Atari Decides to Sell Cryptic Studios
Atari the perpetually troubled video game publisher disclosed in their 2011 fiscal year financial results that they are looking to sell off Cryptic Studios, two and half years after the original acquisition. The reasoning as Atari explains, other than it’s large contribution to Atari’s net profit loss, is to focus on external development to give them more flexibility in the “changing marketplace“. Atari also point to the industry buzzwords “casual online and mobile games” as another reason for deciding to divest Cryptic.
Cryptic Studios contributed €15.9m to Atari’s revenue and -€5.3m to their net loss for the 2011 fiscal year. Overall this accounting move has improved Atari’s operating income to positive €0.5m for the year with a net loss at -€6.2m. The expected sale price of Cryptic Studios would be hard to judge but I would be surprised if it was near to Atari’s original purchase price of 26.7m upfront + 20m in performance related bonuses.
Cryptic Studios was bought by Atari on December 8th 2008 and finished developing Champions Online and Star Trek Online for Atari. They got their start by developing City of Heroes and City of Villians both published by NCSoft who bought out the rights for both series in 2007 along with the whole dev team for the games. Currently still in development is Dungeons and Dragons Neverwinter, a co-op multiplayer game (departure from MMOG) based on D&D 4th edition and the Neverwinter franchise.