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Strong PS4 sales help Sony to profit

3.5m PlayStation home consoles shipped during the quarter.

The ongoing success of the PlayStation 4 helped Sony to post a profit for the first quarter of its current financial year.

Sony's Game and Network Services division, of which PlayStation is a part, enjoyed sales of $2.55bn during the quarter ending 30th June 2014 - that's up an incredible 95.7 per cent on the same period last financial year.

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Why? According to Sony, sales of the PlayStation 4 console as well as a "significant increase" in network services revenues (that's all your PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Network money) all contributed. The revenue comes despite a partial offset by a decrease in PlayStation 3 sales.

All told, the Game division made a profit of $43m versus a loss of $159m in the quarter last year. All smiles for Sony boss Kaz Hirai then.

As usual, Sony lumped PS4 and PS3 together for is headline sales figure. Both combined, 3.5m home PlayStation consoles were shipped during the quarter. Compare that to the 1.1m combined Xbox One and Xbox 360 units shipped during the same quarter by Microsoft, and you see a ratio of at least 3:1 in Sony's favour.

Both consoles launched in November 2013, and both sold faster than their predecessors. But it's the PS4 that is the early leader in the current console sales war, with, at last count, 7m sales. Xbox One is on 5m.

But what about Vita? Sony lumps Vita sales together with PSP and PS TV. All told, 750,000 units were shipped during the quarter, which is up on the 600,000 during the same quarter last year. In total 85m games were sold during the quarter, an increase on the 68m figure from last year.

Overall, Sony enjoyed sales of $17.92bn, an increase of 5.8 per cent compared to the same period last year. Much of that was to do with the Game division, Sony said, as well as an increase in sales from the Pictures segment (Sony's movie business), and favourable exchange rates. On the minus side, Sony took a hit from exiting the PC business.

Profit increased to $268m (£148m), again from the success of the Game division as well as the sale of buildings in Japan.

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