Tokyo — The successful launch of Sony’s PS4 game console and the box-office smash “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” helped Sony post a surprise first-quarter profit Thursday.
The company posted net income of 26.8 billion yen ($261 million) in the three months ended June, compared with 3.5 billion yen ($34.1 million) for the same period last year. The electronics giant had been widely expected by analysts to show another heavy loss.
Operating profit was 69.8 billion yen ($682 million) in the quarter, compared to 36.4 billion-yen ($355 million) profit from the same quarter last year.
The results were helped by cost-cutting measures that included major layoffs and selling off some buildings.
Still, Sony chaiman Kaz Hirai said the company expects to show a loss of around 50 billion yen for the year.
Among the shining stars for the period were Sony’s PlayStation consoles, which outsold Xbox systems three to one in the quarter. The gaming unit registered an operating profit of 4.3 billion yen ($41.9 million) in the quarter, compared with an operating loss of 16.4 billion yen ($160 million) during the same period last year.
Home entertainment, which includes the TV unit, more than doubled earnings to 7.7 billion yen ($75.2 million), as Sony continues its push behind ultra high-definition sets. TV sales increased 11 percent in the quarter, helped by the popular World Cup.
The results were not as favorable in other sectors. Sony’s mobile products unit posted a loss of 2.7 billion yen (26.3 million), compared to a profit of 12.6 billion yen ($123 million) a year earlier. The company said it expects to sell 43 million Xperia smartphones this year, down from a forecasted 50 million units.
Meanwhile, TV sales forecasts were lowered to 15.5 million units from 16 million. The company previously announced its plan to exit personal computers while spinning off TV manufacturing to a separate unit.
The company did not indicate how many PS3 and PS4 consoles were sold separately, but the combined total reached 3.5 million units in the period. In contrast, sales reached only 1.1 million units last year. Microsoft revealed last week that its Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles shipped just 1.1 million units in the quarter.
Sony said sales from its games and network services reached 257.5 billion yen ($2.5 billion) in the quarter, due largely to the PS4.
Sony’s content businesses also achieved strong returns in the period, with the movie division posting 7.8 billion yen ($76.1 million) profit, which more than doubled last year’s results.
Hit titles included “Amazing Spider-Man 2,” which grossed more than $700 million globally, while “22 Jump Street” generated about $280 million.