Tomb Raider, Blood Money go multiplatinum

Strong sales of new Hitman, latest Lara Croft adventure beat expectations; SCi now predicts $45.4 million annual profit.

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Hitman: Blood Money
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When SCi Entertainment Plc won a bidding war to buy Eidos Interactive in spring 2005, many wondered if it might be a Pyrrhic victory. Specifically, it was unclear whether the once-mighty publisher's intellectual properties, which were toplined by the Hitman and Tomb Raider series, would be worth the 76.1 million pounds ($144.6 million) SCi paid for it. Both franchises were considered past their prime, with 2004's Hitman: Contracts underperforming and 2003's Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness straight-out flopping with gamers and critics.

Over a year later, SCi's gamble appears to have paid off. Today, the British publisher reported that sales of the newest entries into Eidos' two flagship franchises have both beaten its own projections.

According to SCi, Tomb Raider: Legend sold--not shipped--over 2.9 million units internationally from its launch on April 11 until June 30. The figure includes all versions of the decently reviewed game, which is now available on the PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 2. The statement did not mention the PSP version of the game, which hit stores on June 21 in the US. Legend is also set to ship for the DS, GameCube, and the Game Boy Advance this fall.

SCi also was more than happy to announce that Hitman: Blood Money had exceeded its expectations as well. Since it shipped on May 30, the game has sold 1.5 million units worldwide on the PC, PS2, Xbox, and the Xbox 360. Blood Money received the highest GameSpot score of any Hitman game since 2002's Silent Assassin.

Combined with brisk sales of the soccer sim Championship Manager 2006/07, the dual success of Blood Money and Legend has made SCi bullish about its future. The company today predicted it would meet "recently upgraded market expectations" of a 25 million pound ($45.4 million) pretax profit for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2006. The company also reported it ended said fiscal year with cash reserves of more than 30 million pounds ($54.6 million)--nearly double the 15.1 million pounds predicted by "market expectations."

According to SCi's Web site, the company's preliminary annual report will be made public in September, with the final report due in October.

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