British publisher SCi has announced record turnover and profits for a second successive year, largely due to the continued success of the Conflict Desert Storm franchise, which has now sold over 3.2 million units globally.
For the year ended 30 September, SCi recorded turnover of Â£28.5 million, an increase of 61 per cent over last year's figure (itself a record for the company at the time), and pre-tax profit of Â£3.5 million - up from Â£2.2 million last year, and 40 per cent ahead of original expectations.
Much of this success is down to the continued strong performance of the Conflict Desert Storm franchise, which is developed by the Bath-based Pivotal Games studio which SCi acquired earlier this year following the collapse of the Kaboom Studios development group, of which Pivotal had been part.
The latest title in the series, Conflict Desert Storm 2, has sold 1.2 million units since release and reached number one in the UK and a number of other European countries, as well as performing solidly in the United States, where it was released by Take Two Interactive. The game has been selling faster than the first title in the series, which recently topped 2 million units worldwide.
Another Pivotal Games title, The Great Escape, was SCi's other pillar title for the year, selling some 0.5 million units since its launch in early autumn, while the licensed Futurama game performed to expectations and contributed positively to the company's results, although it wasn't the major hit that some commentators had expected.
For next year, the company plans a further extension to the Conflict franchise, in the form of Conflict Vietnam, due to be released in the second half of the year. Also set for H2 2004 is Tomb Raider creator Toby Gard's long delayed Galleon, which SCi has now acquired publishing rights for - the game was originally set to be published by Interplay.
"Today's record turnover of Â£28.5m and profit before tax of Â£3.5m is further evidence of the success of our strategy of investing in high quality licenses, brands and developers," commented SCi chief executive Jane Cavanagh. "The success of Conflict: Desert Storm 2 confirms the Conflict series as a major brand. We have a strong release schedule in place for the 2004 and 2005 financial years and are pleased with the continuing growth in the global games market which continues to develop into a mass-market industry."