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Strong PlayStation sales boost Sony despite dip in image sensors

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Sony posted third-quarter earnings up on those from a year ago, making ¥202.1 billion ($1.69 billion) in operating profit off ¥2.58 trillion ($21.5 billion) in revenue. Net profit between October and December was ¥120.1 billion ($1 billion), 33 percent higher than the same quarter last year.

Led by the PlayStation 4, the gaming division was the real star here, with a 10.5 percent year-on-year increase revenue brought on by strong PlayStation hardware and software sales totalling ¥587.1 billion ($4.89 billion). Sony recently announced that it's sold over 35 million PlayStation 4 consoles. Operating income for the gaming unit was 45.5 percent higher, though much of that can be accounted for by a major writedown on PS Vita components a year ago.

Slowing smartphone sales hit sensor unit

Sony Pictures turned in an impressive quarter, too, with movies like Spectre and Hotel Transylvania 2 performing well at the box office to help the division make ¥262.1 billion ($2.18 billion) in revenue — 26.9 percent up on last year. And while Sony's mobile phone sales were down 14.7 percent, the division posted a much higher operating profit of ¥24.1 billion ($201 million) due to a more premium product mix and reductions in areas like R&D and marketing.

The most significant negative, unusually, was Sony's Devices division, which covers components including image sensors. This has been the company's biggest success story of recent years, but lower smartphone sales meant lower demand for Sony's sensors last quarter, and the division was also hit by decreased battery sales. Revenue was down 12.6 percent at ¥249.9 billion ($2.08 billion), with an overall operating loss of ¥11.7 billion ($97 million) largely caused by an impairment charge on certain assets.

Sony is holding steady with its forecast of a ¥140 billion profit for the year, and with ¥189.17 billion made already in its fiscal 2015, it shouldn't be too hard for the company to reach that target by the end of the remaining quarter.