Atari plans studio sell-off

Last week, the company reported weaker-than-expected Q3 results, showing revenues of $101m and a net loss of $5m. The bad news was compounded by the departure of CFO Diane Baker plus confirmation that HSBC has cut off its credit line. Media reports of ‘Game Over for Atari’ swiftly followed.

But talking to MCV this week, Atari’s CEO Bonnell dismissed such claims and revealed a steely determination to turn the company around via a restructuring of its US division, the sale of certain IP and – significantly – putting its studios on the market.

“Ahead of all this, we had decided in December that we should refocus our creativity efforts on external studios, rather than internal development,” he told MCV. “We will be looking to sell our studios, but that doesn’t mean that we’re immediately putting a ‘For Sale’ sign on them. They still have important projects to finish for us.”

The studios within the stable are some of the best known in the market and include:
* Reflections, based in Newcastle, currently working on Driver 4.
* Melbourne House, based in Australia, working on current gen versions of Test Drive.
* Paradigm, based in Dallas, currently working on Stuntman 2 and Battlezone.
* Shiny Studios, based in Laguna Beach, currently working on one undisclosed project and new versions of Earthworm Jim.
* Eden Studios, based in Lyon, working on Test Drive for next generation systems.

Bonnell also confirmed that the US is likely to see some redundancies: “We have about 250 staff in the US. And that is too many. There has to be some adjustment. There will be none in Europe, though. They’ve had their pain already.”

Bonnell added that Europe actually saw an increase in business in Q3, offering: “I am extremely proud of the European team.”

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