Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Atlus Update - Is an Auction Inevitable?

Wherein no news is good news, unfortunately.

I mentioned a while back that Atlus' future might be in a bit of doubt at the moment, thanks to the rather shaky ground that their parent company, Index Corporation, has found itself on. Well, the recent news is no better I'm afraid.

As this Forbes article explains: "Index Corporation shares have plummeted 84% since the investigation was revealed in June. The company’s shares will be delisted on July 28, according to the Osaka Securities Exchange Co."

A delisting isn't always a death knell for a company, but it's never, ever a good sign. The delisting of THQ was one of the final nails in the coffin of the company that lead to the massive auction of all of its assets in order to cover its existing debts. At this point it seems almost certain that Index will be in the same boat quite shortly barring extensive outside intervention or just a plain old miracle.

Again, thoughts of just who might be interested in Atlus would be the most logical next stop in the conversation. As Erik mentions, Nintendo has actually been in business with them as of late, securing the latest Shin Megami Tensei as a 3DS exclusive. Sony has also enjoyed the profits from sales of the Persona series in the past, and with a new instalment -- Persona 5 -- suspected to be in the works there would be much for any company to gain from the acquisition of the publisher.

An interesting point the article raises is that Atlus may be just the thing that Nintendo needs to help shift its image a little, from a company that produces mostly kid and family oriented products to one that will cater a little more to the older gamers as well. Certainly being home to Bayonetta 2 will help on that front, but having Atlus in their corner definitely wouldn't hurt either.

Of course, there are probably other companies interested as well. If it weren't for the recent financial troubles I would have pegged Square Enix as perhaps being one keeping an eye on things. A Final Fantasy / Persona crossover might inject new, much needed life into a series that has been floundering as of late. Then again, the worry that the opposite could happen, that where ever Atlus ends up could mean the draining of life from its' series, is a valid concern.

I will not say that there is one best choice, because the best option would have been for this to never have happened in the first place. Now though, it seems all but inevitable, and gamers may find themselves wondering, and rooting, for the company to go to a lesser of any evils that may be interested in acquiring it.

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