Beijing firm takes over virtual cities

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 June, 2011, 12:00am


Perfect World, one of the mainland's leading online role-playing games operators, expects to step up its international expansion plan with the acquisition of game developer Cryptic Studios from French holding company Atari.

The Beijing-based company yesterday agreed to pay Euro35 million (HK$389 million) to Atari for its entire 100 per cent equity interest in Cryptic Studios, subject to working capital and other adjustments as provided in their deal.

'This strategic acquisition will add attractive game titles to our portfolio, which will help us further penetrate into the United States and global online game markets,' Perfect World chairman and chief executive Michael Chi Yufeng said.

'More importantly, Cryptic Studios' highly reputable development team and its technology platform will further strengthen our well-established research and development capabilities.'

Cryptic Studios, which was founded in California in June 2000, is a leading developer of multiplayer online role-playing games, including the highly successful City of Heroes and its subsequent City of Villains.

Atari purchased the US firm in December 2008, after which it went on to create the popular Champions Online and Star Trek Online games.

'With the acquisition by Perfect World, Cryptic Studios has found a strong platform for continued expansion into free-to-play business model and growth in the global marketplace,' said Jim Wilson, the chief executive of Atari.

Chi last week said Nasdaq-listed Perfect World, which posted a 15 per cent year-on-year increase in first-quarter revenue to 721 million yuan (HK$863 million), wanted its specialised production studios 'to develop new franchises across the spectrum of 2-D, 2.5-D and 3-D games'.

Market research firm Analysys International has forecast the annual revenue for the mainland's online games market to reach 73.13 billion yuan next year, when the number of players in the country would reach 272.2 million.