Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Handhelds only a $40 million business for Sony

In case you were wondering why Sony is still pushing (in its own inimitable way) the Vita to an uncaring world, the reason is simple. Its a 4.1 billion yen part of Sony's business, which is around $40 million for the 2013 financial year. That might only be one-tenth of its smartphone business, and under a third of its big PlayStation console sales, but its not exactly loose change.

That equates to around 700,000 portable consoles in the last quarter, down from 1.3 million the previous year. For the year, portable sales fell from 7 million units to 4.1 million, ouch. However, improved sales in Japan are keeping the boat afloat. Even so, 54,000 portables a week minus an average of 30,000 in Japan (according to Media Create figures behind my pretty chart) means the Vita is only selling 24,000 a week across the entire rest of the planet.

The bad news is Sony predicts sales will decline to 3.5 billion yen in FY 2014. However, throw in rising software and media service sales, which Sony doesn't break down, and things may still be looking up. It has Freedom Wars and PlayStation Now on the way, with more Vita games likely to be announced at Tokyo Games Show, since sales have picked up over there.

On the negative side, Sony is still in a poor state and if hard decisions need to be made, it could toss the Vita under a bus in the west, or replace it with a mobile-based, all-touch, Android device, which will likely kill Vita as we know it.

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