E3: Atari, Infogrames Sell Stuntman, Timeshift, Games.com, Paradigm
In a flurry of press releases on the morning of E3, struggling publisher Atari and its parent, the French-headquartered Infogrames, has revealed that it has raised a total of $25 million through what it calls "the divestiture of certain non-core assets" - including the sale of the TimeShift and Stuntman game franchises, the Games.com casual game site, and Texas-based studio Paradigm Entertainment.
It's already known that TimeShift has been sold to publisher Vivendi, but it's been revealed that THQ has acquired the rights to Stuntman. According to an Atari statement: "The sale of these intellectual properties is inline with the Company's previously stated plans to divest assets which it feels are not core to Atari's business strategy."
In addition, THQ has acquired the Texas-based Paradigm, according to an Infogrames statement, and AOL has swooped to pick up the relatively sought-after Games.com web address, as Atari/Infogrames continues a cash crunch brought about by long-term debt issues which means continued selling of assets.
However, the company is still showing more than 10 titles at E3 this week, and officially announced that it has claimed online and handheld rights to the Earthworm Jim game - it is "planning to develop a range of video games over the next five years for next-generation handheld and online systems", though it is unclear how turmoil at developer Shiny will affect this.
In addition, the company announced a pricing program called GamersFIRST, which will begin on June 1st and will include a new price point of $19.99 on all existing Atari console titles for PS2, Xbox, and Game Boy Advance as well as all existing Windows titles (excluding the recently launched Dungeons & Dragons Online). Additionally, all Windows titles included in the program will be available for immediate download via Valve's Steam service and IGN's Direct2Drive, also for $19.99. Titles offered in the on-going GamersFirst program include Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi, Driver: Parallel Lines, Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, and the award-winning Indigo Prophecy.