Atari six-month revenue halves as online income increases

Ghostbusters-less half-year sees sales plummet 56.8 percent; Champions Online, Star Trek Online revenues boost bottom line.

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Today, Atari reported its earnings for the six months ended September 30. Half-year revenues for the publisher fell 56.8 percent from €68.5 million ($94 million) to €29.6 million ($40.8 million). However, six-month losses were also down, falling from €27.0 million ($37.2 million) to €9.2 million ($12.7 million) year-over-year.

Atari is less in the red than it was last year.
Atari is less in the red than it was last year.

Atari attributed the lower income to several factors. One, the same period in 2009 saw the release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, which was a solid seller for the company. The April-September period of 2010 also saw Atari release fewer but more profitable games, a reason for the narrowed losses. The highest-profile games released during the period were the downloadable titles Blade Kitten and the rework of the vintage game Haunted House.

Another interesting trend was Atari's newfound reliance on its online properties. The six months ended September 30, 2010, saw some 43.6 percent of Atari's revenues come from online games, up from just 2.6 percent during the same period in 2006. Atari owns Cryptic Studios, developer of Star Trek Online and Champions Online, and also publishes Dungeons & Dragons Online. The latter game is currently free to play, as Champions Online will be starting next year.

Looking ahead, Atari said that it will continue its "strategic shift towards online/casual/social gaming, a market segment where Atari intends to benefit from new growth drivers." One element of this strategy is the Atari GO initiative, which aims both to help indie developers get their games on social platforms and to get sites using unauthorized versions of Atari games to adopt authorized editions.

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