Atari losses top $319 million, Harrison steps aside

Massive "transformation" costs send publisher into red despite annual revenue increase, much-touted president moves to nonexecutive role; unnamed projects canceled; Champions Online hitting Xbox 360 during holidays.

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It has been a turbulent few years for the various incarnations of Atari, with its American arm battling with stock-market delistings before being folded into parent company Infogrames last year. After the reorganization, the company continued to bleed cash despite a recent uptick in revenue.

Why so serious?

Things looked to be turning around for the publisher when former Sony Worldwide Studios head Phil Harrison came on board as Infogrames president. Along with new CEO David Gardner, Harrison declared that the company wanted to "stop losing money" and that it was to increase its focus on online and social games. Then, in a dramatic move, it acquired Cryptic Studios, developer of the massively multiplayer online role-playing games Champions Online and Star Trek Online at the end of last year.

The company's recovery seems to be progressing slowly, though. Today, Infogrames reported its full-year results for the 2008/2009 financial year and also announced it was changing its name to Atari. Unfortunately, it also revealed a massive annual net loss of €226.1 million ($319.5 million, £197.7 million). The company pinned the massive shortfall--up from 2007/2008's €55.1 million ($77.7 million, £48.2 million) loss--on one-time costs relating to the firm's "transformation." These included €13.9 million ($19.6 million, £12.1 million) of restructuring charges and a €40.3 million ($56.9 million, £35.2 million) impairment of goodwill charge. Once those are disregarded, Atari posted an adjusted net loss of €50.2 million ($70.3 million, £43.9 million).

Ironically, revenues were up significantly year on year, with the company bringing in €136.4 million ($192.4 million, £119.1 million) during 2008/2009, compared to €90.3 million ($127.4 million, £78.9 million) in 2007/2008. Broken down by platform, the Xbox 360 was responsible for more than a quarter of the firm's income last year. The year prior, it was the DS, which led the charge, bringing in almost a third of the firm's revenue. PC titles accounted for 22 percent of the firm's revenues in 2009/2009, followed by the Wii and DS with 15 percent each, followed by the PlayStation 3 (12 percent), PlayStation 2 (8 percent) and PSP (2 percent).

Looking ahead to the 2009/2010 fiscal year, Atari is making some drastic changes. Not only is it shifting primary business operations to the US, but it is also shaking up its management. After taking the presidency to much fanfare just over a year ago, Harrison is stepping down, assuming the role of nonexecutive Director of the Group where "he will continue to assist, support and guide the company's strategy." Board member Jeff Lapin--former CEO of both THQ and Take-Two Interactive--is taking the position of chief operating officer under CEO David Gardner.

Games-wise, Atari made the ominous announcement that it "has cancelled projects which do not meet higher return on investment criteria and require significant working capital investments." No specific games were mentioned. More positively, it touted its lineup for the year, including the recently released Chronicles of Riddick and Ghostbusters: The Video Game, due out next month. Champions Online is due out for the PC in September, and Atari revealed it will arrive for the Xbox 360 during the all-important October to December holiday quarter. Star Trek Online is still expected to launch by the end of Atari's fiscal year on March 31, 2010.

Discussion

53 comments
alexharilall19
alexharilall19

i know i have to settle wit marvel ultimate alliance for now....

ToastJammer
ToastJammer

No Champions for my 360 until October/December?? N-n-n-nnnnnooooo! At this point Champions is the only reason I've got a stupid 360. I feel like I've been waiting for this game for years! God, now I'll have to play Ultimate Alliance or that DC game, just to bide my time. Please come soon, Champions On-Line. You're the only game I want to play.

pencilpusher69
pencilpusher69

"STRIFE9288 Posted May 30, 2009 9:00 am GMT -12 @pencilpusher69 actually the atari that we have today is the same one that made the system years ago, only they decided to focus on making games instead of concoles." Sorry, but this isn't that Atari. "Atari Interactive started as a subsidiary of Hasbro Interactive[6], after Hasbro Interactive acquired all Atari Corporation related properties from JTS in 1998.[7]IESA in turn acquired Hasbro Interactive in 2001, and proceeded to rename it to Infogrames Interactive. [8] In 2003, IESA then changed the company name entirely to Atari Interactive.[1] The company that currently bears the name Atari Inc. was founded in 1993 under the name GT Interactive. IESA acquired a 62% controlling interest in GT Interactive in 1999, and proceeded to rename it Infogrames, Inc.[9] After IESA's acquirement of Hasbro Interactive and its related Atari properties in 2001, Infogrames, Inc. intermittently published Atari branded titles for Infogrames Interactive. In 2003, Infogrames Inc. licensed the Atari name and logo from Atari Interactive and changed its name to Atari Inc.[10]." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari

flyingteddy
flyingteddy

did harrison step aside willingly? a year surely is not enough time for him to effectively see out his plans. will sony take him back?

darksongbird
darksongbird

I haven't played anything Atari in a LONG time. Hope they recover, although I don't support them financially or anything.

