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Atari Sees Sales Down, But Major Online Boost

Although its sales fell 65 percent to $25 million in Q1, Atari's shifting more of its business online -- Champions Online and Star Trek Online grew online sales by 320 percent to 43 percent of the total.
In Atari's first quarter last year, it released two moderate successes: Ghostbusters: The Video Game and The Chronicles of Riddick. However, with only one minor launch, Sandlot Sluggers, in this year's Q1, the publisher saw sales fall 65 percent to 19.3 million euros ($25 million) year over year. The publisher has been turning to the online business as its primary revenue strategy after a long period of severe financial difficulty, debt and the notable exits of president Phil Harrison and casual studio head Paulina Bozek. But even as its revenues have been falling, its strategy to capture more of its revenues from online as it aims to create profitability is progressing. Atari reversed a previous $210.3 million loss in the second half of its last fiscal year to create a small profit - albeit largely on retail revenue. Now its new first quarter sees online sales up 320 percent to 8.4 million euros ($11 million) -- 43.5 percent of the total. The company says subscriptions are up for Cryptic Studios' Champions Online and Star Trek Online, accounting for the increasing shift in its revenue mix. Profits for the quarter were not disclosed. Atari's still counting on traditional launches for a "significant portion" of its sales to come, though, with a number of products releasing by Spring 2011. These include CD Projekt Red's anticipated PC sequel The Witcher 2, plus Test Drive Unlimited 2, Haunted House, Backyard Sport: Rookie Rush and a series of titles for console downloadable platforms.

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