Sony hikes an­nual earn­ings out­look to record lev­els

The Gulf Today - Business - - INTERNATIONAL -

TOKYO: Ja­pan’s Sony Cor­po­ra­tion boosted its an­nual profit out­look by 30 per cent to a record level af­ter a strong sec­ond-quar­ter, pro­pelled by pop­u­lar game ti­tles like ‘Marvel’s Spi­der-man’ as well as grow­ing de­mand for its on­line gam­ing ser­vices.

The re­sults are a vin­di­ca­tion of a strate­gic shift by the en­ter­tain­ment and elec­tron­ics firm to build up busi­nesses like gam­ing which is less sus­cep­ti­ble to the earn­ings ups and downs seen in con­sumer elec­tron­ics.

“Sony has be­come, more than most peo­ple re­alise, a com­pany that gen­er­ates profit through con­tent. Un­til just a few years ago, the worry was al­ways that it was go­ing to re­vise down on hard­ware woes but now it has trans­formed to gen­er­ate stable earn­ings,” said Hideki Ya­suda, an an­a­lyst at Ace Se­cu­ri­ties.

Sony now ex­pects an­nual op­er­at­ing profit of 870 bil­lion yen ($7.7 bil­lion), a level that com­fort­ably beats mar­ket ex­pec­ta­tions of 796 bil­lion yen.

Big gam­ing hits ex­clu­sive to sony have off­set de­clin­ing sales for its main­stay Plays­ta­tion 4 con­sole, now five years old. Ac­tion­ad­ven­ture ti­tle “God of War” was re­leased in April while ‘Marvel’s Spi­der-man’ was re­leased in Septem­ber.

“We’ve been very blessed with some block­buster ti­tles,” Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer Hiroki To­toki said at an earn­ings brief­ing. “The lineup will re­main strong in the sec­ond half of the year.”

Its Plays­ta­tion Plus sub­scrip­tion-based ser­vice has also seen ro­bust growth in sub­scriber num­bers while in the Ja­panese mo­bile gam­ing mar­ket, role play­ing game “Fate/grand Or­der” pub­lished by a unit of sony’s mu­sic di­vi­sion con­tin­ued to de­liver a strong per­for­mance.

In the sec­ond-quar­ter, op­er­at­ing in­come climbed 17 per cent to 239.5 bil­lion yen. Profit for its gam­ing di­vi­sion surged 65.5 per cent.

sony also raised its an­nual profit fore­cast for its semi­con­duc­tor di­vi­sion, which in­cludes imag­ing sen­sors, by 17 per cent to 140 bil­lion yen.

Although the global smart­phone mar­ket is ma­tur­ing, de­mand for sony’s im­age sen­sors has re­mained healthy as phone man­u­fac­tur­ers in­tro­duce mul­ti­ple-lens cam­era sys­tems for high-end mod­els.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Peo­ple walk out­side the head­quar­ters of Sony in Tokyo.

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