Sony raises forecast despite lagging video-game business

Fiscal third-quarter profit at Japanese electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp. dipped to about half of what it was the previous year as its video game, networking and film businesses stumbled. 

Tokyo-based Sony, which makes PlayStation video-game consoles, Bravia TVs and Spider-Man films, reported Tuesday an October-December profit of 229.5 billion yen ($2.1 billion), down from 429 billion yen a year earlier.

Quarterly sales rose 3% to 2.46 trillion yen ($22.6 billion). 

Both quarterly profit and sales were better than the FactSet forecasts. 

Sony raised its profit forecast for the year through March 2020 to 590 billion yen ($5.4 billion), up from an earlier projection for 540 billion yen ($5 billion) profit. 

That still trails the 916 billion yen Sony earned the previous fiscal year through March 2019. 

Sales and profit from Sony’s PlayStation 4 business have been faltering. The PlayStation 5 is set to go on sale later this year. An announcement of an upgrade for a machine that’s been on sale several years tends to dampen sales of the current model. 

Sony’s image sensors, used in a wide variety of smartphones and digital cameras, continued to be in demand, while sales of its electronics products including smartphones and TVs declined, the company said. 

An unfavorable exchange rate also hurt earnings, it said. 

Revenue from movies fell on-year partly because of the strong performance the previous year of “Venom,” a film about the Marvel comics superhero, according to Sony. 

Higher sales from TV shows, including licensing revenue from the series “The Crown,” were offset by higher expenses. 

Sony’s music operations benefited from publishing sales from the acquisition of EMI as well as streaming revenue.

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