- PlayStation 5 sales below expectations
- Sony still sees scope to hit 25 mln PS5 sales target
- Trimmed movie division forecast due to strikes
- Expects smartphone market recovery won’t be till at least 2024
TOKYO, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Japan’s Sony (6758.T) logged a hefty drop in first-quarter profit, hurt in part by a weaker performance from its movie division but the entertainment giant remained hopeful about prospects for a record year for its PlayStation 5 console.
Operating profit slid 31% to 253 billion yen ($1.8 billion) in April-June, in line with estimates and also pulled down by lacklustre results from its financial business which had benefited from a property sale in the same period a year earlier.
Profit at its movie division plunged by two-thirds due to lower sales for television content as well as higher marketing costs after the company released more films in theatres.
Sony trimmed its annual sales forecast for the unit by 3% citing the impact of strikes by Hollywood writers and actors, which have affected production of scripted television shows and films.
Once a consumer electronics giant, the conglomerate has transformed itself to focus more on entertainment, developing movies, music and games.
Sony has said it expects to sell 25 million PlayStation 5 consoles this financial year, in what would be a record for a PlayStation device, following the easing of supply chain snarls.
Sales have so far been weaker than expected but the company said promotions starting in July are helping sales momentum.
“We believe that there is ample possibility for us to catch up,” Sony President Hiroki Totoki told reporters.
Cumulative sales of the console have topped 40 million but the company lacks high-profile upcoming first-party titles.
Nintendo last week reported it has sold 18.5 million units of “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” since its release in May, helping drive sales of its aging Switch console.
Sony is also a leading maker of image sensors, which are used in cameras.
The conglomerate had expected a gradual recovery in the smartphone market from the second half of the current financial year but now thinks it will not happen until 2024 at the earliest.
Sony maintained its forecast of a 10% decline in operating profit for the full year.
In May, Sony said it is examining a partial spin-off of its financial unit, which includes life insurance and banking, as it looks to invest further in its entertainment businesses.
($1 = 143.1300 yen)
Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Edwina Gibbs
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
TOKYO, April 25 (Reuters) – Japanese startup ispace inc (9348.T) is preparing to land its Hakuto-R Mission 1 (M1) spacecraft on the moon early on Wednesday, in what would be the world’s first lunar landing by a private company if it succeeds.
The M1 lander is set to touch down around 1:40 a.m. Japan time (1640 GMT Tuesday) after taking off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a SpaceX rocket in December.
Success would mark a welcome reversal from the recent setbacks Japan has faced in space technology, where it has big ambitions of building a domestic industry, including a goal of sending Japanese astronauts to the moon by the late 2020s.
In one of the biggest blows, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) last month lost its new medium-lift H3 rocket to forced manual destruction after it reached space. That was less than five months since JAXA’s solid-fuel Epsilon rocket failed after launch in October.
The 2.3-metre-tall (7.55 ft) M1 will begin an hour-long landing phase from its current position, in the moon’s orbit some 100 km (62 miles) above the surface moving at nearly 6,000 km/hour (3,700 mph), Chief Technology Officer Ryo Ujiie told a media briefing on Monday.
Ujiie likened the task of slowing down the lander to the correct speed against the moon’s gravitational pull to “stepping on the brakes on a running bicycle at the edge of a ski jumping hill.”
Only the United States, the former Soviet Union and China have soft-landed a spacecraft on the moon, with attempts in recent years by India and a private Israeli company ending in failure.
After reaching the landing site at the edge of Mare Frigoris, in the moon’s northern hemisphere, the M1 is to deploy a two-wheeled, baseball-sized rover developed by JAXA, Japanese toymaker Tomy Co (7867.T) and Sony Group (6758.T), as well as the United Arab Emirates’ four-wheeled “Rashid” Rover.
The M1 is also carrying an experimental solid-state battery made by NGK Spark Plug Co (5334.T), among other objects to gauge how they perform on the moon.
In its second mission scheduled in 2024, the M1 will bring ispace’s own rover, while from 2025, it is set to work with U.S. space lab Draper to bring NASA payloads to the moon, targeting building a permanently staffed lunar colony by 2040.
Shares of the Tokyo-based lunar transportation startup had a blistering market debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange this month as investors bet its lunar development and transportation business will fit in with Japan’s national policy of defence and space development.
Reporting by Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Stephen Coates
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.