Ubisoft Lost Cryptic to Atari

Ubisoft Lost Cryptic to Atari

Ubisoft Lost Cryptic to Atari

Ubisoft’s CFO revealed on Wednesday that the company was in a bidding war over Champions Online developer Cryptic Studios, a development house that ultimately went to Atari.

Speaking at the UBS Annual Global Media Conference in New York, Ubisoft’s Alain Martinez said, "We lost one deal, which we were a bit mad to lose: Cryptic, a U.S. company that was taken by Atari. We were disappointed, but that was one try at an MMO."

This week, Atari announced that it purchased Los Gatos, Calif.-based Cryptic for $28 million, with further variable payments determined by the sales performance of the upcoming superhero-themed Champions Online and Star Trek Online.

If Ubisoft would have taken Cryptic, the move would have been a big step forward in the company’s efforts to establish itself as a player in the online sector.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot recently said that the company plans to launch "at least" two online-centric products in calendar 2009. Martinez confirmed that Ubisoft’s initial forays into online would be lighter, more casual experiences.

However, Guillemot has also said that the publisher intends to create an MMO based on the military-themed Tom Clancy universe. The firm recently purchased World in Conflict developer Massive Entertainment as part of its MMO strategy.

If anything, Ubisoft’s failed bid for Cryptic and subsequent disappointment illustrates just how much the company wants to get into the online space.

In the tough economic environment, Ubisoft has been approached by a large number of smaller firms asking for buyouts, according to Martinez.

"We are receiving tons of calls every week from people who want to sell. I can say we have about three deals within the €5 million range each that we are negotiating. Probably two of them will close during the next three or four months."