Atari to sell internal studios, cut workforce by 20 percent

[UPDATE] CEO Bruno Bonnell says troubled publisher will "refocus ... on external studios;" company later announces that one-fifth of its worldwide workforce will be let go.

It has been a rough week for Atari. Since last Thursday's earnings statement, which showed the publisher's third-quarter revenue sink by more than a third, its share price has tumbled on multiple analyst downgrades and closed the day at $0.86. The rapid fall in fortunes has prompted such morbid headlines as "Atari creeps closer to death" on CNN/Money's Game Over column.

In an effort to revive its flagging finances, Atari is planning to sell some of its internal game studios. Speaking to British game-trade magazine MCV, CEO Bruno Bonnell revealed that the company has decided to "refocus our creativity efforts on external studios, rather than internal development."

The move means such shops as Reflections, currently finishing up Driver: Parallel Lines, and Shiny Entertainment, which made last year's Enter the Matrix: The Path of Neo, will eventually end up on the auction block. However, Bonnell stressed that all projects in development will be finished before said developers are sold. "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."

Bonnell also declared that Atari was planning a major, Euro-centric reorganization of its subsidiary. "We have about 250 staff in the US, and that is too many," he said. "There has to be some adjustment. There will be none in Europe, though. They've had their pain already." But Atari's US holdings have seen their own purges, with internal studios in California and Massachusetts shut down last February.

[UPDATE] Later in the day, Atari issued a very short press release which said it "plans to cut its workforce by about 20 percent worldwide as part of its restructuring plan." It listed its current payroll at 490 employees, meaning approximately 98 people would be sent packing. "Today's decisive action will provide us with the flexibility necessary in a changing business environment," said Bonnell in a statement.

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106 comments
EugeneE3RD
EugeneE3RD

Well, the current Atari is not the Atari of yesterday. The current Atari is just the name. Several years ago, Infogrames (a French company) bought the rights to the Atari games & the Atari name.

sugreev2001
sugreev2001

Atari could never outdo it's competition especially after the 1983 VG crash.I wonder how it is still surviviing.

gamespotr0cks
gamespotr0cks

Just make sure you don't buy any stock in At*ri....don't want another Enron situation in the videogame world :(

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

whoops..... looks like M$ is going to own the world.....again.

scottbuzz
scottbuzz

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Aiman1292
Aiman1292

FAHRENHEIT absolutely rocked. and it did get some commercial success. though path of NEO on the PC was a dessicated piece of crap. ATARI is certainly not down. they always help out the more unknown studios around that guys like EA or ubi wont pick up. I hope they get a good title to credit

DrKill09
DrKill09

For the last time, the company is called INFOGRAMES! Don't disgrace the name Atari any longer!

xValCristx
xValCristx

sniff i mess really that compani really sniff

Seiki_sands
Seiki_sands

Just to put into perspective what we're talking about here...The publisher most of you are making snide comments on and throwing insults towards is the same publisher that published... Act of War, Civilization III, Dragonball Z Budokai Series, Alone in the Dark, Dragonshard, Gothic II, Mark Ecko

GundumSage
GundumSage

wow that's a dam shame.... *yawn* lets hope those titles and licenses go to developers who are capable of making a game. i mean if u manage to screw something like the matrix up, its game over. the matrix was and still is one of the best movies ever made. yet the games themselves are scoreing marks like 6 out of ten and 7 out of ten. thats just sad....

runstalker
runstalker

Geezus people, get with the program. Epic developed the Unreal games. Atari merely put the boxes in stores. Forthcoming Unreal games will come from Midway, but Epic Games is yet again at the developmental helm. Pay attention mofos!

SClown
SClown

Atari published Unreal Tournament series and I think they are doing the upcoming Unreal Tournament 2007 also...

M3R_basic
M3R_basic

I really hope they do not shut down, they have made my favourite game of all time or series comming to that matter! Who can forget the greatness of the Unreal Tournament series? :(

M3R_basic
M3R_basic

I really hope they do not shut down, they have made my favourite game of all time or series comming to that matter! Who can forget the greatness of the Unreal Tournament series? :(

csm101
csm101

Let's not forget Neverwinter Nights. I hope they at least get NWN2 out before going belly up. Or better yet, another publisher picks up the NWN franchise...

runstalker
runstalker

If they put half as much promo into cool stuff like Dragonshard and Indigo Prophecy as Driver/Dragonball, we'd have an Atari with vision and integrity. They're brave enough to take risks, but then they totally under-promote the cool stuff or push developers to release way too soon (Boiling Point) and really spoil a good thing. Nobody's fault but their own.

expertgamer3
expertgamer3

its Atari. they dont make anything good, so this is to be expected.

