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Atari Buys Cryptic Studios

In a move to bolster its offerings over the next three years, Atari (officially Infogrames/Atari) , has purchased Cryptic Studios.

According to gamesindustry. biz, the transaction is comprised of a $26. 7 million up-front cash payment, "with an estimated maximum earn-out of around USD 27. 5 million to be made up of cash and Infogrames shares. " The deal also allows for substantial bonuses based on performance on several upcoming titles for Cryptic. Furthermore, Atari and Infogrames can now use any and all of Cryptic software, especially its heralded MMO-building software and techniques, on any of their products. Atari is already planning on using some of Cryptic goodies on its own Atari. com portal.

"The acquisition of Cryptic Studios brings to Infogrames an outstanding creative organisation, with a proven track-record of success in the fast-growing MMO category, " said Infogrames/Atari CEO David Gardner. "Cryptic’s success is founded on leading-edge technology and the vision of a seasoned executive management team. "

For many developers and publishers, cost-cutting measures are just as important as large profits after a game launches. Gardner believes that Cryptic Studios, who according to Infogrames can make an MMO for half of what many other developers would need, can "build Atari for the 21st century" .

According to John Needham, CEO of Cryptic Studios, feelings from each company are mutual. "We share a common vision with Atari and their leadership team, " said Needham. "With our game development and online platform technology skills, we’re very excited about the opportunities that this unique combination with Atari creates. "

While City of Heroes has been a critical and commercial success (estimates are that it has made publisher NCSoft over $100 million) , Cryptic is already making some MMO fans salivate. Champions Online is set for release in the second quarter of 2009, followed by the much-anticipated Star Trek MMORPG in 2010. If both games as well as a third unannounced title for 2011 meet internal sales and performance numbers, Cryptic Studios could receive an estimated $20 million in bonuses, comprised of cash and Infogrames stock.

Source : http: //www. gamesindustry. biz/articles/atari-acquires-cryptic-studios