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#1 Edited by Blu3V3nom07 (4207 posts) -

If one algorithm is to be believed, things are looking grim for Sony. The maker of the PlayStation 4, according to Macroaxis, has a 78 percent chance of going bankrupt in the next two years.

Here’s a quote from their bankruptcy probability tool for Sony Corporation.

Based on latest financial disclosure Sony Corporation has Probability Of Bankruptcy of 78%. This is 181.53% higher than that of Consumer Goods sector, and 168.71% higher than that of Electronic Equipment industry, The Probability Of Bankruptcy for all stocks is 121.29% lower than the firm.

NeoGAF user Contra11 pulled up Microsoft and Nintendo’s probability of bankruptcy for comparison. Microsoft has a 1 percent chance of going bankrupt in two years, while Nintendo sits at a 22 percent chance. Nintendo’s odds are particularly interesting given the community mentality that the company has had one foot in the grave for nearly 20 years now.

Gaming, though, is such a small slice of what Sony does as a business. They sell TVs, sound systems, portable music devices, computers, cameras and a whole lot more. Based on the performance of the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and, at least initially, the PlayStation 4, Sony’s been doing well in gaming.

Everywhere else? Perhaps not as well as the company would like.

As one of the gaming writers for this site, my knowledge of Sony as a business is sort of limited to what they do in my field. As a consumer, my perception of Sony as a maker of products changed with the minidisc and the fall of the Walkman. Sony used to dominate portable music in a crazy big way. Walkman was synonymous with portable cassette players in the same way the iPod is with MP3 players. Everything, regardless of brand, was a Walkman.

Since the fall of the Walkman brand, in my book, Sony hasn’t been the same maker of electronics. Games? They are fantastic. Otherwise? There are so many other alternatives.

Macroaxis is little more than an algorithm-based prediction tool. They use stock numbers to predict the long term health of companies, something one would need future-telling powers to predict accurately.

Despite that, this does present an interesting look at the company. Is Sony in trouble or are these numbers off?

TechnoBuffalo: Sony has 78% Chance to Go Bankrupt in Two Years, says Macroaxis

That would suck insanely bad. PlayStation seems to do well. Everything else Sony doesn't seem to be doing well. And so, my T-Mobile contract just ended, and I'm looking to buy my next phone right about now, like in April. Right around Microsoft's Build Conference. Somewhere around that time, or during this next CES '14 January 7th, or Mobile World Congress '14 in February, Sony is supposed to be announcing doing a Windows Phone 8.1. I really am considering having that be my next phone, cuz I like products and things.

I don't even know how companies spin off other companies, and spinning out PlayStation might have it do alright by itself. But Sony receivers, TVs, and computers better be the best bumping bass busters ever, coming this CES and next. Cuz if not.. Yeesh, I dunno.

Who else than Google, Apple, and Microsoft even have the cash at hand to buy all those patents, though? Apple still wants to do them TV's, and Lenovo would maybe even buy some phone patents cuz might as well. HTC, and HP dying off wouldn't be healthy for this industry either, assuming they could survive two more years at this point.

Plus they got: Columbia Music & Movies, RCA, now they're doing Spanish Breaking Bad TV, and their Japanese life insurance company-thing. The Strokes gotta get paid..

#2 Posted by endaround (2145 posts) -

Sony could just sell the movie rights of Spiderman back to Disney and pay its way out of anything. This is just foolish.

#3 Posted by noizy (666 posts) -

I wouldn't worry too much. Even if Sony goes under, the company would be spliced up in pieces and sold off. The division responsible for Playstation would get picked up for sure.

I've bought Sony electronics in the past and I tend to think they're overpriced for what they're offering; there's better, cheaper alternative out there for almost every product they make.

#4 Posted by spraynardtatum (2944 posts) -

Doc Brown may also have more information on what's going to happen to Sony.

#5 Edited by exfate (379 posts) -

It wont go bankrupt in 2 years. It might have to sell off some of its child companies and downsize heavily though. A corporation like that doesn't just crash and burn, it suffers a slow, agonizing descent to the bottom until it's small enough for its remnants to be bought up by some other megacorp who just want the brand name and whatever patents, trademarks, etc that they haven't sold off yet to keep themselves afloat.

#6 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

Seems like a harsh prediction but Sony's financial problems are neither new nor secret, they basically still a thing because the insurance business they have in japan. Everything else is a fail at this point.

#7 Posted by ViciousBearMauling (1095 posts) -

We will more likely see some downsizing before bankruptcy.

