Sony's earnings shine light on a poor quarter for its gaming division. Nintendo's Wii also took a big hit, with unit sales cut in half compared with last year.
David CarnoyExecutive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
ExpertiseMobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakersCredentials
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Sony latest earnings show that it continues to be hammered by the worldwide recession and strong yen, suffering a net loss of $390.5 million in the quarter that ended June 30.
The bright spot was Sony's motion picture division, which saw a 6.5 percent boost that was largely attributable to the relatively strong showing of "Angels & Demons" at the box office. But almost everything else, including TV, video game, and computer sales, was down in a big way.
In an article, The New York Times highlighted the 37.4 percent year-over-year slump in gaming and computer sales (Vaio PC). The article noted that PlayStation 3 game consoles were "particularly sluggish" and that software sales had dropped.
According to the report, Sony said it sold about 1.1 million PlayStation 3s and 1.3 million PlayStation Portables in the latest quarter, compared with 1.6 million PS3s and 3.7 million PSPs in the same period a year ago.
The wane in PSP sales is particularly brutal, although part of that slowdown may have been due to rumors earlier in the quarter that Sony would release a new PSP later in the year. (And sure, enough, the PSP Go was unveiled in June at E3.) Also, the constant spate of rumors involving the potential arrival of a new PS3 Slim certainly hasn't helped sales of the current game console.
On a more positive note, we recently attended a PlayStation preview in New York that highlighted the PSP Go and the exclusive titles available for both the PSP and PS3 platforms during the upcoming holiday-shopping season. Overall, it looked pretty good.
Nintendo sold 2.23 million Wii consoles in the quarter, compared with 5.17 million the same quarter a year earlier.
However, Nintendo still posted a profit of $445 million and is forecasting that it will sell 26 million Wii consoles before year's end--along with 30 million DS handheld game players, which, by the way, is seeing increased competition from another handheld device. Nintendo didn't mention the PSP as the rival in its earning call, but rather Apple's iPhone.
Comments? Is the PlayStation franchise in serious trouble or will it pull out of its funk this holiday season? Does Nintendo need to cut the price of Wii?