Just six months ago Eidos seemed to be on its last legs, with their share price plummeting as they issued a series of profit warnings, and rumours emerging that Infogrames and other competitors were trying to buy them out. And while sales in the US have remained disappointing, here in their native Britain the company is thriving. "Deus Ex" shot to the top of the charts when it was finally released on this side of the pond, and the latest release in the "Championship Manager" franchise sold rather a lot of copies as well, needless to say. In fact, when Eidos announce their financial results for the last three months of 2000 on February 28th they will reveal that they leapt into second place in the UK computer games industry, with 12% of the games sold in the UK during that period published by Eidos.
Profits are well ahead of expectations, largely thanks to a mixture of cost savings and the incredible performance of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". Yes, the country's favourite game show became the country's favourite game last year and, according to a report in trade magazine CTW, Chart Track have confirmed that it is officially the first game in British history to sell one million copies in the UK. It achieved this incredible landmark in just 121 days, with the game topping the charts across the PC, PlayStation and Dreamcast when it was first released. And with a GameBoy version apparently in the works now, those sales could go even higher. I weep for the future.
With the likes of "Startopia" and "Commandos 2" due for release over the next few months, it looks like 2001 could be another good year for Eidos in the UK, and it is only disappointing sales in America that seem to be holding back the publisher now. There's even rumours that a sequel or special sports-focused edition of Millionaire might be in the works at Hothouse, which could provide another boost for the company this Christmas. For a publisher that looked like it was about to be swallowed up by Bruno and the boys just a few months ago, it's something of a dramatic recovery.