Eidos sees red in 2004, has high hopes for 2005

The British publisher blames the soft market in the US for its 2004 fiscal year loss, confirms a PSP title in the works, and says Tomb Raider VII is due next summer.

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Today in London, the UK's biggest game publisher, Eidos, released its financials for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2004. Revenues and profit were both off, with the company reporting FY 2004 revenues of 133.9 million pounds ($241 million), compared with FY 2003 revenues of 151.5 million pounds ($269 million). And instead of the 17.4 million pounds ($31 million) profit it reported last year, this year the company posted a net loss of 2.9 million pounds ($5.2 million).

"While the results for the year to June 2004 are disappointing, the company's underlying business and product portfolio remain strong", said Eidos chairman John van Kuffeler. "Management continues to focus on driving the business forward, and a significant release schedule, comprising a mix of sequel and new franchise titles, is planned for the year ahead."

In a statement, Eidos said its back catalog was strong, driving 15.7 percent of its sales, up from 11 percent the previous year. Of its new titles, the company said Hitman: Contracts was its top seller, moving 1.7 million units. Additionally, six other Eidos games sold between 500,000 and 1 million copies each. Those were Backyard Wrestling: Don't Try This at Home; Deus Ex: Invisible War; Championship Manager: Season 03/04, Legacy of Kain: Defiance, and Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, which sold a million copies despite dismal reviews.

One of the titles slated for FY 2005 is the seventh Tomb Raider game, currently in development at Eidos-owned Crystal Dynamics. The report stated that Tomb Raider VII will arrive in the fourth quarter of Eidos' 2005 financial year--that's April 1, 2005, at the earliest. The date jibes with earlier reports that said the as-yet-unnamed sequel would arrive in the summer of 2005.

Besides Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics is also at work on Eidos' first PSP game. According to the report, "a number of the new concept ideas and preproduction works, for both platform and PlayStation Portable application, are being developed in this studio." No other details on said PSP title were available.

Other upcoming titles the company touted were Championship Manager 5, due in the first half of the year, "with an online version of the game to follow." Nine more titles are due in the second half of Eidos' 2005 fiscal year, including Hitman 4 and the aforementioned Tomb Raider VII.

As for the recent reports that Eidos is courting corporate suitors, today's earnings statement obliquely addressed the subject. "Discussions, which relate to a possible sale of the company, are progressing well, although there can be no certainty at this stage as to whether or not they will lead to an offer being made for the company," read the report.

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