Copyright 2003

[ September 5th 2003 ]

Eidos, the company behind the Tomb Raider computer games series, hopes to sustain its profitable run despite the absence of cyberbabe Lara Croft from its repertoire next year. The company said yesterday it had charged back into the black this year, brushing off concerns that delays in shipping copies of the latest Tomb Raider instalment would hurt profits.

Eidos reported a 17.4m pre-tax profit in the 12 months to the end of June, against a 15.3m loss in the previous financial year. A surge in demand in America pushed turnover up 30% to 151.5m, with 12.5m units shipped during the year compared with 11.4m in the previous year.

Mike McGarvey, chief executive of Eidos, expects the company to outperform industry growth forecasts of 10%-15% next year. He dismissed the perception that Eidos profits are heavily reliant on the Tomb Raider franchise. "We are not reliant on Tomb Raider to be profitable and drive forward," he said. "We think we are in a strong position to demonstrate to the market that this isn't just a Tomb Raider company." He attributed the profit turnaround to the strength of the company's four key games - Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, Championship Manager 4, Timesplitters 2 and Hitman 2.

Severe delays over the release of the Lara Croft sequel in Europe forced the company to admit 2003 sales could fall short by 1m units. About 500,000 copies ended up falling outside of the company's financial year. The distribution troubles sparked a management shake-up at Eidos and an overhaul of its software developers.

Mr McGarvey dismissed concerns of a dwindling appetite for the Tomb Raider brand and expects the latest game to achieve sales of up to 3m. The next instalment is due for release in 2005. Among the games expected to increase earnings in 2004 are Commandos 3: Destination Berlin and Legacy of Kain: Defiance.

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