Sony posts loss amid declining PlayStation sales

Sony reported record losses for the recent fiscal year, noting tough market conditions, foreign exchange rates, and the Japanese earthquake as contributing factors. The PlayStation business on the whole was down in sales. The Vita sold 1.8 million units, which the company called a "good start" for the system.

The company sold 13.9 million PlayStation 3s worldwide during fiscal 2011, down from 14.3 million in the previous year. The PlayStation 2 and PSP markets predictably dropped as well, with 4.1 million (down from 6.4 million) and 6.8 million (down from 8 million) respectively. Gamasutra reports that Sony president and CEO Kaz Hirai said of the 1.8 million Vita sales: "As a starting phase, I think it was a good start." That was within only a short time for the fiscal year, and the company says it plans to sell 10 million this year.

"For a game platform, like Vita, the software is the key to success -- how good the software is, that is the key to business success," Hirai said. "We have to reinforce the software area in order to improve the business, that is the basic line." He said that the plans for the platform are unchanged, but "software and services must be strengthened."

Software for the PlayStation 3 remained healthy, up to 156.6 million units from 147.9 million in the prior year. PlayStation 2 and PSP software continued a steady decline. PS2 moved 7.9 million units (down from 16.4 million) and PSP sold 32.2 million units (down from 46.6 million).

Sony as a whole posted a loss of 456.7 billion yen (approximately $5.7 billion). It expects to be be back in the black again for the coming fiscal year, with projected profits of 30 billion yen (approximately $376 million).