Infogrames paves recovery road

France-based publisher to channel $149 million in raised capital to increased casual development; Alone in the Dark delayed to May for more "polish."

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In late 2007, Atari parent company Infogrames set out to reverse its declining revenues by issuing 150 million euros (about $219 million) worth of convertible bonds. At the time, the publisher only said that the funds would be used to "finance operations and investments," with some 41 million euros being shaved off to repay outstanding Bank of America loans. In an interview today with French media outlet Les Echos, Infogrames chairman and CEO Patrick Leleu painted a clearer portrait of how the ailing publisher intends to channel the approximately 102 million euros (about $149 million) in its most recent restructuring plan.

Not unlike Majesco, one of the primary shifts in store for Infogrames, according to Leleu, will be a focus on casual development. In addition to a new emphasis on Nintendo DS and Wii titles, Infogrames will be launching a casual-game online portal, under the moniker Atari.com, which will offer "a series of specially developed games for playing online or downloading."

"In keeping with the brand's image and the market's dynamics, Infogrames' goal for the next three to five years is to become a well-known publisher of family games, not just a company famous among an elite gamer population," said Leleu.

The publisher doesn't plan on abandoning high-profile, big-budget development outright, however. Leleu said that there are still plans to continue publishing games spun from primary franchises, including Dragon Ball Z, Alone in the Dark, Test Drive, and Dungeons and Dragons. After saying that the publisher plans to place a heavier emphasis on quality, Leleu said that Eden Studio's Alone in the Dark has been delayed until May, meaning that the publisher will have failed to ship a single game for the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 in its fiscal 2007-2008 year.

Putting a positive spin on that fact, Leleu noted that more than a dozen games for the systems are slated for the two systems in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, one of which being the recently announced Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit. Leleu also said that Infogrames will double its support for Nintendo's platforms this year, with 30 titles currently expected to ship.

With Alone in the Dark bumped out of fiscal 2008, Leleu expressed doubt on whether Infogrames would meet its revenue projections of 305 million euros for the year. He did say, however, that holiday sales were "good."

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