TckeyTheGlove
TckeyTheGlove

Ikaruga is the only good game they've made in years.

runstalker
runstalker

[QUOTE=even though they sorta suck, its hard to see one of the first videogame makers go down] ... The 'real' Atari, who you are refering to when saying "one of the first videogame makers", is not this company. This is the French software company Infogrames re-named 'Atari' after they literally purchased the name & rights when (original) Atari collapsed. It would be like if Capcom had a horrible year, had to close down, and Ubisoft purchased the mark. Obviously there's potential for some good games (same with Infogrames), but it sure as heck isn't the original company. So don't let sentimentality warp your perception of "Atari's" self-induced woes.

DalQuin
DalQuin

I loved Indigo Prophecy (that's Fahrenheit in the U.S.). I think we'll get more games like it if quantic dream survives, regardless of the fate of Atari. So, for me, this doen't really matter (unless they drag quantic dream down with them).

anamnawshad
anamnawshad

I hope they'll make more games like Path of Neo and Fahrenheit.

samekila
samekila

bad for araria had to see a real game company they havent made alot of good stuf the last few years but i still support them since i grew up with atari

ewjim
ewjim

NO, NO, NOOO!!! Someone, quicly help Atari!!!

jjwalker9600
jjwalker9600

Restructing sometimes is good for the overall company.

tirion13
tirion13

Infogrames is a French company that bought the name Atari in an attempt to appeal more to 'Those gullible Americans'. The brass at the top have no idea what a good game is, it has always been about money to them and it has shown in many of the games they had a thumb on. Good well run studios have been successful under Atari(Infogrames) newer companies or ones that ran into deadline trouble were savaged, leading to their games demise and sometimes even the studio. (i.e. Troika & the Temple of Elemental Evil). I for one will not buy any game that Atari publishes. Except maybe out of the bargain bin. I and happy they are in trouble and hope they just get out of the business entirely.

DimmQuobec
DimmQuobec

yey for the hope of better games...sence at least one bad game privioder wil sonn get shot down.. i mean REALLY . when was the last time atari accualy came out with somethin good that thats accualy stuck around.. maby they had the spotlight for a bit but only good game makers know how 2 keep the spotlight. sence theres always somethign new and better waiting around the corrner.

Blacksheepsquad
Blacksheepsquad

well they mest up driv3r and dirint do to great in the matrix games... they deserve it

DelphiDevil
DelphiDevil

there are still games to be finishe so those 98 guys aren't laid off just yet, but a little advice for them: You should hurry up with your CV's

hellsfire007
hellsfire007

My condolances goes out to the 98 pople who got laid off from their jobs. Its always horrible going home knowing that you'll have to join the large number of people out there trying to find a new job. While Atari only had a few good titles that I enjoyed, a lot of them were still pretty good quality games. Good luck to anyone that was laid off in the future.

Argama7
Argama7

Is it just me or is this happening a little too quickly among other publishers?

lordcarbo
lordcarbo

Unreal Tournament is safe out of Atari's dying hands, so I honestly don't care :P

krs_bg
krs_bg

Here comes Chapter 11!

Freedy3
Freedy3

Path of Neo was a good game

beesbreck
beesbreck

It always sucks getting laid off, good luck guys!!

ll_jun10r_ll
ll_jun10r_ll

Any bets on how soon microsoft will pick up this company too and add it to its vast collection of game designers? I give it a week, tops

Sinnicks
Sinnicks

Hopefully this restructuring plan works out for Atari.

trancejeremy
trancejeremy

This isn't really Atari, it's just the US division of Infogrammes, which just bought the name. And Infogrammes was never a great company, they just got lots of subsidies from the French government and such. Anyway, part of their trouble was putting out buggy software, especially the PC. I bought Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 Gold last year and it had a bug which rendered it unplayable at night (in the game). They didn't fix it for months.

LordReithgar
LordReithgar

Atari is only a publisher... those who produce games won't get touched, maybe they'll switch to another publisher but all in all it doesn't change much game wise. Budokai as an example is developped by FUNImation and Bandai (I wonder why Bandai isn't distributing this game anyway as they publish games themselves). If you pick DDO... again it's Turbine who develop the game and owns all the rights for the game, so even if Atari would close tomorow they'd just have to find someone else to publish their game... Though wishing bad ill like that to someone else is not something to do. I wouldn't enjoy being told "hey man you're slacked... we don't need you anymore"