Konami just had its best-ever year, thanks to games you've never heard of

The Konami code.
(Image credit: Konami)

Konami has announced that its last financial year (April 2021—March 2022) was the most profitable in the company's history by a huge distance. The Japanese publisher's operating profit was ¥74.4 billion, which translates to roughly $577 million USD, and its net profit was ¥54.8 billion or about $425 million.

Despite the perception among some that Konami doesn't make games anymore and is basically a pachinko business, the financial results show that the opposite is the case. What is true, however, is that many of Konami's biggest successes either don't come to the West, or largely go under the radar outside of their captive audiences.

A big recent success, for example, is Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel, released on Steam in January. This F2P game has since amassed over 30 million players and will doubtless be kept going for many years to come. But Konami's also had a big hit with Momtaro Dentetsu, which is only available on Switch in Japan, and sold over 3.5 million (this is a long-running series, originally a HudsonSoft joint, that's basically a cheery board game about train stations).

(Image credit: Konami)

Within the financials Konami breaks down its business into Digital Entertainment (home videogames), Amusement (here are the pachinko machines, as well as arcade games like Beatmania), Sports (it runs leisure centres in Japan), and rather confusingly Gaming & Systems (casino software). Of Konami's ¥299.5 billion in revenue over this financial year, ¥215 billion of that is from Digital Entertainment, and ¥19.5 billion from Amusement. There's no clearer language than money, and that means 72% of Konami's revenue is coming from videogames.

Just to ram home the point, Konami released 18 videogames over this financial year, admittedly some of them doubling-up across mobile and PC / console. The home titles: Super Bomberman R Online; eBaseball Pro Yakyuu Spirits 2022: Grand Slam; Yu-Gi-Oh! Rush Duel: Dawn of the Battle Royale!!; Beat Arena Konasute; Castlevania Advance Collection; eFootball 2022; Tokimeki Memorial: Girl's Side 4th Heart; Dance Dance Revolution Grand-Prix Konasute; Power Pro-Kun Pocket R; Sound Voltex Exceed Gear Konasute; Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel; GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon.

Mobile games: jubeat; Contra Returns; Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls (iOS); eFootball 2022; Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel; Edens Zero Pocket Galaxy.

All of which is to say: Konami's had a bit of a monstering in the West since the Kojima split, but a lot of the things said about it are just straight-up untrue. It does, admittedly, seem to be less interested in bringing certain of its titles to Western audiences than other big Japanese publishers. But it's not just sitting there churning out pachinko machines.

Another notable element in these financial results, though this is probably wishful thinking, is that Konami references Metal Gear several times as one of its biggest franchises. The financials include a note that the Metal Gear series has sold 58.3 million units, making it Konami's second-highest selling series after Winning Eleven / eFootball. Given today's apparent Silent Hill leak, and Konami's aggression in going after it, that may not be the only classic series that has a future.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."