Keywords Studios sees profits soar amid active gaming market


eywords Studios gave an upbeat update to investors on Wednesday following a day of pain for the gaming sector.

The AIM-listed company, which has worked on titles including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Anthem and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, said it expects to report revenues up 23% to around €238 million (£203 million) for the six months to July.

Underlying pre-tax profit is expected to be around €40 million (£34 million) for the period – up over 80% on last year.

The group, which has been searching for a new CEO since June, said it is seeing “robust” demand despite lockdowns lifting in many regions. It is focusing on creating new content to keep new pandemic-era gamers engaged going forward.

Senior managers Jon Hauck and Sonia Sedler are currently acting as joint interim CEOs.

READ MOREFewer car sales and new drivers cut Direct Line claimsDomino’s raises share buyback program after seeing profits soarHeineken sees profits rise but warns over soaring commodity costs


A 10-step guide to enjoying London’s Carnaby district this summer

Hauck said: “Looking forward, we expect strong demand to continue across most service lines underpinning our confidence of delivering a performance that is at least in line with market expectations for the year.”

Hargreaves Lansdown’s Sophie Lund-Yates said the new CEO decision is “a quandary that shareholders will be hoping is solved soon”, adding: “Keywords is enjoying the spoils of a very active gaming market.”

The update came the day after shares in Chinese game-making and social media giant Tencent fell by as much as 11%, wiping almost $60 billion from its market cap, after a Chinese state media outlet condemned video games as “spiritual opium”. Shares in European and US gaming firms also took a hit on Tuesday.

Tencent gets around 30% of its total revenues from gaming. It has already responded by saying it will curb minors’ access to gaming time.

The criticism of online gaming comes after a Beijing crackdown on sectors from fintech to property.

The “spiritual opium” phrase was later removed from the article and Tencent shares recovered to around 6% down on Tuesday.

Shares in Keywords were down 2%, or 60p, to 2870p, on Wednesday morning.