Inside Pulse 12

Namco Bandai Six Month Figures Improve, Company Still Loses Money

The good news for Namco Bandai is that they lost less money for the first six months of their fiscal year than they did at this point last year, when they lost an astounding ¥6b ($74m). The bad news: they still lost money this time around, to the tune of ¥1.93b ($24m). The losses were on relatively strong sales of ¥174b ($2.13b), 41% of which came from its content division, which includes games. The strongest selling games in the US were Tekken 6 (1.07m units), followed by Despicable Me (390k). Overall, the company performed strongest on the Nintendo DS, which saw 20 new titles and sales of 2.035m units, followed by the PSP (4, 1.825m) and PS3 (11, 1.201m).

Despite the fact that Namco largely stemmed their losses and are looking at somewhat increased sales forecasts for FY11, Andriasang points out that their forecasts should be taken with a grain of salt:

Namco Bandai wanted to sell the following:

Dead to Rights Retribution: 700,000 units
Clash of the Titans: 700,000 units
Enslaved Odyssey to the West: 1,000,000 units
Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom: 1,000,000 units
Splatterhouse: 1,000,000 units
Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 2: 700,000 units
Ben 10 Ultimate Alien Cosmic Destruction: 700,000 units

Namco Bandai sold, or expects to sell, the following:

Dead to Rights Retribution: 350,000 units
Clash of the Titans: 250,000 units
Enslaved Odyssey to the West: 800,000 units
Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom: 300,000 units
Splatterhouse: 350,000 units
Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 2: 1,000,000 units
Ben 10 Ultimate Alien Cosmic Destruction: 800,000 units

With exception to Ben 10 and Naruto, it looks like all games either underperformed or are expected to underperform.

Some of those titles were spectacular failures, such as Splatterhouse, Dead to Rights: Retribution and Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom. As noted, the only two games that exceeded were games for franchises that have followings among children in the West (Naruto, Ben 10).

The numbers for those two games, combined with the fact that despite them, Japan was still the biggest area of sale for the company, I’m going to reiterate my prediction that Namco Bandai starts to cut the West out of all but the most notable, mainstream franchises. This could be bad for fans of the Tales franchise, and for anyone looking for Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier EXCEED.

Namco Bandai 6mo. Earnings Report ’10

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  • Samuraiter

    The mergers seem to be doing next to nothing for all of these companies. Namco Bandai? Struggling. Koei Tecmo? Treading water. Square Enix? Sucking like the proverbial Electrolux. How long until at least one of them is sucking dirt?

  • Namco Bandai’s VIDEO GAME division is struggling. They still do pretty well in anime and their other divisions like amusements. Tecmo Koei is in trouble, I feel, but the merger was actually the best case scenario, because in a best case scenario, the companies and their portfolios compliment each other. That doesn’t mean it’s a GOOD scenario, but it’s the best case.

    As for Squeenix, their games might suck, but financially they’re doing OK specifically because they’ve 1) diversified in the West (Eidos), and 2) become selective with the Japanese IP (two MMOs that effectively print money, at least once they stop sucking with XIV, they shut off the tap of B-list Japanese games like Saga, started to enforce their IP via the Chrono Trigger fan projects, throwing “Final Fantasy” onto everything, etc.). In other words, by being fundamentally “evil”, they’ve protected themselves and made themselves more profitable, which is sad because historically, fans of Japanese games are the most likely to turn on a company for being abandoned like they have been (either that, or most likely to pirate the shit out of games). Honestly, I wrote a UTS – which is so bad in retrospect I won’t even link it – that wanted Squeenix to buy out Tecmo when Tecmo was looking at an acquisition. I’m starting to wonder if I’m right, just a year and a half later.

  • Josh T.

    Honestly, at this point, I could give a rat’s ass about Bandai Namco’s game division. In at least the past year, they haven’t released basically anything worthwhile in the West and are increasingly showing that they simply don’t care about the market over here. Fans clamor and say that they’ll buy Namco’s stuff and then they proceed to shaft us by complaining that what they did bring over didn’t sell well enough (Maybe it would if you’d take some time to advertise properly!) or by simply not releasing it over here. So, if Bandai Namco doesn’t want to be friendly to the West, I’d say it’s fine by me. They’ve long since turned me off of their stuff with lack of releases (especially quality ones).

    And, as for the SRT series, even though Atlus has the localization rights still (as far as anyone is aware, anyway), I doubt the West will ever seen another game in the series. Frontier EXCEED has been out for close to a year now and Lord of the Elementals has been out for half a year in Japan. Neither of which have even been announced by Atlus (who hasn’t really announced much of anything lately). I’m sure it’s not helped by the fact that neither Original Generation nor its sequel sold well (yet again likely related to the fact that there was no advertising whatsoever), so it’s not looking pleasant for mecha fans on that front any time in the near future.

  • Josh, if you looked at their sales figures before they started that Group Restart Plan, you would understand why they cut the west out of the loop. The stuff that we – on a site of “core” gamers – want just weren’t selling. Tales sells well in its’ niche, and that niche can be relied upon to be reliable customers, but remember that those games usually have large (I would argue superfluous) budgets for voice actors, graphics and the like. Once you add in localization costs, things get messy.

    So if you’re an executive at this company, and you see sales figures saying that game A, B and C are losing money, whereas licensed, stupid shit like Ben 10 sells well, what would you do? It would be irresponsible, especially for a publicly traded company, to say “we’re going to go with the stuff that isn’t selling because we want to please a vocal minority”. It sucks, and it depresses me to say it, but it’s the reality of the situation.

  • Josh T.

    Yeah, I get the why of the situation, especially since it’s becoming a problem for other devs as well, not just NB. It’s just frustrating as you say to have that lack of titles here. But, aside from speaking with our wallets and supporting what they do bring over here (provided that it’s not lacking quality, which could be a problem), there isn’t too much we can do. (Thankfully, Namco hasn’t really put out any high caliber titles since… Tekken 6, I guess. So, it’s not as if we’re missing too much.)