Don't panic just yet, Sony is NOT the next THQ

#8 Posted by chilibean_3 (1640 posts) -

Sony Corporation having financial trouble isn't exactly a new thing to anybody.

#9 Posted by joshwent (2204 posts) -

@exfate said:

It wont go bankrupt in 2 years. It might have to sell off some of its child companies and downsize heavily though.

Yep. The divisions that are profitable, like PlayStation, would easily still flourish as they cut of all of the dead weight. That could mean some really shitty layoffs for workers in Japan (and manufacturers in China?), but really wouldn't affect our vijda games at all.

#10 Edited by TruthTellah (9073 posts) -

I wouldn't be surprised to see Sony cut back significantly over the next few years, but I doubt they'll go out of business. There are good, profitable elements of the company, and as long as they can focus on those sectors, they can still go on for quite some time.

I can see how their recent numbers might freak out an algorithm, but there's a reason human analysis is still essential to really understand a company's position.

#11 Posted by soulcake (281 posts) -

Sony owes a lot off stuff, I think they even got the Beatles. They have being losing some money for a while now hope the PS4 can help them up a bit.

#12 Posted by HeyGuys (399 posts) -

People should keep in mind that declaring bankruptcy and going out of business are far from the same thing. I'm not sure how bankruptcy law works in Japan but many U.S. companies undergo bankruptcy during company restructuring.

#13 Posted by mlarrabee (2951 posts) -

Game consoles are money pits for every manufacturer. Think about this: the PS3 became profitable in October of 2009, which still left the division down $540 million for that year. And that's after losing $3.3 billion the two previous years.

Sony'll be just fine.

#14 Edited by flippyandnod (386 posts) -

Huh. I'm surprised to hear it's so high, but let's face it, there's some fat to cut. For every profitable division, Sony seems to have two that lose money.

I'm not worried though.

#15 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5477 posts) -

PS4 isn't the part of Sony that will have problems.

#16 Posted by Scampbell (497 posts) -

As someone who have basically zero experience when it comes the stock market, this seems strange. To me, Sony seems like a company truly in touch with the times. At E3 Sony said all the right things, there message was very much a no nonsense; we are making a console and it plays games, it doesn't wash your dishes or brush your teeth, we made it to play games well, thats all. To me that seems completely in line with the mentality of a world barely out of a financial crisis. Where Microsoft seemed all over the place and boosting an obligatory kinect, a device which for good reason have gotten bad reputation. Of course Sony is much more than Playstation, maybe I'm just not paying enough attention to the financial news, but I haven't heard anything about any specific Sony product being a financial failure. On the other hand Microsoft just seems to making one mistake after another. Vista, Surface, Windows phone not to mention the their involvement with the NSA. Windows 8 certainly wasn't too popular either. If had to think of some positive movies, it would be something like how they allowed you to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro at a bargain price. Besides that Microsoft just seems to be an aging giant, still living off their near monopoly they used to enjoy, though Apple have been eating a lot of that, though when it comes to computer gaming they are still the King. But how long will that last, with the backing of Valve, Linux/Steam OS could break that dominance. Without that dominance they would be at least as dependent on the success of their console as Sony is.

I guess when it comes pure money-in-the-bank Microsoft appears strong, and it seems likely Sony are selling consoles at a loss increasing any debt they might already have. But that is a very narrow way of looking at it. Besides if the PS4 becomes a massive failure, which seems unlikely, I just don't see what these predictions are based on. Of course, I'm just speculating (heh) without actually doing any research.

#17 Posted by AlchemistZer0 (47 posts) -

@exfate said:

It wont go bankrupt in 2 years. It might have to sell off some of its child companies and downsize heavily though. A corporation like that doesn't just crash and burn, it suffers a slow, agonizing descent to the bottom until it's small enough for its remnants to be bought up by some other megacorp who just want the brand name and whatever patents, trademarks, etc that they haven't sold off yet to keep themselves afloat.

True Shit

#18 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11003 posts) -

That sounds about right. Sony finally does (almost) everything right in the games department, and then the rest of the company falls apart around it.

I should say that I, officially, don't think this will happen, and I really hope it doesn't, because I just bought a PS4 (and also people losing jobs, etc.). But yeah, wouldn't that be ironic? Or, weird, at least?

Moderator
#19 Posted by probablytuna (3657 posts) -

I often forget that Sony Computer Entertainment is a part of Sony Corporation.

