Konami sees business boost in Germany from PS3 cut

Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:42am EDT

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* Price cut will help Konami sell more games in Germany

* Dampening effect could come from Karstadt insolvency

By Christoph Steitz

COLOGNE, Germany, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Japanese video game maker Konami Corp (9766.T) is expecting its business in Germany to benefit from the price cut for Sony Corp's (6758.T) flagship PlayStation 3 game console, a company executive told Reuters.

"In any case, the price cut for Sony's PlayStation 3 will help us sell more games (in Germany)," Martin Schneider, the company's head of European marketing, said in an interview at the Gamescom trade show on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Sony said it will roll out a slimmer, cheaper version of the PS3 in the first week of September at $299 in the United States, 299 euros ($422.7) in Europe and 29,980 yen

($315.6) in Japan. It added that the price for the current model of the PS3 in Europe and the United States would be lowered as of Wednesday. [nLI152101]

"However, there could be a dampening effect due to the insolvency of Karstadt -- one of our trading partners. At the moment, business there is running, but this could change before the end of the year," Schneider said.

Karstadt department stores are part of Arcandor (AROG.DE), one of Germany's biggest retailers, which filed for insolvency in June after its request for state help failed. [nL9454449]

Konami -- which is most famous for the Metal Gear Solid and Castlevania game series -- competes with Electronic Arts ERTS.O as well as Capcom (9697.T), famous for its Street Fighter games.

The company's Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) directly rivals Electronic Arts' renowned FIFA soccer brand, which has attracted a larger group of followers in Germany.

However, Schneider said that the latest version of PES was holding up well.

"In Germany, the gap (between PES and EA's FIFA) is not getting bigger, but it's also not getting smaller."

In the fiscal year to March 2009, Konami generated net sales of 309.8 billion yen ($3.29 billion), while operating income amounted to 27.4 billion yen.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz)

((christoph.steitz@thomsonreuters.com; +49 69 7565 1269; Reuters Messaging: christoph.steitz.reuters.com@reuters.net))

($1=94.28 Yen) Keywords: KONAMI GERMANY

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