The CEO of Sony said that the company will boost investment in its PlayStation and camera sensors business over the next three years.
But Kazuo Hirai said today that it may well exit the smartphone business and divest itself of its TV unit too.
Sony has already got out of PCs and is engaged in restructuring which have seen thousands of people made redundant.
Hirai told reporters in a briefing that his goal was to make Sony profitable – it expects to turn in an operating loss for its financial year, which ends on the 31st of March.
Earlier this week, Sony released its intelligent glasses – which have no guarantee of making returns following Google’s decision to go back to basics on its own version of the devices.
Video games, camera sensors and entertainment are all areas which are profitable, but Hirai is tacitly saying that Sony isn’t the giant it once was, when whatever it launched set the scene for others to follow.
It’s little surprise that Sony is getting out of smartphones. Samsung and Apple rule the roost but manufacturers in mainland China are selling smartphones at knock down prices with razor thin margins – that’s already had an effect on Samsung’s profits.
An extensive study
by the University Autonomy de Barcelona (UAB) sampled 5,538 secondary school students to gauge the effect of technology in their lives.
And it’s discovered clear links between school failure and excessive use of computers at home.
It also finds that an intensive addiction to ICT is linked with the consumption of toxic substances.
The survey, conducted in 2010/2011 in a region of Catalonia, collected information on after school activities, school performance, consumption of toxic substances, family relations, use of ICT and parental control.
It also had questionnaires completed on the children’ experiences with the internet, with mobile phones and video games.
While 98 percent of the students had internet at home, 89 percent owned a mobile before turning 13.
For internet access, 87 percent used the web for social networks, 52 percent for chats, 68.3 percent for email and 50 percent for school work.
Failure at school amounted to 29 percent if a computer was used more than three hours a day.
Research from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) claims more women now play video games than men.
The trend is being driven by 25-44 year old women downloading trivia games and free puzzle games, the IAB said.
The research, conducted by Populus, show that women account for 52 percent of people who played a video game in the last six months. The figure was 49 percent three years ago.
The IAB says the entire gaming audience amounts to 69 percent of the UK population – that’s 33.5 million people.
More people aged over 44 play games than children and teenagers combined.
As you’d expect, its smartphones that are behind the trend. They hog 54 percent of those surveyed, followed by computers (51%), consoles (45%) and tablets (44%). But the average gamer uses three different devices.
And an average gamer aged over 18 spends something like 11 hours gaming a week, compared to 20 hours for eight to 15 year olds.
4,058 people between the ages of eight and 74 were surveyed online in June for the purposes of the survey.
HMV and Blockbuster are gone, along with countless independent shops, but their demise doesn’t appear to be hurting video game distributors. In fact, the leading UK distributors told MCV that the closures did not have much of an impact at all.
Mastertronic said the bankruptcies are a non-issue, as most stock is now on a consignment basis. “However, where we have expensive console stock in the retail channel and no practical means of retrieving it quickly, it still poses a problem. The ongoing transition to a digital business has minimised the effects of these closures,” said Mastertronic operations director Dermot Stapleton.
Vogue Distribution sales manager Tom Popple said the poor performance of the retail sector has made had a knock-on effect on game sales, but Vogue is weathering the storm by expanding into new markets. Clock Entertainment exec Jake Wright said it is sad to see big names disappear from the UK high street, but he pointed out that the closures did not have much effect on his outfit.
A number of execs from Bright Red Distribution, Gem and Link Distribution concur. While none of them welcome the demise of high street chains, they don’t appear too concerned, either. Besides, the long-term trend in the gaming industry is online distribution, with constant updates and plenty of downloadable content to keep gamers hooked.
The demise of brick and mortar shops is already boosting online sales, although sales of PC games are not doing very well. High street’s woes did not take a financial toll on games distributors, but they did hurt company confidence and there are not that many positive signs to report. PC sales are down, console lovers are waiting for next-gen gear and casual gaming on mobile devices is bigger than ever.