Sony have been preparing everyone for news of substantial losses during their financial year (FY11) that ended on 31st March 2012. In April they revised their forecast to predict a net loss of ¥520 billion (£4bn, $6.4bn) and if there is any good news from their actual results it is that they are not quite that bad.
Their reported net loss is ¥456.7 billion (£3.5bn, $5.6bn) with the most significant contributing factor being the writing off of deferred tax assets, primarily in the U.S.
With that huge headline grabbing figure out of the way let’s look at the numbers that are more representative of Sony’s actual market performance.
In its April forecast Sony said that it was expecting to record an operating loss of ¥95bn whereas its actual operating loss has come in at ¥67.3bn (£511m, $820m). The reversal from last year’s operating income of ¥199.8bn is attributed largely to a 9.6% fall in the value of sales to ¥6,493bn (£49.3bn, $79.2bn).
Sales decreased mainly in the [Consumer Products and Services] and [Professional, Device and Solutions] segments, primarily due to unfavorable foreign exchange rates, the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake (the “Earthquake”) and the floods in Thailand (the “Floods”), and deterioration in market conditions in developed countries.
Sony’s forecast for the current financial year, FY12, ending 31st March 2013, is a return to profit recording an operating income of ¥180bn (£1.4bn, $2.3bn) and a net income of ¥30bn (£228m, $375m).
What we are all more interested in though is how well Sony’s PlayStation business is performing. That lives within Sony’s Consumer Products and Services (CPS) business segment which as a whole recorded an 18.5% drop in sales and posted an operating loss of ¥229.8bn (£1.7bn, $2.8bn).
Sales fell all across CPS’ product ranges with LCD TVs, PCs, digital cameras and the games business all getting a mention. On the PlayStation side of things it was the PS3’s last price reduction and the continuing decline of PS2 sales that were singled out.
Games hardware wise Sony sold 13.9m PS3s during the year compared to 14.3m in the previous year (FY10). PS2 sales unsurprisingly fell 2.3m to 4.1m and PSP sales dropped from 8m to 6.8m. Sony have not given figures explicitly for the PS Vita for either hardware or software sales.
PS3 software sales rose from FY10’s 147.9m to 156.6m. PS2 software sales more than halved, dropping from 16.4m to 7.9m while PSP sales also fell significantly from 46.6m to 32.2m.
In Sony’s forecasts for hardware sales in the current financial year they have combined the PS2 and PS3 figures to give an overall forecast of 16m units of “computer entertainment system hardware”. They have done the same with the PSP and PS Vita, forecasting sales of 16m units of “portable entertainment system hardware”.
Those numbers suggest Sony are expecting big things from the PS Vita in the coming year.
Exchange rates: USD amounts are from Sony’s reports. GBP figures are calculated at a rate of 0.0076 from OANDA for 31 March 2012.