Sony’s PlayStation division has reported a notable decline in sales and operating income for the financial year ended March 31 2013. While the wider company managed to swing to a profit for the first time in half a decade, posting net income of £280m ($435m) versus a loss of £3b ($4.6b) for the previous 12 months, things weren’t so rosy for its games business.
PlayStation division sales fell 12.2 per cent year-on-year to £4.6b ($7.1b), largely due to weaker demand for PS3 and PSP, as well as lower than expected Vita sales. Meanwhile, Sony said the decrease in PSP sales and February’s Vita price cut in Japan were primarily to blame as operating income nosedived by £180m ($280m) year-on-year to £11.1m ($17.2m).
Sony sold 16.5 million PS3s and PS2s during the business year, down from 18 million the year prior, and 153.9 million home consoles games, down from 164.5 million. Vita and PSP sales totalled seven million units, up from 6.8 million portable hardware sales a year earlier, but way short of the 16 million initially forecast last May, a figure which was downwardly revised each quarter as Vita failed to gain momentum. Annual portable software unit sales declined from 32.2 million to 28.8 million.
For the current business year ending March 31 2014, Sony predicted mixed results for the PlayStation division. While it expects sales to “increase significantly” thanks to PS4’s release, operating income is expected to be essentially flat year-on-year because of an increase in PS4 R&D and marketing expenses. Sony plans to sell ten million PS3s but just five million Vita and PSP units combined. PS4 and PS2 sales guidance wasn’t included in today's forecast. Combined packaged and digital game sales are forecast to grow from 266 million units during the last business year to 319 million in the current one.