Azwethinkweiz89
Azwethinkweiz89

If Champions Online and Star Trek Online becomes major success, I think there money problems might be solve.

Ronin893
Ronin893

Ghostbusters I predict if done well will be one of the best games this year and if that doesn't help than they should probably call it quits.

BloodMist
BloodMist

Phil Harrison obviously should not be in the gaming industry.Shouldn't be in any industry period, actually.

mpeg3s
mpeg3s

If the Ghostbusters don't bring Atari back they must FOLD.

Pete5506
Pete5506

Dose not sound like things are going so well

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

It seems like the more money Atari makes the more money they lose

Depresso
Depresso

Sorry to hear Infogrames-Atari problems but it takes a while to turn things around. Alone in the Dark should not have been released until ready instead it was a mess and bombed when it could have been profitable. Let's hope they learn with Ghostbusters. Also Cryptic Studious ought to bring out some great games to justify the expense.

thingta42
thingta42

Id rather see only 3 Very good games from Atari each year then 15 Several crappy ones. Hopefully they have learned that and are putting all there effot into Ghostbusters etc.

Gamingcucumber
Gamingcucumber

I don't see Atari turning the tables around anytime soon to be honest. I'm actually surprised by how long they've managed to hang on considering the majority of their products. We might have another Midway coming up.

tenlong
tenlong

How are losing money? They have the video game rights to dbz franchise in north america. It is like a license to make money.

kemar7856
kemar7856

only game I liked from atari was dbz and they messed up with a evolution agme and burst limit

FidelSarcastro
FidelSarcastro

Well as long as I can get to busting some ghosts soon then I am happy.

Truth_Hurts_U
Truth_Hurts_U

Good, Star Trek Online is still alive. Need a new MMO to play.

SalarianChemist
SalarianChemist

Atari needs to focus completely on the North American market, and focus exclusively on their most successful hardware platforms. Atari needs to make sure that the Xbox 360 and PC receive the most attention, along with the Nintendo DS. It would definitely be a good idea for Atari to stop production of PS2, PS3, and PSP games because those account for as little as 2% of their revenue. This would simply be a form of shaving off what doesn't work.

STRIFE9288
STRIFE9288

@pencilpusher69 actually the atari that we have today is the same one that made the system years ago, only they decided to focus on making games instead of concoles.

Thrallia
Thrallia

actually, it is the company that used to make consoles....the console maker Atari was owned by Infogrames. Infogrames absorbed console Atari last year completely, and now Infogrames has changed its name to Atari. Thus, while it is a new company called Atari, it is also the console Atari, because they own all of the previous Atari's work and patents and whatnot.

lamprey263
lamprey263

I dunno, I'm beginning to think Sony sent Phil Harrison to Atari to sabotage the company, I mean his strategy was to create a surge of MMOs to save the company, and anybody who is as seasoned as someone like Phil Harrison knows that unless your WoW any attempt to gain footing in the MMO market is an utter failure... or maybe at the time he left he just thought Sony was doing so bad that they'd be out of business before Atari, either way it'd be interesting to know his motives

pencilpusher69
pencilpusher69

kavadias1981- This isn't the Atari you refer to. This is a company that just purchased the name Atari, so that they could grab fans. They have nothing to do with the company that used to make consoles.

couly
couly

I'm an atari fan, but Alone in the dark was shocking.

jasper061992
jasper061992

Since day one when phil decided to leave Sony for atari, i always thought he made a WRONG decision. Who would flog a well established company like Sony to a failing company? Don't get me wrong, i like Atari, though the brand is now a shadow of it's former self, but damn. I wonder if Phil somewhat regrets leaving Sony now?

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Oh dear, this looks like time is almost up for Atari. That actually makes me feel quite sad as they really were one of the pioneers of home gaming.

