Capcom up for the year

Japanese publisher overcomes industry-wide slowdown to post increased sales and profits in year-end fiscal report.

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The transition phase to next-generation consoles is traditionally a period in which the industry slows to a crawl as gamers' interest in the current generation wanes. That's been true of the current transition, but while many publishers are posting disappointing numbers as a result of the slowdown, Capcom appears to have weathered the first leg of the changeover better than some of its peers.

Today the company released its year-end fiscal results, and it posted gains in both net sales and net income. For the 12-month period ended March 31, Capcom reported a profit of 6.9 billion yen ($62 million) off 70.3 billion yen ($632 million) in sales.

Capcom touted the worldwide success of Resident Evil 4 for the PlayStation 2 as a key part of its growth, and also noted the strong performance of Monster Hunter 2 for the PS2 and Monster Hunter Freedom for the PSP in its home territory of Japan as surpassing the company's expectations. "These titles are growing into the flagship products of Capcom," the company said in its report.

However, not everything the company tried this year met with success. Onimusha Dawn of Dreams (PS2), Without Warning (PS2, Xbox), and Beatdown (PS2, Xbox) were singled out as titles that struggled and/or underperformed. Another problem for the company was the slumping North American gaming scene. For the full year, Capcom's sales in North America declined more than 18 percent from the year before, with an operating income down 88 percent.

Looking ahead, Capcom plans to implement a number of changes to its management structure to better handle the increasingly competitive and costly game market. The company is also looking to install a performance-based incentive program for its staff, focus its efforts primarily on its core business of making games, and "strengthening and exploring" its multiplatform development strategy.

Capcom's annual report also confirmed that it had suspended operations at Maximo development house Capcom Studio 8. It also indicated that the company had dissolved Capcom Eurosoft, a subsidiary responsible for distributing games throughout Europe.

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