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Sony Sells 5.3 Million PS4 Consoles to Top Forecast

PS4 Release in Japan
A customer, second from right, plays a video game on a Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. PlayStation 4 video game console at a Bic Camera Inc. electronics store in Tokyo, Japan, on Feb. 22, 2014. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Sony Corp. has sold more than 5.3 million PlayStation 4 game consoles globally, beating its forecast, as it prepares to release the machine in Japan.

The sales were for the period through Feb. 8, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement today. Sony, which released the console in the U.S. on Nov. 15, had projected it would sell 5 million consoles by the end of March.

Demand for the console is a bright spot for Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai, who this month forecast a surprise net loss of 110 billion yen ($1.1 billion) as Sony’s television operation heads toward a 10th straight annual loss. The $399 PS4, the company’s first new console in seven years, retook the lead in U.S. retail sales from Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One last month after being priced $100 below the competing console.

“The PS4 system’s momentum just keeps growing,” Andrew House, chief executive of Sony’s game operation, said in the statement. “I am thrilled that so many customers around the globe have continued to select PS4 as the best place to play.”

Hirai, a former head of the games unit, named that business along with mobile devices and imaging products as pillars to Sony’s revival when he took the top position in 2012.

In addition to the loss, Sony this month said it would sell its unprofitable personal computer business and cut about 5,000 jobs.

The PS4 hit U.S. shelves on Nov. 15, a week before the $499 Xbox One began sales.

PS4 sales in the U.S. were almost double those of its nearest next-generation competitor, Sony said earlier this month, citing NPD Group Inc. Combined sales of the PS4 and its predecessor, the PlayStation 3, surpassed all other platforms in January, Sony said.

Japan sales start Feb. 22, Sony said.

The PS4 and Xbox One compete with Nintendo Co.’s Wii U, on the market for more than a year.

Nintendo, based in Kyoto, Japan, sold 2.4 million Wii U units globally in the nine months ended December, the company said earlier this month.

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