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Sony makes first net profit in five years despite 'deteriorated' games sector

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In the latest financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013, Sony announced its first net profit in five years despite a "deteriorated" operating income in the company's games sector.

Sony reports earnings of 43 billion yen (roughly $434 million) following four years of losses. Last year, Sony's annual loss of 457 billion yen (roughly $5.7 billion) was the worst in the company had seen in 66 years.

However, game operating income saw a decrease from 27.6 billion yen year-on-year to 1.7 billion yen (that's roughly 18 million U.S. dollars). This was affected in large part by a decrease in sales of PSP hardware and software, in addition to the recent price reduction of PS Vita devices in Japan.

Overall sales in this category were "essentially flat," according to Sony's results, despite an increase in PlayStation 3 software and hardware sales. This was offset by a decrease in PS Vita hardware sales.

Sony adds that operating income is expected to continue to remain flat due to an increase in research and development expenses and marketing expenses related to the PlayStation 4. But sales are expected to increase significantly following the introduction of the PlayStation 4 console, starting the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014.

Combined, the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2 sold 16.5 million units during the company's fiscal year ended March 31st, 2013. In comparison, PSP and PlayStation Vita devices sold a combined 7 million units during this fiscal year. This is in meeting with Sony's revised goals, down from the initally projected 16 million units. The company estimates that worldwide they will sell a mere 5 million units for PS Vita and PSP combined, while PlayStation 3 is expected to sell 10 million units during that same period. No forecast has been made public for the PlayStation 4.

The Tokyo-based Sony expects its recovery will continue through to next fiscal year. Last month it projected 40 billion yen ($403 million) in net income, doubling its initial forecast of 20 billion yen.