Sony Shares Hit 5 Year Peak

Sony's share price hit a five year peak on Thursday, just a day after the company posted less than spectacular financial results for the last fiscal year.

According to BusinessWeek magazine, "Shares of the electronics giant hit a five-year high on a soaring profit forecast thanks in part to shrinking PlayStation 3 losses."

Sony's shares rose by as much as 5.8% in Tokyo trading yesterday, the highest the company has seen since June 2002 when the PS2 was going strong. By the close of play, however, the gain had shrunk to 2.6% - nevertheless, still a gain.

So, that's a strong show of shareholder faith in the face of the massive losses the company's games division is seeing thanks to the PS3. PSP figures that emerged today aren't a whole lot more encouraging, either.

Sony published figures showing that it shipped some 6.23 million PSPs to Japan by the end of 2006. Figures from Media Create (and a bit of maths), however, show that 5,405,908 were actually sold by the end of last year. According to SPOnG's maths, that's an impressive 1,697,920 PSPs which left Sony's factories but never made it to consumers.

Of course, it's possible that Sony stuck 1.7million PSPs on the back of lorries on December 31st and they just didn't quite make it to retailers in time to be sold. To SPOnG, however, it looks suspiciously like they were hanging around shop floors and warehouses thanks to consumer disinterest.

The PSP figures aren't all doom and gloom, however. They do show that last year the PSP took a 42.3% chunk of the cash spent on handheld hardware last year, narrowly beating out the DS's 42.2% share. It should be kept in mind, however, that the PSP retails for less than the DS, so those figures do not equate to the number of units sold.

Another interesting little nugget that comes from the figures is that the PSP has almost three times as many available titles in Japan than it does in America or Europe. That's a pretty massive difference, considering that Europe and America have both had more than double Japan's number of software units shipped. It looks like publishers are having to pump three times as much cash into development for Japan in order to see half as much return on their investment compared to Europe and America.

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