Sony slashes video game sales goals as Sharp warns on future

JAPANESE electronics powerhouse Sony cut sales forecasts for its key products yesterday, a worrying sign for the company as it focuses on video gaming under new chief executive Kazuo Hirai.

Sony said it expects to sell 10m of its handheld PSP and Vita devices in the current financial year, down from the previous prediction of 12m. It also slashed forecasts for its TV sets and handheld cameras. Sony has extensively marketed its Vita handheld console, which was launched earlier this year, but sales have disappointed as more people turn to smartphones for gaming on the move.

Hirai vowed to centre Sony around the video gaming arm after he took the helm from Welshman Howard Stringer earlier this year. The company has recently launched revamped versions of the PlayStation 3 console and is developing the next generation PlayStation.

Sony’s forecast cut came as the company announced its seventh-straight quarterly loss of 15.5bn yen (£120m) for the quarter to October, although this was almost half the loss during the same period last year. Revenue was 1.6 trillion yen, marginally up on last year.

Shares in the Tokyo-based company fell four per cent.

Sony’s compatriot Sharp yesterday warned about its future as a company as it predicted a 450bn yen loss for the financial year. “Sharp is in circumstances in which material doubt about its assumed going concern is found,” the company said.

Chief executive Takashi Okuda said: “I can’t say we are now a company with that vitality.”