Sony looks to PlayStation to revive fortunes, could ditch smartphones

Sony continues to spin off struggling divisions, including its video and audio business

Sony will invest more money in the PlayStation as it fights to return to a profit, and could reportedly exit from selling smartphones and TVs.

Sony will pump extra cash into its games and network services division in a bid to attract more users to the PlayStation and its PlayStation Network of online games. The company has sold 18.5 million PlayStation 4s since they went on sale in late 2013, of which 4.1 million were sold in the 2014 holiday season.

Sony will also provide more funding for the division that makes image sensors for devices including the iPhone 6. That cash will go towards researching new technologies and increasing production.

It's part of a wider set of changes underway at Sony, which has already sold off its Vaio PC business and is showing less and less interest in hardware. Along with the gaming and imaging divisions, it sees its biggest growth drivers as movies, music and TV production.

Sony announced a turnaround plan on Wednesday aimed at producing ¥500 billion (US$4.2 billion) in profit by 2017. It will invest in divisions that can boost its bottom line and get rid of businesses that aren't as profitable. The electronics and entertainment giant has suffered a string of loses recently, including a ¥128 billion loss for its last fiscal year.

Sony will also spin off its video-and-audio business into a wholly owned subsidiary, the same strategy it used last year for TVs. Separating the businesses allows them to focus on turning a profit.

Other business will be split from the parent company, Sony said, but it didn't provide details.

For now, Sony is keeping its mobile communications segment, which will post a loss of ¥215 billion for the year to March 31 and see 2,100 jobs cut. But according to news reports, CEO Kazuo Hirai isn't ruling out an "exit strategy" for phones and TVs, markets that Sony described as volatile and competitive.

Image sensors and the PlayStation helped Sony lower its predicted loss for this fiscal year. In its most recent earnings report,, the company forecast a loss of ¥170 billion for the year, down from the ¥230 billion loss it predicted in October.

Sony will give its music division more money to explore streaming services. In January, it ended its own streaming service and partnered with Spotify to develop a new offering called PlayStation Music. That service allows PlayStation users to stream music while playing games.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesconsumer electronicsgamessony

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Fred O'Connor

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?