New gaffer Kaz Hirai has kept Sony’s head above water for yet another earnings report, with the company posting a ¥3.5 billion ($35 million) profit for the first quarter of 2013. The teensy return was propelled by a 13 per cent increase in revenue, which was fuelled by stronger than expected smartphone sales and currency exchange gains due to the depreciating yen.
PlayStation sales continued to slip slightly, with the division bringing in ¥117.9 billion ($1.2 billion) in sales compared to last year’s ¥118 billion ($1.2 billion). The division’s operating income fell sharply, with the research and development costs for the PlayStation 4 pushing the group deep into the red. The unit lost ¥14.8 billion ($149 million) for the period ending 30th June.
Throughout the window, the company shipped 1.1 million PlayStation 3 consoles – a significant decrease compared to the 3.5 million PS3 and PS2 units it sold last year. Handheld sales also declined, with just 0.6 million PlayStation Portable and Vita devices moved compared to 1.6 million last year. The company still expects to sell 10 million PS3s and 5 million handhelds for the fiscal year.
The organisation remained tight-lipped regarding its expectations for the PS4 – presumably due to competitive reasons. The firm mentioned that it expects sales to rise on the back of the console, but that’s pretty much a given. Elsewhere, software sales increased, with 64 million units moved compared to last year’s 43 million.
All in all, it’s a pretty uneventful financial report. The drop-off in PS3 sales is to be expected this late in the generation, though Sony’s continued ambition to sell 10 million units for the year suggests that it may have a price cut on the cards. The handheld business continues to perform poorly, but the fact that the company stuck to its (already slender) forecast suggests that the Vita is at least selling as expected.
It’s the overall performance of the organisation that’s most reassuring, though. Most segments of the business saw an increase year-over-year, with the mobile division in particular smashing expectations. It’s too early to get excited yet, but it’s clear that Kaz Hirai has steadied the ship since taking the big job last year.