#20 Edited by xyzygy (9988 posts) -

Apparently the PS4 only costs 382 bucks to make. But I have no idea what other factors come into the whole "selling at a loss" thing, does anyone know if they are selling each unit at a loss or profit?

EDIT: Just looked it up and apparently they are selling PS4 at a loss. So that's not good. Hopefully the company will get back in shape at some point but it's been going pretty downhill for them over the past decade...

#21 Posted by KittyVonDoom (445 posts) -

But... 3D!

#22 Posted by BombcastGoldthwait (250 posts) -

This comes as no surprise. In the last year they hired Matt Kessler and you know to get him wasn't cheap.

#23 Posted by Hailinel (24778 posts) -

@xyzygy said:

Apparently the PS4 only costs 382 bucks to make. But I have no idea what other factors come into the whole "selling at a loss" thing, does anyone know if they are selling each unit at a loss or profit?

EDIT: Just looked it up and apparently they are selling PS4 at a loss. So that's not good. Hopefully the company will get back in shape at some point but it's been going pretty downhill for them over the past decade...

There's a lot more to the costs than manufacturing. You also have to take into account aspects like the number of consoles produced, shipping costs, financial costs of storage space, the retailer wholesale price versus the consumer price (retailers are not buying each console for $400), and other extraneous costs. The cost of assembling and packaging a console is just one piece of a financial jigsaw puzzle.

#24 Edited by RonGalaxy (3166 posts) -

Sony does extremely well in the film/music industry, gaming isnt their only strong suit. Also, sony isnt going to go bankrupt anytime soon. This prediction algorithm is akin to someone trying to find out when theyre gonna die. There are so many factors this thing isnt taking into account, so we should all just ignore it and move on

Also, sony has like 150 billion dollars in assets. They're trying to tell me that's all going to drift away in 2 years time? Horse shit

#25 Posted by Nightriff (5080 posts) -

Playstation side will probably be fine, it is pretty successful, no?

#26 Posted by Nightriff (5080 posts) -

@bombcastgoldthwait said:

This comes as no surprise. In the last year they hired Matt Kessler and you know to get him wasn't cheap.

50% of that 78% chance is from his hiring.

I kid, I kid, I love Kessler. Super nice guy.

#27 Edited by AMyggen (3038 posts) -

@scampbell: You have to remember that Sony is a lot more than the Playstation. They make all kinds of electronics (and movies, but don't know enough about that part to comment), and they've been struggling for years.

They've lost a lot of ground especially to the South Korean giants when it comes to products like TVs the last decade or more, to the point of that part of the company being a financial disaster. They were also late to the global Smartphone party, and have been losing out heavily there too. Especially the South Koreans are just killing Sony. And you talk about MS being stagnant, Sony hasn't exactly moved fast since the 90s, to put it mildly.

To put it bluntly, Sony as a company has been in a crisis for some years now. Still, I wouldn't read too much into these kinds of predictions, more often than not it's bullshit.

#28 Posted by jimmyfenix (3854 posts) -

Cut the TV market. Matt Bodega will be the next Sony CEO.

#29 Posted by Hailinel (24778 posts) -

@amyggen said:

@scampbell: You have to remember that Sony is a lot more than the Playstation. They make all kinds of electronics (and movies, but don't know enough about that part to comment), and they've been struggling for years.

They've lost a lot of ground especially to the South Korean giants when it comes to products like TVs the last decade or more, to the point of that part of the company being a financial disaster. They were also late to the global Smartphone party, and have been losing out heavily there too. Especially the South Koreans are just killing Sony. And you talk about MS being stagnant, Sony hasn't exactly moved fast since the 90s, to put it mildly.

To put it bluntly, Sony as a company has been in a crisis for some years now.

This is all true. Sony in all likelihood won't fall apart in the next two years, but PlayStation, music, and film aside, Sony's core business, consumer electronics, has been largely stagnant. Their TV division is a great example of an internal headache. Its not a market that sees frequent repeat business (because most people don't buy new TVs very often), and the most recent "big" innovation in 3D TV fell flat on its face due to a combination of lack of demand, high cost, and the user-unfriendliness of televisions that require glasses for the 3D effect. They succeed in creating a product few people cared about, fewer were willing to buy and put up with, and did nothing to fill the hole they had already been digging for years.

It should come as no surprise that the company promoted Kaz Hirai to Sony Corporation CEO given that he was in charge of one of the few divisions that isn't a sinking ship in Sony Computer Entertainment.

