its third quarter, though it said it still expects to swing from a full year loss of 456.7 billion yen (£3.1b / $4.9b) for its last fiscal year to a net profit of 20 billion yen (£136m / $214m) for the current one.

Sony is expected to reveal PS4 at an event taking place on Wednesday February 20, which the company has teased will let gamers ”see the future".