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Playstation sales boost Sony profits

Do Not UseDo Not Use 28/04/2016
PS4 © AFP PS4

Japan's Sony has swung into profit for the year to March, helped by strong sales in its games division.

Net profit was 147.8bn yen ($1.33bn; £934m), compared with a 126bn yen loss a year earlier.

Strong demand for its Playstation 4 console and games led to an 11.8% jump in sales for Sony's Game and Network Services division.

That helped to offset a 20% plunge in smartphone sales.

Sony's Pictures segment - which covers films and television programmes - saw a 6.8% jump in annual sales. The boost came partly from higher subscription video-on-demand revenues for television series such as Breaking Bad, The Blacklist and Better Call Saul.

Earthquake impact

Sony did not offer a forecast on future performance, as it is still assessing the impact from this month's twin earthquakes which took place in south-west Japan and affected Sony's supply chain.

The region where the earthquake struck - Kumamoto - is a manufacturing hub for many Japanese companies, including Sony and carmakers Toyota and Honda.

Sony said, "With aftershocks continuing and employee safety the foremost priority, inspections of the facility and the development of a recovery plan remain ongoing."

The Kumamoto Technology Center is the main manufacturing site of image sensors for the firm's digital and security cameras, as well as micro-display devices.

Spin-off payoff?

Last year, Sony decided to spin off its video-and-audio business into a separate company as part of a three-year plan to return to profit.

Chief executive Kazuo Hirai said the company must not be afraid to change if it hoped "to grow in a Sony-like way".

He said the Japanese electronics firm would no longer pursue sales growth in areas such as smartphones where it has suffered competition from rivals Apple and Samsung.

Mr Hirai said instead it would focus on profitable businesses areas, including entertainment operations such as TV programming and the PlayStation game business.

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