Atari To Divest Cryptic Studios
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Fans of Champions Online and Star Trek Online got a shock today when they learned that the publisher for these games, Atari (which is Atari only in name and based in Paris, France these days) is writing off the developer of the same games, Cryptic Studios.

As part of an earnings report today, Atari announced it is divesting of its interest in Champions Online developer Cryptic Studios, calling the development house a "discontinued operation" as of March 31.

Atari will continue to support all current Cryptic products while the publisher looks to sell the studio, Gamasutra understands. Development on the Bay Area studio's Neverwinter project will continue as normal for the time being.

Although things look dim for Cryptic Studios initially, Cryptic Community Representative WishStone was quick to chime in on the harrowing news:

Right now I have no further details other than what has been mentioned elsewhere. Support for Champions Online and Star Trek Online will be continuing as normal, our staff is working hard on their projects (and the folks from the Champions team deserve an extra cheer for their new stuff by the way) and there are no planned changes to the way any of our games and projects will operate.

An astute STO forums poster also pointed out that Cryptic has hired a cadre of new developers, many of whom start work in June.

As an STO Lifetime Subscriber, although near-term game stability looks good, with both Champions Online and STO each getting ready to launch major updates, this is obviously a concern for long-term game stability. Where will both games, and the upcoming Neverwinter game under development, be in a year? It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and if anyone is willing to purchase Cryptic, who reported a loss of $7.5 million last year, despite moving Champions Online to a FTP + subscriber benefits model.

Source: Gamasutra

It's baffling to me that Cryptic can lose money when they've got the Star Trek MMO.

Granted they're a second rate developer who shamelessly milk even paying subscribers with micro-transactions, but still, how can they lose money on this?!

AFAIK as an STO player, it's certainly not for a lack of players. However, actual subscriber numbers are usually closely guarded secrets; any slight dips will send many a player into speculation mode and "doom."

archabaddon:
AFAIK as an STO player, it's certainly not for a lack of players. However, actual subscriber numbers are usually closely guarded secrets; any slight dips will send many a player into speculation mode and "doom."

And there was me thinking that CoH players had a monopoly on

What are they spending the money on? Golden toilet seats?

Actually, didn't STO pretty much tank right off the bat?

Pedro The Hutt:
Actually, didn't STO pretty much tank right off the bat?

It released to mixed reviews. Didn't tank, but there was some polish that was need for certain systems. Of course, with the mentality of many of today's gamers, if it isn't perfect at launch, it will suck eternally. In truth, the game's become much better since launch, as typical for many MMOs.

Sixcess:

archabaddon:
AFAIK as an STO player, it's certainly not for a lack of players. However, actual subscriber numbers are usually closely guarded secrets; any slight dips will send many a player into speculation mode and "doom."

And there was me thinking that CoH players had a monopoly on (DOOOM!)

Reminds me of one of the reasons I left that game :p

Well, of course you can almost always expect an MMO to be buggy at launch. But of course there's a difference between "buggy" and "This isn't even ready for alpha testing yet", and according to some friends who tried STO, and some reviews I read, it fell in the latter category.

But then, I didn't try it myself (yet) so I could very well be wrong. =)

One of the interesting things of note is that recently, after taking a personal hiatus, Craig Zinkievich was appointed COO of Cryptic Studios. For a company that's being divested, hiring corporate officers and a slew of new developers certainly indicates that Cryptic isn't being adversely affected by Atari's move, at least not superficially.

Since Atari is seemingly trying to sell of the studio, one theory is that Cryptic may be trying to buy themselves back as an independent studio, like they were in 2008 before the global market went bust and they were forced to seek financial aid from a big publisher like Atari.

It will be interesting to see what happens inthemonths ahead, but one thing's for sure:
Crypitc games - they're apparently an adventure on several levels ;)

 

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