#30 Posted by Ben_H (3355 posts) -

Not too surprised. They rely far too much on name and continue to charge a premium price for their electronics. That no longer works when the competition is nearly as good quality and much cheaper.

#31 Edited by Fatcat222 (31 posts) -

Does anyone with business knowledge here now how doable it would be to break up the divisions of Sony? From the (little) knowledge I have, it seems the games, movies, television, and music divisions are the only ones that are doing alright.

#32 Posted by Chaser324 (6536 posts) -

@joshwent said:

@exfate said:

It wont go bankrupt in 2 years. It might have to sell off some of its child companies and downsize heavily though.

Yep. The divisions that are profitable, like PlayStation, would easily still flourish as they cut of all of the dead weight. That could mean some really shitty layoffs for workers in Japan (and manufacturers in China?), but really wouldn't affect our vijda games at all.

Yeah, Sony is far too broad and diverse a company to just go bankrupt and drop off the face of the planet. It won't be surprising to see Sony shift the priorities in the coming years and reduce or eliminate their efforts in some markets...but you could say the same thing about pretty much any corporation of the same size.

Moderator
#33 Edited by Slag (4362 posts) -

bankruptcy does not necessarily mean going out of business.

Chapter 7 is reorganization, void the equity, negotiate with creditors maybe liquidate some assets but still operate. That would be the most likely bankruptcy path for Sony if it happens at all.

Chapter 11 is the one to worry about and has a low chance of occurring in my mind barring a major disaster,

#34 Posted by Hailinel (24778 posts) -

@slag said:

bankruptcy does not necessarily mean going out of business.

Chapter 7 is reorganization, void the equity, negotiate with creditors maybe liquidate some assets but still operate. That would be the most likely bankruptcy path for Sony if it happens at all.

Chapter 11 is the one to worry about and has a low chance of occurring in my mind barring a major disaster,

This is going by U.S. bankruptcy law. I don't know what Japan's laws are like, but they aren't necessarily the same.

#35 Edited by Slag (4362 posts) -

@hailinel said:

@slag said:

bankruptcy does not necessarily mean going out of business.

Chapter 7 is reorganization, void the equity, negotiate with creditors maybe liquidate some assets but still operate. That would be the most likely bankruptcy path for Sony if it happens at all.

Chapter 11 is the one to worry about and has a low chance of occurring in my mind barring a major disaster,

This is going by U.S. bankruptcy law. I don't know what Japan's laws are like, but they aren't necessarily the same.

true, Although I do think they are listed on the NYSE. I'd assume that equity would probably get wiped in any potential bankruptcy.

but mainly I was trying to point out that "bankruptcy" does not automatically equal going out of business as many people assume it does. I think Sony is a valid going concern and there is little reason for Playstation fans to panic at this point.

#36 Edited by TruthTellah (9073 posts) -

Well of course there's a high chance they're going out of business in two years.

All companies are likely going out of business in two years...

#37 Posted by mrfluke (5152 posts) -

@slag said:

@hailinel said:

@slag said:

bankruptcy does not necessarily mean going out of business.

Chapter 7 is reorganization, void the equity, negotiate with creditors maybe liquidate some assets but still operate. That would be the most likely bankruptcy path for Sony if it happens at all.

Chapter 11 is the one to worry about and has a low chance of occurring in my mind barring a major disaster,

This is going by U.S. bankruptcy law. I don't know what Japan's laws are like, but they aren't necessarily the same.

true, Although I do think they are listed on the NYSE. I'd assume that equity would probably get wiped in any potential bankruptcy.

but mainly I was trying to point out that "bankruptcy" does not automatically equal going out of business as many people assume it does. I think Sony is a valid going concern and there is little reason for Playstation fans to panic at this point.

yea, isnt the entertainment division of sony the one thats generally keeping that company going? (as in real successful)

and something along the lines of if the playstation brand spun out of sony and became their own entity, that they would be real profitable?

#38 Posted by Slag (4362 posts) -

@mrfluke said:

@slag said:

@hailinel said:

@slag said:

bankruptcy does not necessarily mean going out of business.

Chapter 7 is reorganization, void the equity, negotiate with creditors maybe liquidate some assets but still operate. That would be the most likely bankruptcy path for Sony if it happens at all.

