Shipments of Sony's PlayStation 3 (PS3) came in under target at 9.24 million units in the financial year to the end of March, and Sony's gaming business remained in the red, Sony said today.

The company sold 2.3 million PS3s in the first three months of this year to take the full-year total to just shy of Sony's target of 9.5 million units. Sony had originally forecast sales in the year of 11 million units but three months ago revised to the more conservative target when it realised it wouldn't make its original estimate.

Some consolation for Sony will be that its PlayStation Portable (PSP) business now appears to be on the right track following a lacklustre debut. Shipments of the handheld gaming device came in ahead of target at 13.89 million units. Sony had been anticipating shipments of only 13 million consoles in the year.

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PlayStation 2 (PS2) shipments showed weakness, which had been expected as consumers focused on the higher profile and higher power PS3. A total of 13.73 million PS2 consoles were shipped in the year.

"The PlayStation 3 platform expanded worldwide with an enhanced software line-up and a new model," Sony's chief financial officer Nobuyuki Oneda said at a Tokyo news conference on Wednesday. "Due to a reduction in the manufacturing cost of the PlayStation 3 and reduction in software prices, operating losses shrunk significantly and the business was in the black in the second half of the year."

Overall Sony's games business saw sales jump 26.3 percent during the year to ¥1.3 trillion ($6.4bn) and losses retreated from ¥232.3bn a year earlier to ¥124.5bn.

For the current year Sony expects its games business to record a profit.