Japanese publisher Square Enix has announced exceptionally strong results for the six months ended September 30th, with profits more than doubling thanks largely to the strong performance of the firm's online game division.
Sales during the period came to 24.3 billion Yen (180 million Euro), a rise of 23.6 per cent over last year's figure, while operating profit rose by a massive 155.3 per cent to 5.9 billion Yen (43.8 million Euro).
Much of that profit - which contributed to a final net profit figure of 3.1 billion Yen (23 million Euro), up 162.8 per cent - came directly from the firm's online games division, which saw stunning year-on-year growth.
Revenues in the online game division grew by some 101 per cent overall, reaching 7.7 billion Yen (57 million Euro) while operating profit rose by 230 per cent to 3.25 billion Yen (24 million Euro) - with the company reporting a huge net margin of over 42 per cent for the division.
The online division's biggest product, of course, is Final Fantasy XI, with the massively multiplayer title having some 550,000 subscribers worldwide - a figure expected to grow thanks to the launch of the title in Europe in mid-September.
The company also has a smaller MMORPG title which it operates in Asia alone, called Cross Gate, while two further online games are planned for launch in 2005 - an MMORPG version of popular console mech tactics title Front Mission, and an original MMORPG for the PC called Fantasy Earth.
Other positive numbers came from the company's mobile division, which saw a major rise in sales - up some 55 per cent - while operating profits grew 7 per cent, with further growth expected in this division thanks to international expansion.
In terms of boxed game sales, the company saw a decline in revenue of 13.4 per cent because of a relatively weak line-up of products, although the fact that several key titles in the period were re-releases of older games (such as Dragon Quest V and Final Fantasy I & II Advance: Dawn of Souls) helped to keep profits high, with a rise of some seven per cent.
The current six month period will see the launch of Dragon Quest VIII and, potentially, of Final Fantasy XII, as well as the arrival of Kingdom Hearts II and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, all of which are expected to do huge business for the firm's boxed games division.