Atari Shares Hammered by DRIV3R Slip

Reflections off Christmas card list as Atari loses key fiscal boost.

Posted by Staff
Atari shares have taken a hammering in open trade overnight, slipping by a massive 14% in a single day. The mass offload, which in fairness was followed by an uptake as prices plummeted, was triggered by the announcement that DRIV3R will now be released on June 1st in the US and Europe.

This is a disaster, as it means that DRIV3R revenues will miss this financial year, causing a massive hole in Atari?s books. From a forecast of making a 7% operating profit in the 2003/2004 financial year, Atari now expects to break even, a target seen as somewhat ambitious in financial circles.

Atari is also expected to have to make a considerable payment to the French government this year, as part of its oft-delayed repayment program for the millions it received when Infogrames began its arguably ill-fated and badly thought-out 'buy everything' program in the UK and elsewhere.

This news also raises the question of whether developer Reflections is managing to cope with the shift to PlayStation 2 hardware. The studio?s last offering, Stuntman, was widely criticised in both the specialist and mainstream press and severely damaged the company?s excellent reputation, which was built on the foundations of two best-selling and highly regarded PSOne Driver releases.

Mirroring the issues faced by Tomb Raider developer Core, the jury is out as to whether this is a case of another UK developer struggling to make the generational leap.


config 29 Jan 2004 12:45
Shareholders in publishers really are a bunch of unenlightened, fickle creatures. Any sniff of a delay and they're jumping about shouting "SELL SELL SELL!"

You'd think that, given the number of years that publishers have been trading stock, they might understand that to get a better product, sometimes it takes a longer than originally anticipated.

I just hope the corporate drones don't force Reflections to roll out an unfinished, barely tested, buggy game.

Surely there are other feathers in the Atari hat that will tide them over for this year's financials? If not, and Atari are relying on Driver3 for a good year, then I predict that we'll see Atari absorbed very soon.

Yippee. Another change of hands for the legendary Atari brand. Let's hope, if an when it happens, the new owners won't peddle utter rubbish under the brand.

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