Bionic Commando stalls, Capcom profits sink

Capcom's revitalization of 8-bit classic will arrive on PS3, 360 in May, PC later in '09; holiday earnings see net profit plummet 95 percent.


The good news for Capcom is that it is on the verge of releasing a number of new installments in some of its best-selling franchises, such as Resident Evil 5. Unfortunately, one of those games will arrive later than what was previously expected. As part of its painful third-quarter financial results today, Capcom said that the GRIN-developed Bionic Commando for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 has been bumped beyond its current fiscal year to May, with the PC edition to follow several months later.

Clear skies on the horizon?
Clear skies on the horizon?

The delay typifies what can only be called an atrocious October-December quarter for the Japanese publisher. For the holiday quarter, Capcom saw sales decline 8.6 percent to ¥47.2 billion ($519.5 million), off from last year's haul of ¥51.6 billion ($568 million). Profits for the quarter were another story altogether, plummeting 95 percent to ¥179 million ($1.96 million), down from ¥3.57 billion ($39.3 million) a year prior.

"This is attributable to the slacking performance of Arcade Operations and Contents Expansion Business, the sharp rise of the yen's exchange rate, and not having the release of flagship titles until the fourth quarter in the Home Video Games Business," the publisher said in a statement.

As for that fourth quarter, it is shaping up to a strong one for the publisher. Headline releases include the aforementioned Resident Evil 5 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Capcom expects the game to sell 3.25 million units by the end of its current fiscal year, which ends March 31. Capcom also expects Street Fighter IV to achieve platinum status after its launch on the Xbox 360 and PS3 in February, projecting 1.7 million in sales. The publisher laid out more modest expectations for Dead Rising: Chop Til You Drop, saying that it expects 500,000 units of the Wii port to sell worldwide.

Despite the weak holiday performance, Capcom does not expect to see any significant change to its full-year outlook. All said, the publisher expects revenues to grow 14.7 percent to ¥95.3 billion ($1.04 billion) for the full year, with net income seeing a 10.1 percent uptick to ¥8.6 billion ($94.6 million). However, Capcom did caution that these numbers heavily hinge on the outcome of its aforementioned fourth-quarter slate.

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