Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp., the world's largest maker of video-game players, may report third-quarter profit fell 50 percent after its flagship PlayStation 3 lost market share to Nintendo Co.'s Wii.
Losses from games probably drove net income down to 84.1 billion yen ($691 million) in the three months ended Dec. 31, from a record 168.9 billion yen a year earlier, according to the median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales at Tokyo-based Sony, which reports earnings tomorrow, probably rose 9.6 percent to 3 trillion yen.
The results may highlight Chief Executive Officer Howard Stringer's failure to fend off Nintendo, whose $250 Wii console outsells the PlayStation 3 by two-to-one. Sony may still exceed its full-year profit target because of a weaker yen, sales of Bravia televisions and growth at its movie unit.
"A drop in third-quarter results is largely expected on the games division. There's no surprise unless the company further reduces its profit forecasts,'' said Mitsushige Akino, who oversees $468 million in assets at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. in Tokyo. Akino doesn't recommend investors buy Sony stock "until the company improves its earnings.''
After botching the PS3's debut with production delays and cutting the price to compete against cheaper Wii and Xbox players, Sony will probably lose 191.9 billion yen from games this fiscal year, compared with profit of 8.7 billion yen the previous year, according to the Bloomberg survey.