Capcom was one of the first publishers to reap significant rewards from releasing blockbuster games in the first quarter of the year, when the competition is traditionally sparse. Since 2005, the publisher has chosen the first three months of the year as prime launch windows for heavy hitters like Resident Evil 4, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, Devil May Cry 4, Street Fighter IV, and Resident Evil 5.
While the publisher planned to follow form in 2010, Capcom of Japan today delayed Lost Planet 2, Super Street Fighter IV, and international launches of Monster Hunter Tri for the Wii out past March. The move was made in an attempt to avoid competition with other publishers' major titles set for the first quarter of the year.
Capcom hasn't abandoned the first quarter entirely. A representative confirmed for GameSpot that two of its announced titles, Dark Void for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, and Capcom vs. Tatsunoko for the Wii, are still set for launch January 19 and January 26, respectively.
Capcom's trepidation is understandable, as the first three months of 2010 are set to host a parade of highly anticipated titles, many of them delayed from originally planned holiday 2009 launches. Beyond Dark Void and Tatsunoko, the first quarter will also see releases for Mass Effect 2, God of War III, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Final Fantasy XIII, Dante's Inferno, BioShock 2, Army of Two: The 40th Day, MAG, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, and plenty more.
The delays were announced alongside a reduction in Capcom's forecast for its current fiscal year, ending March 31, 2010. The publisher had been expecting to bring in ¥95 billion ($1.04 billion) for the full year, but slashed that number 32 percent to ¥65 billion ($709 million) in light of the delays. Going forward, Capcom said it would spread its new releases throughout the year "to prevent an excessive contribution from new titles in the [January-March] quarter."
Capcom had been expecting to sell more than 4.8 million copies this year among the three games (3.7 million for Lost Planet 2, 1.1 million for Super Street Fighter IV, and 500,000 copies of the international edition of Monster Hunter Tri). The publisher also reduced its expectations for Dark Void by more than half, revising its previous forecast of 1.3 million copies sold through March to just 600,000. No reason was given for the lowered expectations for Dark Void.