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SCI posts record profits and turnover, reveals new product

UK publisher exceeds performance expectations and reveals its plans for 2005, while also clarifying its position on next-generation systems and online console gaming services.

British publisher SCI Entertainment Group has announced record turnover and profits for the year ended 30th September 2004, exceeding last year's performance and the company's own expectations by some margin.

The company also took the opportunity to reveal new games for 2005, and to clarify its stance on next-generation formats and online console gaming services.

SCI posted pre-tax profits of £4.5 million, and turnover of £31 million, and said that strong performance had enabled a 20 per cent increase in development investment to help strengthen the company's product pipeline for the next two years.

"For the third year in a row SCi has delivered record turnover and record profits. This once again confirms the success of our strategy of investing in high quality licences, brands and developers," CEO Jane Cavanagh commented.

"These results were achieved after increasing significantly our investment in new products. We have an exciting and expanding product pipeline which provides the basis for continued profitable growth. With a growing back catalogue and strong distribution arrangements, the Board believes that the outlook for the year to 30 September 2005, and beyond, is very strong."

Despite an inconsistent critical response, Conflict: Vietnam - the latest in the successful action game series developed by wholly owned Pivotal Games - accounted for much of the success, shipping more than 1.2 million units and reigning at the top of the UK charts for a spell, while the series as a whole has now shipped more than six million units to date.

The past year also saw SCI acquire the rights to develop and publish games based on the Highlander films, and the company also has a Rogue Trooper game in development.

Looking forward, the company revealed a new game in development called Overdose, which is being handled by an unnamed Scandinavian studio, while it confirmed that film tie-in Constantine, World War II-inspired Battlestations: Midway and a fourth game in the Conflict series are due out in FY 2005.

SCI also has North American publishing agreements in place for Constantine, Battlestations: Midway, Conflict 4, its forthcoming Carmageddon revival and further film licence Reservoir Dogs, as well as licensing agreements with handheld platform holder Gizmondo and mobile phone companies.

However the company made no mention of Galleon or the flagship console versions of Richard Burns Rally, neither of which were considered commercial successes, and all is quiet with regard to Roll Call, the game that Argonaut was working on before the developer recently went under.

Meanwhile, the publisher said that it would be assessing the right time to commit to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 2 platforms as part of its longer term product planning, but that it was the company's policy to wait for platforms to establish themselves first in order to maximise potential returns.

By that token, the majority of the company's products will be compatible with both the Xbox Live and PS2 Online multiplayer gaming services from summer 2005, the company added.

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Tom Bramwell avatar
Tom Bramwell: Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.