Namco Bandai posts $66 million loss

Publisher maintains forecasts despite sales slump; Ben 10, Afro Samurai, Tales of Vesperia make up biggest sellers; Soulcalibur PSP falls outside company's top 10.

Namco Bandai appears to have scored a hit with the latest installment of its flagship fighting series, as evidenced by Tekken 6's having shipped 2.5 million copies worldwide in its first week. Unfortunately for the Japanese publisher, Tekken 6 didn't arrive in time for the first half of its fiscal year, which ran from April through September.

Who needs Mitsurugi vs. Kratos when you can have a year-old beat-'em-up based on a kids' cartoon license?

The publisher today released its first-half financial results, revealing a net loss of ¥6.04 billion ($66.52 million). By the same point in the previous year's campaign, Namco Bandai was running a net profit of ¥1.28 billion ($14.13 million). Overall sales were also down, as Namco Bandai took in ¥172.73 billion ($1.90 billion) for the first half, down nearly 10 percent year-over-year from ¥190.80 billion ($2.10 billion).

Despite the losses, Namco Bandai maintained its sales and net profits forecasts for the full year ending March 2010. When it reports final figures, Namco Bandai still expects revenue to be down 6.2 percent to ¥400 billion ($4.41 billion), with a net profit of ¥8.5 billion ($93.66 million).

As for specific games, Ben 10 Alien Force topped the publisher's software chart, racking up sales of 480,000 on the PlayStation 2, Wii, PSP, and Nintendo DS. Something of an evergreen title for Namco Bandai, Alien Force was released in the US last October, with a European debut in February. Another Ben 10 title, 2007's Protector of Earth, was the publisher's fourth-best seller, racking up 330,000 copies sold on the same platforms as its successor. The action series is one of Namco Bandai's biggest overall brands (including toys and hobby sales), with the publisher expecting it to rake in ¥17.5 billion ($192.86 million) this year, nearly as much as the Power Rangers brand's ¥18 billion ($198.35 million) and comfortably above Dragon Ball's ¥14 billion ($154.27 million).

Namco Bandai's second-best seller, Afro Samurai, came in with 420,000 copies sold, just above Tales of Vesperia's 410,000 games sold. Rounding out the top five was Mobile Suit Gundam: Battlefield Record U.C. 0081 for the PS3, with sales of 320,000. Notably, Namco Bandai's first PSP installment in its weapons-based fighting series, Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny, failed to appear in the publisher's top 10 despite international launches in August and September.

Namco Bandai's Top 10 Games, April-September
Title--Platforms--Global unit sales
1. Ben 10: Alien Force--Wii, PS2, PSP, DS--480,000
2. Afro Samurai--360, PS3--420,000
3. Tales of Vesperia--360, PS3--410,000
4. Ben 10: Protector of Earth--Wii, PS2, PSP, DS--330,000
5. Mobile Suit Gundam: Battlefield Record U.C. 0081--PS3--320,000
6. SD Gundam G Generation Wars--PS2, Wii--310,000
7. Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden--PS2--290,000
8. We Ski & Snowboard--Wii--280,000
9. Tales of Vs.--PSP--270,000
10. Active Life: Outdoor Challenge--Wii--240,000

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