What we heard: Rumours of Red Ant's faltering business reached a crescendo today when Kotaku Australia posted a story saying that several sources (not specifically from Red Ant) were claiming that the local distributor of games such as Street Fighter IV, Resident Evil 5, and Bionic Commando had gone into receivership.
What does this mean for the company? Well, receivership is generally the final step before declaring bankruptcy in Australia. Simply put, it happens when a company informs the Australian Securities & Investments Commission that it has been unable to pay its bills for quite a while, resulting in the company being in a high debt situation. From there, the company is placed into receivership by an external organisation that freezes the company's assets and assesses the viability of the operation continuing.
Sadly, most companies that enter receivership are deemed not savable, and as a result, liquidators are brought in to sell off its assets in an attempt to recover as much money as possible.
The timing couldn't be any worse for gamers, given that Red Ant is due to ship Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter IV, and Bionic Commando in the next two months. It should also be noted that Red Ant holds Australian distribution agreements with Konami, Midway, and about half a dozen other smaller publishers.
The official story: Although we haven't been able to get a hold of anyone at Red Ant, a quick search on the ASIC Web site indicates the worst. According to the company's listing on the ASIC site, Red Ant's status is "UNDER EXTERNAL ADMINISTRATION and/or CONTROLLER APPOINTED." The page also states that the receivers are due to hand in their report on whether Red Ant will continue to operate on the 15th of May this year.
Bogus or not bogus?: There's no official word from Red Ant, but we're going to go ahead and trust the government on this one, declaring it not bogus. As to how this affects the upcoming release of games such as Street Fighter IV and Resident Evil 5, we'll keep you updated as soon as we know more.