Namco Bandai posts healthy holiday quarter

Publisher's profits up 15 percent for final three months of 2008, but full fiscal-year totals are slipping.

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A company's health is oftentimes a matter of perspective, as evidenced today by Namco Bandai Games' third-quarter financial report. During that quarter--the three months ended December 31, 2008--the publisher's sales and profits were both up, showing growth despite a down economy. However, compare the company's first three quarters with the same nine-month period the year before, and sales and profits are down across the board.

High-profile guest characters like Darth Vader, Yoda, and the evil Gorton's fisherman helped sell Soulcalibur IV.
High-profile guest characters like Darth Vader, Yoda, and the evil Gorton's fisherman helped sell Soulcalibur IV.

For the holiday quarter, Namco Bandai reported sales of ¥124.85 billion ($1.38 billion), up a little over 2 percent from the same quarter the previous year. The publisher's net income was even better, with ¥7.74 billion ($85.41 million) representing a 15 percent year-over-year jump. Key releases during the quarter included the Japanese launches of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 (multiplatform) and Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam Vs. Gundam for PSP.

As for Namco Bandai's fiscal year through December, sales dipped 6 percent year-over-year to ¥315.65 billion ($3.48 billion). The company's net profits for that span also declined, with the ¥9.02 billion ($99.55 million) down some 38 percent from the previous fiscal year's ¥14.71 billion ($162.37 million) nine-month take.

So far this fiscal year, the most successful Namco Bandai release has been Soulcalibur IV. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 fighting game has chalked up worldwide sales of 2.26 million. The next best-selling Namco Bandai game over that stretch is Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit, which sold 730,000 copies throughout Europe and Asia. (Burst Limit was published in North America by Atari.) The remainder of the publisher's top five best-seller list was filled out by We Ski and Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 (590,000 copies sold each) and Active Life Outdoor Challenge (550,000 sold).

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