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Gaming swells Sony’s sales

Company raises projected profits for next year

TOKYO –- Brisk sales of PlayStation game consoles and other key electronics products helped put Sony back in black in the black in the first quarter of its fiscal year.

Net profit for the quarter amounted to $289 million, compared with a loss of $390.5 million in the same period last year, while revenue rose 3.8% to $18.66 billion.

Sony also raised its profit forecast for the fiscal year, to March 2011, from the previous 50 billion yen ($576 million) to $692 million, with the expected strengthening of the yen contributing to brighter prospects.

In the April-June quarter PlayStation 3 sales doubled, year-on, to 2.4 million units. Sales for all Networked Products and Services, the segment that includes games, rose 32.4% to $3.66 billion.

At Sony Pictures, however, sales fell 22.3% year-on to $1.48 billion despite strong box office revenue from “The Karate Kid.”

While Sony was unable to match the huge global success of last year’s “Angels & Demons” and “Terminator Salvation,” the film division still posted a 58% boost in operating profit to $32 million, with lower marketing costs for fewer theatrical releases a contributing factor.

One bright spot was a rise in television sales, which benefited from strong advertising and subscription numbers from Sony’s international channels.

In the Music segment, sales climbed 1.3% year-on to $1.2 billion. Despite continued shrinkage in overall physical music sales, strong titles boosted the bottom line, led by AC/DC’ soundtrack to “Iron Man 2” and the soundtrack from the hit TV show “Glee.”

Sony has benefited from CEO Howard Stringer’s drive to slash costs, which fell by $3.8 billion last year. Also, sales of televisions have been brisk, with Sony moving 59% more LCD sets in the quarter — 5.1 million units — than in the same period last year.

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