Struggling game publisher Atari has announced that it has entered into a $24 million agreement with Ubisoft for the divestiture of its Driver
franchise and most of the assets of the Newcastle, UK-based Reflections development studio.
As part of the deal, Atari will maintain sell-off rights for a three month period for all Driver
products except Driver: Parallel Lines
, which the company retains until end of calendar 2006. This is the latest in a string of IP and studio sales, most recently
including the TimeShift
game franchises, the Games.com casual game site, and Texas-based studio Paradigm Entertainment. for the company, which has major long-term debt issues, but also claims an intentional 'refocusing' of goals.
According to an Atari statement: "The sale of the Driver
intellectual property and the Reflections assets for $24 million is the latest initiative in the Company's previously stated plans to refocus its portfolio of franchises as well as streamlining the Company's cost structure."
Atari and parent company Infogrames CEO Bruno Bonnell issued a comment alongside the announcement seeming to indicate that Driver
, which struggled in its latest iteration, has become a secondary franchise for the firm.
He stated specifically: "We are focusing the energy of the Company on a select number of franchises in order to optimize their impact among consumers and increase shareholder value. In the driving category, we consider Test Drive
our key franchise which will require more resources and attention to build it as a landmark of its genre."