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Taito Sees Japanese Arcade Slowing, Profits Slump

Taito Sees Japanese Arcade Slowing, Profits Slump

July 7, 2005 | By David Jenkins

Officials from Japanese-headquartered game publisher and arcade operator Taito have announced details of the company's financial results for the year ended March 31st. The results, posted on the company's official investor relations page, show a marked decrease in arcade revenue and lower profits than the previous year.

Net sales for the year weas up 1.9 percent to 84.6 billion ($755.5m), but net profit was down a significant 51 percent to 1.7 billion ($15.2m). The company actually reported an increase in sales of coin-operated arcade machines, but president Yasuo Nishigaki reported that the opening of fourteen new start-up arcades (and the closing of twenty-two unprofitable ones) ate into revenues.

However, Nishigaki has insisted the company is still committed to the arcade business, and will be increasing research and development in this area, as well as hiring thirty new high-ranking employees for the arcade division.

Despite admitting disappointing Japanese sales for Puzzle Bobble Pocket (aka Bust-A-Move) on the PSP in Japan and the Activision-licensed Spider-Man 2 on the Nintendo DS in Japan, the company noted that it remains committed to the new portable consoles, while also confirming that it would be developing for unspecified next-generation formats.

Taito's immediate prospects include Battle Gear 4, the latest in the popular arcade racing game series, and the launch of the Valve-licensed Half-Life 2 in Japanese arcades. For home systems, the company committed to greater game licensing, specifically in North America, and to enhancing the direct sales system in Europe.

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