Sony Sees ‘Strong’ Europe Christmas Sales; PS3 May Beat Targets

Sony Corp., the maker of the PlayStation 3, sees “very, very strong” Christmas holiday sales for its video-game consoles in Europe, said Andrew House, head of Sony Computer Entertainment in the region.

The company expects to exceed its target of sales of 15 million PS3s in its fiscal year, aided by “strong demand” in Europe and North America, House said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Rome.

“Sales have been significantly up year-on-year in a market that has been overall slightly down,” he said.

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe distributes and markets Sony’s gaming products in 99 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. Since the launch of PlayStation 3 in November 2006, the company has sold more than 38 million units globally, according to an Oct. 13 statement.

Sony, based in Tokyo, and Microsoft Corp., maker of the Xbox, are introducing motion-activated products to compete with Nintendo Co.’s industry-leading Wii console. Sony unveiled its Move motion-activated peripherals on Sept. 19, while Microsoft will begin selling a motion-sensing peripheral called Kinect in November.

Move has had “very significant sales in the first month since launch, somewhere in the region of 1.5 million units for the new controller across just Europe,” House said. “The initial sales response has been so far in excess of our initial plan that we’ll probably be looking at accelerating production.”

Game Delay

Sony delayed the global release of the “Gran Turismo 5” car-racing title for its PlayStation 3 a second time because of production problems, it said yesterday.

The company had planned to sell the game on Nov. 2 in the U.S. and Europe and the following day in Japan. “Gran Turismo 5” is the biggest exclusive game this holiday season for Sony and about 56 million copies of this game series have been sold since its debut in 1997.

“There has been a small, minor delay in terms of the last stages of getting the game released but we remain very confident that the game will be released before the end of this year,” House said.

House repeated that Sony is aiming to make its game unit profitable in the year ending March 2011.

“We have lots of confidence in our ability to hit our profitability target this year,” he said. “But currency movements present significant challenges” including the “continued rapid appreciation of the yen which is a challenge for our business.”

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