April 17, 2014 6:01 am JST

GungHo seen logging 40% profit jump for January-March

TOKYO -- GungHo Online Entertainment Inc. likely grew operating profit 40% on the year to 26 billion yen ($252 million) in the three months through March, a record for the quarter.

     Sales at the Japanese game developer apparently climbed about 50% to 47 billion yen, with its mainstay smartphone game "Puzzle & Dragons" bringing in higher fee revenues. Downloads of the game reached 26 million in Japan at the end of March, more than double the 11 million a year earlier. Fees collected for buying "items" needed to proceed quickly in the game increased.

     Compared with the October-December period of 2013, operating profit likely rose more than 10%, thanks to reduced promotional costs for the version of "Puzzle & Dragons" designed specifically for Nintendo's portable game systems.

     GungHo has not disclosed projections for the full year, citing the harsh market environment. But with "Puzzle & Dragons" gaining in popularity in North America, South Korea, Hong Kong and other parts of the world, if the trend from the first quarter continues, the company will likely log large sales and profit growth in 2014.