Lara Croft can't rescue Eidos

Eidos expects profits this year to sag due to delays, disappointing sales

Shares of Eidos (quote: EID), the UK's biggest gaming software maker, took a tumble in early London trading after the company warned its upcoming earnings will be well below expectations.

The creator of the famous "Tomb Raider" series of adventure games, and their ubiquitous heroine Lara Croft, said it expects its full year earnings, ending March 2000, will be roughly £26m. Brokers had expected pretax profits to be on average £53.6m this year. Last year Eidos earned £37.92m.

Shares were sharply lower in morning trading, with Eidos the worst performer in the FTSE 250 as of 11.30am. Shares fell 1,138, or 29.27 percent, to 2,750p as 3.18 million shares changed hands.

Eidos blamed the lowered expectations on a combination of product delays, disappointing sales and adverse market conditions. While the most recent Tomb Raider title, The Last Revelation, performed well, titles such as F1 World Grand Prix, Urban Chaos, The Nomad Soul and Abomination didn't do as well as expected. Three titles, F1 World Grand Prix, Urban Chaos and Fighting Force 2 were released late.

Observers also said weak conditions in the French and German markets, traditionally two of the company's strongest on the continent, were likely behind some of the shortfall.

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