Sony vidgame profits in nosedive

Mass prod'n could turn unit's fortunes

TOKYO — Hit by high costs for getting its PlayStation 2 unit to the market, the cash cow division that makes videogames for Sony Corp. is stuck in an earnings slump, a Japanese financial daily reported on Thursday.

Sony is projecting a profit of about 20 billion yen ($187 million) for its videogame biz in the fiscal year that ends March 31, 2001. The profit figure is about one-fourth of the tally registered in the previous year, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun’s Financial Daily reported.

In the April-June quarter, Sony Computer Entertainment logged a $150 million operating loss, which was cut to $92 million the following quarter, it said.

Mass prod’n key

The paper cited financial analysts as saying that the game unit will be able to break even on an operating basis when Sony starts mass producing PlayStation 2 consoles.

The current PlayStation, which has racked up global sales of over 70 million units, is the most profitable product produced by Sony.

Sony Computer Entertainment accounted for about 40% of Sony’s overall profit in the last fiscal year while the movie division tallied about 12% of the electronics giant’s profits.

PlayStation 2 hit the Japanese market in April and is scheduled for release in the U.S. and Europe in the next few months.

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