Square Enix slashes outlook, delays game launch

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese video game maker Square Enix on Thursday slashed its full-year net profit forecast by more than 90 percent to far below the market consensus and said it will postpone the launch of two key game titles.

Square Enix said in a statement it is delaying the rollout of the latest installment in its “Deus Ex” game series until the financial year starting in April. It had initially planned the launch for the January-March quarter.

The company is also postponing the launch of “Final Fantasy 14” for Sony’s PlayStation3 game console for an unknown period. The game was originally slated to hit store shelves in March in Japan.

Square Enix cited slow sales and industry criticism of some of its major game titles launched earlier this year, and said it wanted to concentrate on achieving high quality for its upcoming titles.

“We came to realize that our management priority is to improve the development of our digital-entertainment products,” the company said in the statement.

Square Enix, known for its blockbuster “Dragon Quest” franchise, cut its net profit forecast to 1 billion yen ($11.9 million) for the year ending March 31 from 12 billion yen previously. That is far below the average forecast for an 11.3 billion yen net profit in a poll of 20 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

It chopped its operating profit forecast to 8 billion yen, from 20 billion yen previously and below market expectations for 20.4 billion yen.

The game maker is holding a news conference in Tokyo from 4 p.m. (0700 GMT). President Yoichi Wada will attended.

Square Enix shares closed down 1.4 percent at 1,599 yen ahead of the announcement.

Reporting by Mariko Katsumura; Editing by Chris Gallagher