MILLIONAIRE GAMES LOSE THEIR APPEAL
Copyright 2001 www.guardian.com

[ December 12th 2001 ]

Eidos, the computer games maker, has confirmed the popularity of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? is on the wane as it revealed sales of its version of the hit show were disappointing. The news comes a day after Avesco, which co-owns the worldwide rights to the quiz format, warned the show had lost its lustre. Eidos said its PlayStation and PC versions of the Chris Tarrant quiz failed to take off, contributing to a major slump in sales.

Avesco said the show's problems stemmed from the US market, where audience sensitivities changed following the September 11 attacks. But the news from Eidos indicates Millionaire is also suffering in the UK market. In its interim results statement, Eidos said new editions of its Millionaire games had failed to match last year's bumper sales.

"The various new versions of Millionaire failed to achieve the levels originally anticipated," Eidos said. The company added total revenues for the first half of the year had slumped 42% to 31m. "We released fewer new titles in the period, compared with the previous year. Some of these performed below expectations, leading to a reduction in turnover compared with the same period last year," said Mike McGarvey, the chief executive of London based Eidos Interactive.

But Eidos reported a reduced operating loss of 19.6m - against 20.5m in the same period last year - as it kept a tight lid on costs. The company has been hit by a series of profit warnings and executive resignations over the past 18 months, but it is expected to receive a massive revenue boost over Christmas.

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