Infogrames, Atari's parent company, has acquired Cryptic Studios, the developers of the upcoming MMORPG Champions Online (2009) and the creators of City of Heroes.
The purchase price is a reported $28 million with up an additional $20 million in sales-based incentives. As part of the sale, Atari will gain control of the intellectual properties and technologies developed by Cryptic as well as the studios current staff of around150.
Cryptic's City of Heroes/Villains has been very successful for Cryptic, but not with the numbers you might think. They've hit a peak subscriber base of 180,000 and generated $100 million in revenue over the franchises lifetime.
"But Brian," you say, "World of WarCraft has 900 billion subscribers and owns the moon! How is Cryptic successful with only 180,000 subs? I thought WoW was the only MMO that made money!"
Wrong. Different games have different operating costs and profit margins. Blizzard runs a ton of WoW servers and employs a gargantuan staff to support their game. Cryptic's size is much smaller and can pull a nice profit on that amount of subscribers.
Cryptic Studios, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is currently working on Champions Online, Star Trek Online, and a 3rd unannounced MMO.