Analysts have predicted that Sony Corporation will report an operating profit increase of approximately 500 percent at the end of its next fiscal year, despite poor domestic PlayStation 3 sales.
The figures were reported in the Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun (translated by Reuters), suggesting a 6 percent sales increase to $73.34 billion, with overall profits of $3.37 billion, a significant leap over the current year’s figure of just over $500 million.
The high-performance predictions are based on strong LCD hi-definition television sales in Europe and North America, as well as an anticipated improvement in Sony’s game division due to increased PlayStation 3 sales. Analysts have predicted 10 million PlayStation 3 unit shipments in the new fiscal year, an increase of 67 percent, although representatives from Sony have denied this figure is an accurate sales target.
All of this comes on the heels of news that PlayStation 3 sales in Japan have reached a record low, selling only 14,520 units for the week ending April 8. It was the console’s worst sales showing since it was launched, and fell far short of the 52583 unit sales for the Nintendo Wii. Handheld units fared similarly, with PSP sales down to 31,503 units, compared to 110,935 Nintendo DS units sold for the same week.
Despite strong PlayStation 2 software sales, with five of the top ten games on the Japanese sales charts being PlayStation 2 titles, sales for that system were also down, to 14,234 units.
Sony is scheduled to report earnings for the 2006 fiscal year on May 16, and would not comment on the predictions. In a report on Bloomberg.com, Sony spokeswoman Mami Imada said, “The Nikkei numbers are just estimates and we can’t comment on it.”
In the same report, Sony indicated it will stop selling the 20-gigabyte version of the PlayStation 3 in North America, leaving only the 60GB version available, and that a model with an even larger hard drive is also under consideration.