Sony profits soar as pandemic boosts video game sector

Profit at Sony more than doubled in the last quarter amid healthy gains in its video game sector as people stayed home during the pandemic, the company said.

The Japanese electronics and entertainment company reported a 459.6 billion yen (£3.4 billion) profit in July-September, up from 188 billion yen (£872 million) the previous year.

Quarterly sales at the maker of the PlayStation, Bravia TVs and Spider-Man movies inched down slightly to 2.1 trillion yen (£15 billion).

Sony raised its forecast for the full fiscal year to 800 billion yen (£5.9 billion) from an earlier 510 billion yen (£3.7 billion).

Sony expects strong performance for its games division, which has the PlayStation 5 set to go on sale soon, but even its current model and its games software are doing well as the coronavirus pandemic has people around the world staying home.

Sony sold 1.5 million PlayStation 4 machines in July-September.

The Tokyo-based group has a wide array of businesses, including electronics and financial services, and its other divisions did not fare as well.

With global demand affected, Sony said it is not expecting growth in sales of its image sensors, but its music business is doing better as streaming revenue increases.

Sony said it also recorded gains from the selling of shares and business transfers in its music division for the quarter to September.

The firm is also behind the hit animation Demon Slayer, which is drawing people in large numbers to cinemas in Japan.

Timing is likely to be a factor as cinemas have been reopening with social distancing measures and few competing animation movies are showing. The movie’s performance was not reflected in the latest results because it only opened earlier this month.

Demon Slayer marked a milestone with more than 100 million dollars at Japan’s box offices in the shortest period ever, or 10 days, according to Sony.

The film premiered on October 16, and has drawn a record of nearly eight million admissions and more than 102.5 million dollars (£79 million) in box office sales.

Sony’s shares gained 1.8% in Tokyo trading on Wednesday.

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