Atari fiscal year ends $23.9 million in the red

Publisher narrows net loss as revenues down more than 15 percent year-over-year, subscription and digital distribution sales now 11 percent of total business.


One year ago, Atari reported a full-year net loss of more than $319 million on revenues of less than $193 million. The red ink was blamed on restructuring charges, and the publisher promised to focus on releasing fewer, more profitable games. Today, the publisher posted its results for the fiscal year ended March 31, and the numbers show the publisher has improved, but fallen short of a complete turnaround.

Atari's profits are on impulse drive right now, but the publisher hopes to boost those to warp factor 8.
Atari's profits are on impulse drive right now, but the publisher hopes to boost those to warp factor 8.

For the full year, Atari posted revenues of €115.7 ($142.5 million), down more than 15 percent from the year before. As for why sales were down, the publisher pointed to its plan to release fewer games with a focus on more profitable titles. Of its reduced slate, Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Backyard Football 2010, Champions Online, and Star Trek Online were singled out as sales leaders. The latter two titles also helped drive expansion in Atari's online revenue, which consists of subscription fees and digital distribution sales.

In the previous fiscal year, online revenues only accounted for 2 percent of Atari's cash flow, but the publisher's first two massively multiplayer offerings from its 2008 acquisition Cryptic Studios pushed that number to 11 percent of total sales.

Unfortunately, Atari's plan couldn't produce a profitable year, as the publisher posted a 12-month net loss of €19.4 million ($23.9 million). The bulk of the work on the publisher's turnaround may be a thing of the past, as Atari actually posted a slim net profit of €3.8 million ($4.7 million) for the second half of its fiscal year.

Atari expects its bottom line improvement to continue in the coming year due to a number of factors, specifically the fall launch of Test Drive Unlimited 2, next spring's The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, and this year's Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers and Backyard Football. The publisher also is banking on strong performances from Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and PC downloadable games based on vintage Atari brands, as well as new casual and social online efforts.

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