British publisher Eidos, which is currently in talks with a number of parties over takeover bids, has announced its preliminary results for the full year to June 30th, revealing that the firm slipped into loss last year on declining turnover.
For the full year, Eidos made a pre-tax loss of UKP 2 million, compared with a profit of UKP 17.4 million in the previous year, while turnover declined by almost 12 per cent, falling from UKP 151.5 million to UKP 133.9 million.
This decline was largely due to the failure of a number of games to live up to the expectations of the company's management - with Hitman Contracts, Commandos 3, Legacy of Kain: Defiance and Whiplash all selling less than anticipated.
Particularly damaging was the performance of Hitman: Contracts, which failed to pick up 700,000 units of re-orders that Eidos had projected - a failing which the publisher blames on "unexpected softness" in the US market that drove May's NPD figures down by 17 per cent year on year.
The company also confirmed that talks are ongoing about a possible takeover of the firm. " Discussions, which relate to a possible sale of the company, are progressing well, although there can be no certainty at this stage as to whether or not they will lead to an offer being made for the company," Eidos chairman John van Kuffeler said in a statement.
At present, no official announcement of who the interested parties are has been made - but it's believed that Ubisoft and THQ are both in the running, while Electronic Arts' name has also been attached to the negotiations since it was known to be interested in buying Hitman developer Io Interactive, which Eidos acquired last year.
Looking forward, Eidos is positive about the company's future portfolio despite the poor results for FY2004. "While the results for the year to June 2004 are disappointing, the company's underlying business and product portfolio remain strong," according to van Kuffeler.
"Management continues to focus on driving the business forward and a significant release schedule, comprising a mix of sequel and new franchise titles, is planned for the year ahead."
Among the key forthcoming titles from the company are Championship Manager 5, which will launch in the first half of FY2005, and updates to both the Hitman and Tomb Raider franchises, which will launch in the second half - with the new Tomb Raider game apparently set to be unveiled in the coming weeks.
The publisher also confirmed that Io Interactive is working on next-generation development for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 2 platforms at present, while Core Design - stripped of the Tomb Raider franchise after Angel of Darkness, with the next game being worked on at Crystal Dynamics in the USA instead - is apparently working on concepts and pre-production for the PlayStation Portable.