XanderZane
XanderZane

XCyberForceX Hmmm, Champions Online to be released on 2009 holidays for 360? I surely hope so but I'm not holding my breath. ********************************************************** I agree. With MMO games, they can easily be pushed back 3-12 months is the beta doesn't go well. We'll see though. It appears the game is just about complete is the PC version is coming out in Sept. I just want to know if there will be any fee and how much. I like to give this game a try since I'm not playing WoW anymore right now. As for Phil Harrison position, he still with the company, but seems to be taking a back seat to see how things run. If things get really bad he'll probably bolt for a new company. I was surprised the Infogrames took over Atari and then decided to change their name. I've already pre-ordered Ghostbusters. The preview video made me want it even more. I already have the Riddick game which I still have played just. Vin Diesel is still working on the 3rd movie. He had mentioned that in a Interview awhile back. Most likely the movie will be out the end of 2010 or early 2011. He needs to hurry up though. Supposely the 3rd movie takes Riddick to the Underverse World.

werc96
werc96

I hope Ghostbusters sells well, It looks promising and has the original cast. I applaud atari for taking the risk in publishing the title. I for one am def getting it :)

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

I love how "stop losing money" is an actual Harrison quote. That's the kind of inventive, bold leadsership this company needs. Will history repeat itself? Will we see landfills consisting of millions of 'Ghostbusters' and 'Riddick' discs, unwanted by retailers? Stay away from the light, Atari!

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

Phil, why oh WHY did you leave Sony for a crappy, dead in the water company like Atari?? Go back to Sony! They need you!

JS0123456789
JS0123456789

Finally, an Xbox 360 release date, sort of, for Champions Online. If they don't go out of business before then.

LosDaddie
LosDaddie

I'm surprised Atari is still around

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

ChartTopper93 - you should know that the Microsoft Gaming Division made a trading loss too! Based on revenues and XBox 360 unit sales, experts have said Microsoft are losing about $100 on each 360 sale!!! If people don't know it already, a quite revolution is taking place and we are coming to the end of a era of hardcore AAA games for gamers (Gods of War, STALKER) and beginning a new era of smaller casual games (World of Goo, more Sims etc) This new world is killing PC gaming faster than you can blink and it's even beginning to hurt the 'hardcore gaming consoles' (360 and PS3) with only the 'casual machines' (Wii and DS) coping with this change because Nintendo foresaw it.

xophaser
xophaser

Chartopper93 goodlord, is Microsoft the only company in the industry making a profit right now? How about Nintendo

TheRealUku
TheRealUku

agreed , ghostbusters should do them well profit wise , id expect star trek to be the one to 'blizzard' them though :)

Fleeman6019
Fleeman6019

Ghostbusters is going to bring in some big money for them i could see it selling about 5 million copies combined

ChartTopper93
ChartTopper93

goodlord, is Microsoft the only company in the industry making a profit right now?

zmbi_gmr
zmbi_gmr

I remember when Harrison first went to Atari there was a lot of speculation that Atari would be releasing a new console...well that hasn't happened. Gampro's staff member Vicious Sid was the first that I had heard speculate this idea. It would have been interesting if that would have happened. Did anyone else here at GS read about this speculation?

Starwind_Amada
Starwind_Amada

This guy can't stay in a job more than a month. Next he'll be at Nintendo and then he'll move to Microsoft a week later.

XCyberForceX
XCyberForceX

Hmmm, Champions Online to be released on 2009 holidays for 360? I surely hope so but I'm not holding my breath.

-RocBoys9489-
-RocBoys9489-

I lol'd hard at the "why so serious" below phil's picture LOL

dynomitemasta
dynomitemasta

Four words... Alone in the Dark. Anyone that gave that one the green light should be canned.

kejigoto
kejigoto

So in other words he wasn't getting the job done but we can't fire him so we'll put him somewhere he can't do any more harm while someone else will do the job he was supposed to do.

King_Jeremy_77
King_Jeremy_77

I bought Riddick and i'm buying Ghostbusters. Can't wait for Champions Online.

ldonyo
ldonyo

They're doomed. The MMOs will see an initial surge of subscribers, but that won't last beyond six months. Atari's support of titles it publishes has always been dismal, which has eroded their sales. They talk a good game, but they are lousy with the actual implementation.

Nifty_Shark
Nifty_Shark

Ghostbusters is on my radar. I'm just curious to see if the lisence is still strong today. It's been a long time since Ghostbusters has been relevant so how will that affect potential sales?

Timstuff
Timstuff

Atari is really stepping in the right direction. I'm glad to see the company's fortunes are turning around, and hopefully their top-shelf releases this year (Riddick and Ghostbusters) will help bring them back into the black.

Hedfix
Hedfix

This is a good turn around. Gone are the days where they released average titles with no licences. Now they alteast are putting licences on them, so even if they're still average titles they are average titles that sell.

_Bear
_Bear

That was quick, I always thought he was worthless anyway.