Atari, Empire sign distro deal

American publisher handling US launches of UK firm's Pipe Mania, Hello Kitty, and more as part of multiyear agreement.

Yesterday, Atari reported a rare profitable quarter thanks to the release of anticipated games like Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit and Alone in the Dark. The publisher is looking to keep that momentum going, as today it announced a new multiyear agreement with Empire Interactive to distribute the UK game company's offerings in North America.

Atari will be the exclusive North American distributor for "a number of branded, consumer-friendly video game titles" set for release this year and next. The first products covered by the deal will arrive in September when Atari releases Animal Paradise and Unsolved Crimes on the Nintendo DS, as well as Pipe Mania on the DS, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation 2. Following that initial trio in the fall will be Hello Kitty: Big City Dreams for the DS. Empire and Atari will share marketing obligations on the games.

Empire is best known for the Ford Racing and FlatOut franchises, though it has also dabbled in licensed fare like Jackass, Bad Boys II, and Starsky & Hutch.

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