Sony Corp. said its first-quarter profit more than tripled, beating expectations, after strong contributions from digital camera sales and a softer yen far outweighed losses on the slow selling PlayStation 3 game console.

For the first quarter, net profit more than doubled to 66.5 billion yen ($559 million), while operating profits rose three-fold from 27 billion ($227 million)yen last year to 99.3 billion yen. Sales were up 13.3 per cent to 1,977 billion ($16.4 million).

Sony’s electronics division, which accounts for 70 per cent of group turnover, was helped by strong sales of its Cybershot digital cameras, and weaker-than-expected yen.

The performance of its game division continued to drag profits, however. The Japanese consumer electronics company said sales of its next generation Playstation 3 console had fallen below expectations, but that recent price cuts and software bundles will help move more units.

Sony, locked in a three-way battle with Nintendo and Microsoft Corp. in the $30 billion video game market, cut the U.S. price of the PS3 by $100 this month.

In the first five months of the year, Nintendo has walked away as the winner with its popular Wii game console. The Wii sold 1.73 million Wiis in the United States, according to market researcher NPD Group. Microsoft has sold 1 million Xbox 360s and Sony has sold only 665,000 PS3s.

The company is sticking to its 11 million unit projection for the year. It said a slimmer new model and newer software would be ready in time for the lucrative Christmas season.

Other divisions of the conglomerate saw profits rise.

The film division made a 3.25 billion yen profit against a 1.17 billion loss last time, largely thanks to the success of the third Spider-Man film.

The record group profit also saw a profit.

Sony reiterated its operating profit forecast of 440 billion yen for the year to March 2008, up from 71.75 billion a year earlier, when it was hit by costs associated with its PS3 launch, and worldwide battery recall.