China-based MMO giant Perfect World has entered into an agreement with Atari S.A. to acquire a hundred percent equity interest in Cryptic Studios, the developers of Champions Online, Star Trek Online, and City of Heroes. The California-based online game developer will cost Perfect World approximately EUR 35.0 million in cash, or $49.8 million. The deal is subject to working capital, adjustments as provided in the agreement, and other customary closing conditions. It is assumed that Perfect World does not gain control of the MMO’s that Cryptic currently facilitates such as Champions Online or Star Trek Online.
While Cryptic Studios certainly gives Perfect World a strong foundation to build up its presence in the West, the company is no stranger to the North American and European MMO markets. While it has brought a number of its popular games from China to Western countries, Perfect World is best known for publishing Runic Games’ popular action RPG’s Torchlight and Torchlight for consoles in North America.
"We are very pleased to sign the agreement to acquire Cryptic Studios," commented Mr. Michael Chi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Perfect World. "This strategic acquisition will add attractive game titles to our portfolio, which will help us further penetrate into the U.S. and global online game markets. More importantly, Cryptic Studios’ highly reputable development team and its technology platform will further strengthen our well-established R&D capabilities. We deem this as another noteworthy achievement of our global expansion efforts."
Atari CEO Jim Wilson added that this move falls in line with the company’s plan to work more with third-party developers, and to rely less on in-house studios. The company announced its plans earlier this month to sell Cryptic.