Sales are down across the board, but Konami’s Pachinko machine and videogame businesses have been hit the hardest.
Critically, it hasn’t been a good year for Konami. The publisher has struggled to remain relevant in a world where several of its big franchises no longer possess the allure they once enjoyed. Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 did alright, as did Platinum Games’ excellent Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, despite having a title that makes editors wince. But neither game made a big enough dent in the company’s shortfall – overall sales are down 15% (to around $2.27 billion) and profits have dropped by 42.8% to ¥13.2 billion ($130 million). Metal Gear Rising, Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 and Professional Baseball Spirits 2013 were all named solid contributors to the company’s fourth quarter numbers.
While most of the blame falls to Konami’s ailing pachinko and core gaming businesses, the publisher’s mobile and social interests seem to have plateaued. In the last quarter, one million people signed up for Konami’s social games service, a far sight from the eight million that joined in the quarter before it. Normally, Konami likes to crow about its social gaming numbers during investor meets, usually in very specific terms. This quarter, the company has described its social revenues as “stable.” Stable, in this context, can probably safely be taken to mean, “not awesome.”
How is Konami looking to fight this slump? With optimism, of course. The publisher predicts revenues will rise by nearly 3 percent during the next fiscal year, while net profits are expected to rise by 15%. The possible arrival of two games with “Metal Gear Solid” on the cover might just help there.