Sony gaffer Kaz Hirai has successfully steered the electronics giant back into the black. The company announced its first profit in five years earlier today, revealing a net income of ¥43 billion ($458 million). The figure certainly makes for pleasant reading compared to the enormous ¥456.7 billion ($4.6 billion) loss that the firm posted last year.

However, it wasn’t all backslaps and party-poppers for the PlayStation division. The group saw a 12.2 per cent decrease year-over-year, with sales coming in at ¥707 billion ($7.52 billion). Operating income faced an even sharper decline, down 94 per cent to ¥1.7 billion ($18 million). The company blamed the reduction on poor hardware sales, in addition to the PlayStation Vita’s price cut in Japan.

In total, the platform holder shipped 3.4 million PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2 consoles within the last quarter, and a further 1.3 million Vita and PlayStation Portable systems. Its annual totals were right about in line with its estimations earlier in the year, with the company moving 16.5 million home consoles and 7 million handhelds.

However, it had originally expected to sell 16 million portables during the period, suggesting that the Vita has not performed anywhere near as well as it anticipated. To make matters worse, it only expects to sell 5 million handheld devices over the next 12 months, indicating that the situation is unlikely to improve. Meanwhile, the company predicts that it will move 10 million PS3s during the same period.

The organisation did mention that it expects PlayStation sales to increase next year, largely due to the introduction of the PlayStation 4. However, it cautioned that operating income is likely to stay flat, due to a boost in marketing and research costs. It failed to provide any sales forecasts for its next generation machine, presumably due to competitive reasons.

Overall, though, the report paints a generally positive picture of Kaz Hirai’s first term in charge of the Japanese giant, but there’s still plenty of work ahead, with the firm’s electronics department still acting like an enormous noose around its neck. Let’s hope that the former PlayStation president can continue to steady the ship over the coming 12 months.

[source, via,,]