TOKYO - Sony Corp on Wednesday raised its annual profit outlook after reporting a surprise second-quarter profit increase, as its gaming business continued to capture "nesting" demand driven by COVID-19 lockdown measures.
July-September profit reached 317.76 billion yen ($3 billion), up 13.9% from 278.96 billion yen in the same period a year prior, the entertainment and electronics firm said in a statement.
The result compared with the 197.55 billion yen average of 11 analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.
Sony raised its annual profit forecast to 700 billion yen from an earlier estimate of 620 billion yen. That compared with the 672.33 billion yen consensus of 24 analysts.
The firm now forecasts its gaming division to post annual profit of 300 billion yen, from the previously estimated 240 billion yen.
Consumers' shift to gaming software downloads and online subscription services during lockdown boosted profit despite the PlayStation 4 console coming to the end of its lifecycle.
Such high-margin online revenue is likely to help Sony's gaming business stay profitable this year, outweighing massive marketing and production costs associated with the launch next month of the PlayStation 5 (PS5) console.
($1 = 104.7000 yen)
(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Christopher Cushing) ((Makiko.Yamazaki@thomsonreuters.com; +81-3-4563-2805;))