Interplay announced its quarterly earning report today, which amounts to a slightly disconcerting loss of $900,000. Although this is not the most profitable time of year, the company had recorded net profits of $5.6 million this time last year. This dire situation has arisen due to poor sales of Interplay's key titles, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2 and Fallout: Brotherhood Of Steel. The problem has been exasperated further by claims of non-payment from a number of employees.
This has put Interplay in a difficult position. Indeed, it has filed a report with the US Securities and Exchange Commission claiming that, without outside assistance, "cash reserves […] will not be sufficient to fund its anticipated expenditures through the second quarter of fiscal 2004." Clearly drastic measures are called for.
Somewhat surprisingly, company CEO Herve Caen has suggested developing a MMORPG to lever them away from bankruptcy. He is optimistic that, if Interplay could find the funding, a Fallout based MMORPG could be the proverbial golden egg that it so badly needs.
However, such an ambitious MMORPG could equally turn out to be a duff magic bean. In recent weeks, two separate MMORPGs have grown out of control to the extent where they had to be cancelled outright. Warhammer Online's costs spiralled well out of control and even Microsoft couldn't justify the continued costly development of True Fantasy Live Online. So for Interplay, a company with only a pocket full of loose change, this could be a make-or-break strategy. If it can find the required investment, a Fallout MMORPG could, theoretically, prove to offer substantial returns. However, if development costs escalated beyond expectations, that would likely spell the end of Interplay as it stands today.
Expect more news of Interplay's future to be announced in the coming weeks.