Capcom has revised its forecast for revenues for fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, and the results are not great. The publisher has slashed its profit projections in half, expecting roughly $29.5 million, and is canceling a number of projects—though it’s not clear what projects are getting axed at the moment. In all, Capcom is going to begin a restructuring of its company, which it expects will cost a “special loss” of about $73 million.
The company has decided to pull the plug on projects being developed in third party studios “due to delays in responding to the digital contents and the resulting inability to address market needs.” In short, having games developed in other studios has resulted in a drop-off in quality, and lowered sales as a result. One of the titles that’s helped the company in terms of big sales and reliable revenue is Resident Evil 6, which was developed internally. According to Capcom’s explanation of the revised forecasts, RE6 was initially forecast to move 7 million units. In December, that number was reduced to 5 million, and this latest report has revised that forecast only slightly to 4.9 million.
Ninja Theory-developed DmC: Devil May Cry, by contrast, was originally projected at moving 2 million units, had its forecast revised to 1.2 million in December, and revised in this report to 1.15 million. While that’s not too far off the original mark, the fact that it couldn’t hit that 2 million mark in the first place perhaps speaks to Capcom’s assertions that games made by external studios suffer in quality. While DmC was really well-received by critics, its sales clearly weren’t where the company would’ve liked.
Going a bit further, last year’s Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City—developed by Slant Six—was pretty universally panned by critics, though it still managed to move about 2 million units. Could the fact that ORC and DmC managed to hover in the 2 million range while RE6 moved 5 million be Capcom’s justification for cutting externally developed games?
Another question: where will this leave Remember Me, one of the more anticipated games from Capcom, being developed externally by Dontnod Entertainment? It seems unlikely that the game will get canceled as a result of this restructuring because of how close it is to release. But will this affect the future of the franchise? Of course, this kind of question is pointless, since the game hasn’t even come out yet. Maybe it’ll be a smash hit, and reinvigorate Capcom’s trust of external studios.
At this point, it’s not clear what the longterm effects of the restructuring will be. Though, if it’s anything like Square Enix’s restructuring from earlier this year, expect news of layoffs to hit sooner or later.