Atari year revenues fall despite Enter The Matrix success

Publisher Atari has announced its financial results for the full year to March 31st, revealing a major decline in both revenues and income despite the commercial success of stand-out title Enter The Matrix. Net revenues for the year were $468.9 million, compared with $534.2 million in the previous year, while net income was $766,000 - or, more realistically, a loss of $38.6 million once a one-time dividend associated with the recapitalisation of the company last September is counted.

Enter The Matrix was certainly the highlight of the company's operations during the year, with the title selling some 5 million units despite critical derision; tellingly, however, Atari has announced no plans to exercise its right to make a further two games based on the franchise. The fourth quarter of the year, for which results were also announced today, saw revenues slump to $66.4 million from $84.7 million a year previously, although the performance was shored up by better than expected sales of Unreal Tournament 2004, which sold around 400,000 units in the last two weeks of March.

The poor performance in the quarter - which included a net loss of $17.3 million - was also contributed to by the decision to move Driv3r into fiscal 2005, a decision which was taken for marketing reasons, according to the company. Atari expects to report a similar level of turnover in 2005, with projections calling for revenue of $470 million, although its income projection for the coming year sees it making $25 to $30 million. The low revenue figure is accounted for by a significantly sparser release schedule; the company hopes to move to a strategy of launching "fewer, but bigger" titles, and plans to launch 45 titles in fiscal 2005, as against 75 in 2004.

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