Only a couple of weeks after Atari announced it was in the process of selling its MMO game developer Cryptic Studios, the company announced today that it has indeed sold the Bay Area, California based game development studio to MMO publisher Perfect World Entertainment. According to the press release Perfect World acquired Cryptic for about 35 million euros which is nearly $50 million US. As we reported earlier this month, Atari is switching its publishing strategies to develop its games from third party publishers, saying that "external development creates more flexibility in the changing marketplace."
Atari bought Cryptic Studios in 2008 and since then the developer has released two MMO games; the super hero themed Champions Online in 2009 and the sci-fi themed Star Trek Online in 2010. Since those launched, Cryptic Studios has turned Champions Online into a free-to-play MMO. In 2011 Atari announced that Cryptic would be developing a non-MMO fantasy RPG, Neverwinter, for the company. However today's press release did not mention the current status of the game.
Pefect World Entertainment is based in China and currenty runs a number of free-to-play MMO games such Perfect World, Battle of the Immortals and others. In 2009, Perfect World published the single player fantasy action-RPG Torchlight from developer Runic Games. Torchlight became a big critical and sales hit in and in 2010 Perfect World bought a majority stake in Runic Games. The developer is currently working on the sequel, Torchlight 2, which is currently scheduled to be released later in 2011.