Sony cuts losses but PlayStation 3 and PS Vita sales continue to drag

sony earnings

Sony CEO Kaz Hirai continues to take blows as his first year at the head of the Japanese technology giant rolls on. His company reported earnings for the summer quarter on Thursday, and the massive layoffs and consolidation throughout Sony’s empire are helping to stop the fiscal bleeding. Losses continue to drop year-on-year and quarter-to-quarter. Between July and September, Sony recorded a net loss of just over $193 million, down from the $337 million it reported during the same period in 2011 and from the $312 million loss it recorded during the April to June quarter this year. The company is well on its way to a fiscal year where it doesn’t report a $5.7 billion total loss. While Sony itself recovers, though, the PlayStation division continues to drag the company down.

Sony’s video game division reported revenues of $1.85 billion for the quarter, down 14 percent for the approximately $2.2 billion it earned during the same period last year. Operating income fell to just below $29 million for the period.

Hardware, unsurprisingly, is the culprit. PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2 sales fell hard, total home console sales falling from nearly 5 million machines during the period in 2011 to just 3.5 million this year. Naturally the ongoing erosion of PlayStation 2 sales, about to enter its thirteenth year on shelves, was a contributing factor, but the real culprit is the still-expensive PlayStation 3.

Sony’s handheld business fared much worse. The PS Vita and PSP sold a combined 1.6 million units. During the same period in 2011, Sony managed to sell 1.7 million PSPs and the Vita was still months from releasing in Japan. As a result, Sony further downgraded its forecast for total handheld sales in the fiscal year, from 12 million total to 10 million. Unless the Vita gets a major push in the market, you can expect Sony to keep lowering that forecast after the holiday quarter.

Game sales, at least, were up albeit slightly. Sony sold more than 41 million home console games and just under 9 million portable games, up from above 40 million and 8 million respectively in 2011.

Sony’s between a rock and a hard place. Both the PlayStation 3 and the PS Vita need to drop in price to create sales momentum. Bundles with new games and new models are simply not enough. The PlayStation 3 is old news compared to Wii U and too expensive compared to Xbox 360. The PlayStation Vita is too expensive and too limited in terms of functionality compared to iOS and Android devices. At the same time, Sony needs every penny it makes on the units it does sell. There’s no obvious solution to the company’s predicament in the games industry, but if it doesn’t make a change soon, the PlayStation business will be in grave danger of fading out.

Home Theater

Sony’s 360 Reality Audio is the epic sound revolution you didn’t know you needed

After Sony’s utterly bizarre press conference, I almost missed what was perhaps the most impactful sonic experience at the show. Luckily, I went back to Sony’s booth on the last day of the show, only to have my mind blown.
Gaming

Break out the Wii: ‘Just Dance’ movie reportedly in the works

Sony's Screen Gems has reportedly acquired the film rights to the Just Dance video game series from Ubisoft, which previously helped bring the game Assassin's Creed to the big screen in 2016.
Photography

Sony crams its best camera tech into the new $900 A6400

Love Sony's autofocus, but can't stomach the full-frame price? The Sony A6400 mirrorless camera uses some of the same autofocus technology and the processor of the A9 in a compact, more affordable crop-sensor camera.
Movies & TV

First ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ trailer offers a peek at life after ‘Infinity War’

Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have released the first trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, set in the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
Gaming

Dataminers discover SNES games, more emulators for Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online may soon launch SNES games and more emulators, according to data miners. The list of hidden SNES titles include Breath of Fire 2 and Star Fox 2, while the other emulators may be the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube.
Gaming

‘RollerCoaster Tycoon 2’ ride takes 12 years to complete

A RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 player has constructed a coaster in the game that will take more than 12 years to complete from beginning to end, and is actually a tiny ride taking up a small portion of the landscape.
Product Review

'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe' is 2D platforming wizardry

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is the latest Wii U game to come back from the dead on Switch. And wow, it’s much better than we remembered.
Gaming

‘Battlefield V’ adds Squad Conquest mode in ‘Lightning Strikes’ update

Electronic Arts and DICE have detailed what is included in the Battlefield V update Lightning Strikes. The update includes access to the mode Squad Conquest through the end of January.
Gaming

Here's everything you need to know to trade in 'Pokémon Go'

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Gaming

‘Rocket League’ is the latest game to get full cross-platform play

Psyonix has announced that Rocket League now supports full cross-platform play across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, joining Fortnite as the only games to do so.
Gaming

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Gaming

Latest ‘Fortnite’ update channels Halo with a scoped revolver

The latest update for Fortnite, update 7.20, is now available, and it brings a new Scoped Revolver weapon to the game alongside the returning Glider item and a limited-time Snipers-only mode.