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Monster Hunter: World drives Capcom's most profitable year ever

Fantasy action game has now sold 7.9 million units, offsetting "worsened conditions" in amusement market

Capcom enjoyed its most profitable year in history, thanks to the ongoing success of Monster Hunter: World.

In the Japanese publisher's latest financial results, accounting for the year ended March 31st 2018, net sales were reported as ¥94.5 million ($867.5 million) - up 8.4 per cent compared to the previous fiscal year.

There were greater increases in terms of income, with operating income up 17.5 per cent to ¥16.04 million ($160.6 million) and ordinary income up 21.2 per cent to ¥15.3 million ($140.5 million).

In fact, Capcom notes that the financial year ended March 2018 was the fifth consecutive year of growth for operating income "with all profitability figures from operating income down setting record highs."

The publisher notes that its core digital contents business, which handles video games, has been the key driver of this growth - especially this year's smash hit Monster Hunter: World.

The game's record-breaking success has already been documented, but an ongoing internal tracker of Capcom's million-selling games notes that shipments and digital sales for the game now exceed 7.9 million units - comfortably ahead of the 7.3 million achieved by Resident Evil 5, the publisher's previous biggest seller.

The Resident Evil series is still Capcom's biggest selling franchise, with 83 million unit sales according to another internal tracker. But Monster Hunter is still the second best-selling series with 48 million sales, ahead of Street Fighter's 40 million.

Capcom notes that it has also enjoyed strong sales on the Nintendo Switch, primarily thanks to Monster Hunter XX and Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers.

Overall, net sales from the digital contents business came in at ¥74.2 ($681.1 million) - more than three quarters of the company's total net sales, and up 26.3 per cent year-on-year from ¥58.7 million ($538.8 million). Opering income for the division was up a whopping 72.2 per cent to ¥19.1 million ($175.3 million).

The strength of Capcom's video game business has helped to offset issues in its amusement equipments business, which saw net sales drop by 53.7 per cent to ¥7.8 million ($71.6 million). Capcom attributes this to "recent changes in model-testing methods" which have "worsened market conditions, presenting Capcom with a challenging situation."

Looking ahead, Capcom plans to continue growing its digital contents business by pushing for more download sales and increasing the number of major releases in the medium-term. The publisher also plans to make esports a "priority area of investment", capitalising on the popularity of brands such as Street Fighter.

The publisher is forecasting increased sales and profits for the next fiscal year, hoping to reach March 2019 with net sales of ¥96 million ($881.2 million) and operating income of ¥17 million ($156 million).

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