Chapter 11 is the one to worry about and has a low chance of occurring in my mind barring a major disaster,

This is going by U.S. bankruptcy law. I don't know what Japan's laws are like, but they aren't necessarily the same.

true, Although I do think they are listed on the NYSE. I'd assume that equity would probably get wiped in any potential bankruptcy.

but mainly I was trying to point out that "bankruptcy" does not automatically equal going out of business as many people assume it does. I think Sony is a valid going concern and there is little reason for Playstation fans to panic at this point.

yea, isnt the entertainment division of sony the one thats generally keeping that company going? (as in real successful)

and something along the lines of if the playstation brand spun out of sony and became their own entity, that they would be real profitable?

I think that's basically right. I haven't really looked at their financials much, other than a cursory glance. They certainly aren't anywhere nearly as bad off as THQ or Midway were and their assets are much more valuable.

Certainly if Sony's situation got really dire they'd probably split the company up to appease creditors. Being a Japanese company I think they have more poison pill options to prevent an activist investor from forcing them to act, but their creditors are likely a different story.

#39 Edited by maverick1 (92 posts) -

Wow thats surprising to hear. I had no idea the company as whole was doing so poorly. Hopefully the ps4 is a grand slam for the company.

#40 Edited by Example1013 (4834 posts) -

not surprised, sony probably made more money licensing blu ray to microsoft for the xbox one than they did with 3D tvs.

EDIT: sony actually probably would've made more money by sitting there and doing nothing than by investing in 3D tvs, they lost huge on that "gamble". If I were a sony shareholder I'd have pushed for everyone involved with that decision to be fired.

#41 Posted by ajamafalous (11993 posts) -

Yeah, not exactly new news; most of their consumer electronics divisions (TVs, etc) have been eating shit for years.

Between their movie, music, and video game divisions doing so well, they'll go through a downsizing and restructuring long before 'OH NO SONY DOESN'T EXIST ANYMORE' happens.

#42 Posted by seveword (154 posts) -

In other news, Chicken Little, sky falling, etc. In the world of big business and multinational corporations, this is piddly diddly.

#43 Posted by crithon (3226 posts) -

78% sounds horrible

but man the movie industry, TV and music industry probably doing better then selling TV?

#44 Posted by chrissedoff (2097 posts) -

That doesn't surprise me much. Their electronics are crap for the prices they sell for. I haven't spent money on a piece of Sony electronics (besides the Playstation) in many years and I imagine there are a lot of people who feel the same way. Maybe stop investing to the hilt in cockamamie gimmicks and otherwise coasting on a reputation earned in the 80s and 90s while most of your competitors pass you by? I don't know anything about the corporate culture at Sony, but the way they've run their business makes me imagine there's some ancient, out-of-touch Mr. Burns-like figure at the top who has the final say-so on everything.

#45 Posted by Sergio (2123 posts) -

I don't think they'll go bankrupt. They'd most likely sell any divisions that they no longer think is profitable enough, similar to how IBM sold its hard drive division to Hitachi and its laptop division to Lenovo.

#46 Posted by KaneRobot (1606 posts) -

Microsoft buys Sony. Then Riff Raff buys Microsoft. Then video games are over (but are reborn a few minutes later).

#47 Posted by lennyy (73 posts) -

This might not take into account that the PS4 is a new console and towards the end of the generation the PS3 (naturally) started to see a drop in sales.
But if Sony are selling the PS4 at a loss, well, that's just bad.

#48 Posted by Darji (5294 posts) -

@plewney: didn't Sony say that they are not selling at a loss and even earn a bit of money with each console sold? The problems Sony has are not really gaming related. They suffer big time in other sectors but gaming is luckily not one of them.

#49 Edited by lennyy (73 posts) -

@darji: I'm just going on what other people have said that they are (at the moment) selling them at a loss.

#50 Posted by Scampbell (497 posts) -

@amyggen said:

@scampbell: You have to remember that Sony is a lot more than the Playstation. They make all kinds of electronics (and movies, but don't know enough about that part to comment), and they've been struggling for years.

They've lost a lot of ground especially to the South Korean giants when it comes to products like TVs the last decade or more, to the point of that part of the company being a financial disaster. They were also late to the global Smartphone party, and have been losing out heavily there too. Especially the South Koreans are just killing Sony. And you talk about MS being stagnant, Sony hasn't exactly moved fast since the 90s, to put it mildly.

To put it bluntly, Sony as a company has been in a crisis for some years now. Still, I wouldn't read too much into these kinds of predictions, more often than not it's bullshit.

I stand corrected. I guess Sony's slow stagnation just doesn't catch the news the same way Microsoft's blunders do. Come to think on it, the Cell chip was kind of a blunder too, it certainly didn't live up to Sony's expectations for it.