Profit from gaming fails to help Sony

SONY’s lack of hit products and a price war for televisions is keeping a lid on earnings at the Japanese electronics giant, despite a boost in profits from its games division.

While Sony’s operating profits fell 5.9 per cent in the third quarter, rival Sharp saw a 9.5 per cent rise in profit as its TV sales spiked up ahead of the reduction of Japanese government subsidies.

Sony reported an operating profit of 137.52bn yen (£1.03bn) versus 146.1bn yen a year ago, beating an average quarterly estimate of 127bn yen in an analyst poll.

“In this strong-yen environment, we see this as a pretty healthy result,” finance chief Masaru Kato said.

The maker of Vaio PCs and Bravia TVs left its full-year operating profit forecast unchanged at 200bn yen, compared with a consensus estimate of 217 bn yen in a poll of 23 analysts.

It cut its annual revenue forecast by three per cent to 7.2 trillion yen citing lower-than-expected sales in the consumer, professional, and devices segment, which includes LCD televisions.

Operating income in that segment dropped by almost half in the third quarter, while the profit more than doubled in the network products and service division, which includes games, partly on brisk sales of the latest version of Gran Turismo motor racing game, Sony said.