Namco Bandai losses top $300 million

Tekken 6 sells more than 2 million on 360, PS3, PSP, but publisher's overall revenues drop 11% as it begins major restructuring.

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The coming weeks will see a parade of publishers reporting results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010, and that means finding out exactly how well companies handled their first full year in the wake of the global economic downturn. In the case of Namco Bandai, which released its figures today, there was room for improvement.

"The King of Iron Fist" is, appropriately enough, Namco Bandai sales royalty.

For the fiscal year ended in March, Namco Bandai's revenues totaled ¥378.55 billion ($4.12 billion) down 11 percent year-over-year. Worse, the company reported a net loss of ¥29.08 billion ($316.14 million) for the year, compared to a ¥11.83 billion ($128.8 million) profit for the previous fiscal year.

The gaming content segment, which produces console, handheld, and arcade games for the publisher, posted the worst results of any of Namco Bandai's individual business segments. Where the company's toys and arcade chain operations actually posted operating profits for the year, the gaming content segment actually racked up an operating loss of ¥6.85 billion ($74.59 million).

As for how it managed to post such big net losses, the company cited impairment of goodwill (reassessing the value of intangible assets) and deferred tax assets as contributing to the net losses. Additionally, the company announced a "Namco Bandai restart plan" in February, a major restructuring that aims to create a more streamlined integration of its various moving parts. The focus of the reorganization is to enable each arm of Namco Bandai to be able to respond quicker and with more flexibility to market demands.

While those nonrecurring expenses weighed heavily on the publisher's recently finished fiscal year, Namco Bandai expects its current campaign to be a return to form. It projects company-wide revenues to rise nearly 6 percent for the current year to ¥400 billion ($4.34 billion), with the company getting back in the black with a net profit of ¥4.5 billion ($48.83 million). Namco Bandai is especially optimistic with its forecast for the gaming content division, expecting the business to post revenues up 36 percent, with operating profit of ¥3.5 billion ($37.98 million).

The publisher's best seller for the year was the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PSP release of Tekken 6. Namco Bandai reported 1.84 million copies sold of the console versions, with the handheld fighter contributing another 470,000 sales. Curiously, the console total does not include North American sales, while the PSP total is specified to be worldwide. In October, the publisher boasted 2.5 million copies of the game had shipped worldwide. Namco Bandai's other top five best-selling titles were rounded out by Ben 10 Alien Force and its sequel, Dragon Ball Raging Blast, and God Eater, in that order.

Namco Bandai's best platform for the year was the PSP, with 22 new games helping generate sales of 5.48 million copies worldwide. The publisher sold 5.21 million games on the Wii with a dozen new titles for the year, while a slate of 35 new DS games bumped Namco Bandai's sales for the system to 4.22 million copies. That pecking order is likely to change, as the publisher forecasts that it will sell more games for the PS3 than any other system in its current fiscal year, followed in order by the DS, Wii, PSP, and Xbox 360.

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