Konami sales soar, no MGS4 until '08?

Winning Eleven publisher reports strong financials, Solid Snake's next-gen debut now slated for company's current fiscal year, which ends next March.

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Japanese developer and publisher Konami has reported record sales for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007--280 billion yen (approximately $2.3 billion) up from 262 billion ($2.15 billion) last year. Operating income also jumped to 28 billion yen ($230 million), a huge increase over the previous year's 2 billion yen ($16 million). The company puts last year's results down to an "accelerated depreciation related to the health and fitness segment."

Konami's digital entertainment division, which includes games, continued to be the main source of profit for the company, with sales down very slightly on last year at 165 billion yen in total ($1.4 billion). Titles which did well over the past 12 months included the Winning Eleven football game series, selling a total of more than 8 million units--the highest number ever in a single year for the franchise. Other titles which the company praised included the Dance Dance Revolution series, which shifted over a million units. New anime game tie-ins Death Note: Kira Game and Kirarin Revolution, along with Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, were also cited as strong performers.

For its current financial year, Konami named only one title that it is expecting to drive sales--Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. The announcement means that the game could arrive as late as March 31, 2008, although the last release date issued by Konami was still a general "2007."

In its gaming and system division, Konami reported strong sales in North America of the new K2V video slot machines, which were boosted by expanded slot legalization in Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. Consolidated net revenues for the division totaled 16.7 billion yen ($137 million) up 58 percent year-on-year. The company intends to pursue strategic alliances with other companies in the overseas markets in the coming 12 months.

Japan revised its Nursing Care Insurance Law in April 2006 and passed the Healthcare Reform Act in June. Konami believes this resurgence of health consciousness was responsible for the rise in the company's health and fitness division profits by 9 percent to 88 billion yen ($720 million). During the last fiscal year, Konami opened 10 new fitness clubs, making a total of 312 run or outsourced by the company across Japan. The company states that it will continue with an "accelerated opening" of Konami Sports Clubs, and that it is expecting to expand upon the business in a number of ways--including marketing health supplements.

Konami is predicting net revenue of 295 billion yen ($2.4 billion), operating income of 33 billion yen ($271 million), and net income of 18.3 billion yen ($150 million) for the coming financial year.

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