Sony cuts Vita sales target again due to 'slow market penetration'

PlayStation unit reveals drop in sales and operating income during Christmas quarter

Sony has lowered its annual sales forecast for Vita and PSP, revealing on Thursday that it now expects the handhelds to sell a combined total of seven million units before the business year ends on March 31.


Having forecast 16 million portable console sales in May, the target was reduced to 12 million units in August and again lowered to ten million units in November.

For the final three months of 2012, global software sales on portable devices fell from 11.4 million units to 8.9 million. However, the corporation said that total Vita and PSP sales climbed slightly - up from 2.4 million units to 2.7 million.

Revenue generated by the PlayStation business during the final three months of 2012 came in at 268.5 billion yen (£1.8b / $2.9b), representing a 15 per cent year-on-year decline. Sony attributed this to softer demand for PS3 and PSP hardware and software.

The PlayStation sector's operating income also decreased significantly, down from 34 billion yen (£230m / $360m) a year earlier to 4.6 billion yen (£31m / $49m), with the performances of PS3 and PSP again cited as key contributing factors.

Combined PS3 and PS2 hardware sales came in at 6.8 million units during the quarter, down from 7.4 million a year earlier, though Sony has stuck to its previous prediction that it will sell 16 million home consoles before the financial year ends on March 31. Home console game sales fell from 69 million units in the third quarter of the last business year to 62 million.

Sony said: "In the digital imaging and the game businesses, which are positioned as core areas of the electronics businesses along with the mobile businesses, the shrinking market for compact digital cameras, due to the expansion of the smartphone market, and the slow penetration of the PlayStation Vita portable entertainment platform are recognised as particularly important issues."

With regards to the full Sony business report, the corporation recorded a net loss of 10.8 billion yen (£74m / $115m) in the third quarter, on sales up 7 per cent to 1.9 trillion yen (£13b / $20b).

Sony's full year forecast was unchanged. The company expects to generate 6.6 trillion yen (£45b / $70.6b) in revenues, up 1.6 per cent year-over-year, and a net profit of 20 billion yen (£136m / $214m), compared to a loss of 456.7 billion yen (£3.1b / $4.9b) a year earlier.