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Darkside Chronicles disappoints as Capcom profits jump

Japanese publisher reports 866 percent surge in net profits for holiday quarter on strength of Monster Hunter, Ace Attorney games, but sequel to Wii Resident Evil spin-off disappoints.


Most publishers live for the holiday quarters, loading up their strongest lineup of hits in the last three months of the year. However, Capcom has made a habit of scheduling its heaviest hitters in the January-March window, the final stretch of its fiscal year.

The Darkside Chronicles' decomposing denizens were well-matched by rotten sales.
The Darkside Chronicles' decomposing denizens were well-matched by rotten sales.

As a result, the fiscal results for the quarter ending December 31 that it released today were typically subdued, much like those of last year. The publisher's recently completed third quarter was a little different, as Capcom today reported ¥1.73 billion ($19.13 million) in net profits for the nine-month period ended December 31, 2009--a leap of 866 percent from the same period the year before. Despite the significantly higher earnings, Capcom's sales for the period were up only 5.9 percent year-over-year, to ¥49.99 billion ($552.87 million).

In a statement accompanying the figures, the publisher noted a stronger game industry, perked up by recent price cuts to the major consoles. However, Capcom has noticed a leveling off of the business that it attributes to "the prolonged recession with declining consumer confidence and decreasing demand."

The publisher was subdued in its analysis of the first nine months of the year, saying it had "only a few flagship titles" released over the span. Of those, Monster Hunter Tri for the Wii was labeled a strong seller, breaking into Capcom's ranks of million-plus-selling titles with 1.1 million copies sold through the end of 2009.

Other games experiencing brisk sales included the Japanese DS launches of Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney and Mega Man Battle Network: Operation Shooting Star, and a PSP budget rerelease of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. Resident Evil 5, released in the last quarter of the publisher's previous fiscal year, was also singled out for accolades given its continued strong sales.

Not every title of the publisher's fared so well. Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles on the Wii experienced disappointingly slow sales for the publisher, as did the Wii release of Okami. Launched in the US in April of 2008, the Nintendo console port of the 2006 Clover Studios game was not launched in Japan until October 2009.

While the publisher is ahead of its previous-year pace through three quarters, it expects to give up those gains and then some in the current quarter. Where Capcom's previous fourth quarter saw the release of hits like Street Fighter IV and Resident Evil 5, the publisher in December delayed three of its most anticipated titles--Lost Planet 2, the Western release of Monster Hunter Tri, and Super Street Fighter IV--to its next fiscal year. As a result, the publisher expects full-year revenues to be down more than 29 percent to ¥65 billion ($718.95 million), with net income down 75 percent to ¥2 billion ($22.12 million).

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