Atari annual sales down nearly 50%

Publisher's new focus on fewer releases limits revenues to $80.3 million for the full fiscal year, but also helps curtail losses to $8.8 million.

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Atari's metamorphosis into an online-focused publisher is bringing with it some growing pains. Although "shrinking pains" may be a more appropriate phrase, as the company today reported a 49 percent drop in annual revenues.

Atari is undergoing yet another evolution.
Atari is undergoing yet another evolution.

For the 12 months ended March 31, Atari reported net revenues of €56.7 million ($80.3 million), down from €111.2 million ($157.4 million) for the year prior. Among the reasons for the drop were the publisher's plans to focus on releasing fewer (but more profitable) titles, as well as a general withdrawal from the relatively low-margin business of distributing other developers' games.

One more reason for the sales slide was Atari's announced plan to divest itself of Cryptic Studios, as the move took the online specialist studio's revenues from Champions Online and Star Trek Online out of Atari's net revenues calculations. Had Cryptic been included in the tally, Atari would have posted revenues of €72.6 million ($102.8 million), which would have still been down more than 37 percent year-over-year.

With Atari's revenues shrinking, the publisher's losses followed suit. For the full fiscal year, Atari reported net losses of €6.2 million ($8.8 million), considerably better than the €19.4 million ($27.5 million) in losses it ran up for the previous fiscal year.

Looking ahead, Atari reiterated its strategy of focusing on fewer, more profitable games, specifically those based on its owned franchises and key licenses like Dungeons & Dragons, Ghostbusters, and Rollercoaster Tycoon. It expects to post improved results for the first half of the current fiscal year and "maintain profitability" for the second half. Already announced and released major titles for the current fiscal year include The Witcher 2 on the PC, Centipede: Infestation for the 3DS and Wii, and a host of downloadable titles like Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale, and revamps of Yar's Revenge, Star Raiders, and Warlords.

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