Giant media conglomerate Index Holdings announced that they have posted a $27 million dollar loss for the 2012 fiscal year. Index Holdings is the owner of a number of smaller Japanese companies, including Atlus, the creators of the Shin Megami Tensei series and Etrian Odyssey.
While Index hasn’t specified the reasons for their losses, I really doubt that the company’s problems originated with Atlus: while other Japanese developers have struggled to keep up with rising development costs and increased competition from Western developers, Atlus has managed to thrive by avoiding expensive “triple A” projects and focusing on niche titles and handheld games. Atlus previously announced that sales for their biggest release last year, Persona 4 Arena, were “favorable.”
Index is also the owner of a number of Japanese TV and film companies, including animation studio Madhouse, best known for their work on classic anime series’ like Record of Lodoss War, Trigun, Paradise Kiss, and Summer Wars. Since it seems like none of Atlus’ games in the last year have completely bombed, I think it’s safe to assume that the losses came from Index’s other divisions.
Of course, Index’s problems could still effect Atlus: in response to the loss posted today, Index announced that they plan to perform a number of cost cutting measures across their entire company, measures which may include job cuts. It’s unknown if these cuts will effect the development of future Atlus titles, such as Persona 5, which is currently in pre-production.
In the meantime, Atlus’ operations remain unaffected: the latest release in the Shin Megami Tensei series, the 3DS port of Soul Hackers, will still hit store shelves in North America today. The next game in the “main” SMT series, Shin Megami Tensei IV, is still scheduled to come out sometime this summer, also for the 3DS.