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Eidos issues profit warning

Vietnam blockbuster held back to September

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UK games publishing giant Eidos this morning scaled back its 2004 earnings forecast as it admitted that it had put back the release of its upcoming Vietnam War game, Shellshock: 'Nam 67, to September.

The news saw Eidos' shares fall 9.1 per cent to £1.03 from yesterday's closing price of £1.1325.

Eidos said it now expects to break even during the current financial year, which ends on 30 June, or to make a "small" loss.

Rescheduling Shellshock means that the game's revenue will now come in during Eidos' next financial year, impacting the current year's profitability.

The company found itself in similar circumstances last June, when it had to "significantly reduce" its 2003 expectations after it was forced to delay the release of Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. However, by the end of July, it was able to announce that its dire prognostications had not come to pass, despite the problems it had experienced getting the Lara Croft game out of the door.

This time round the announcement comes after Eidos had already warned that "unexpected softness" in the games market, particularly in the US, would hit sales of its recently released Hitman: Contracts title. The company expects summer demand to be weak, which is why it's holding Shellshock back despite the readiness of the PC version and the near-completion of both the PlayStation 2 and Xbox incarnations. ®

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