The studio was purchased in 2008 by the publisher and had one of its better years in the financial year of 2010, with losses falling from $17.9 million to $7.5 million.
It isn’t all doom and gloom for Cryptic however as Atari has committed to funding the developer and all of its projects, including Neverwinter, until a buyer is found.
As for the reasons Atari are splitting with their premium MMO developer, it’s all to do with the publisher adopting a new business strategy:
"In line with the previously stated strategy of fewer but more profitable releases and further expansion into casual online and mobile games, the Company has determined that external development creates more flexibility in the changing marketplace," stated the company originally founded by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney.
Understandably many fans of Cryptic Studios were upset when this news broke yesterday evening, but since then a series of statements have appeared from within the studio clarifying the current situation.
"Right now I have no further details other than what has been mentioned elsewhere. Support for Champions Online and Star Trek Online will be continuing as normal, our staff is working hard on their projects… and there are no planned changes to the way any of our games and projects will operate," explained Cryptic employee, WishStone on the official Star Trek Online forums.
This move is indicative of a gradually increasing culture among publishers that they’d rather outsource development to studios on a game by game basis, rather than own a developer outright.
That said, Cryptic Studios have a proven track record in the MMO market and as a result we don’t expect the developer to be sitting on the acquisition shelf for long.
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