Index Corporation – the social gaming company which owns Atlus – has just posted its worse losses ever and is now both insolvent and in danger of being delisted from JASDAQ, throwing the future of the Megami Tensei and Persona franchises into grave doubt.
Index’s latest financial statements include a 1.67 billion yen loss on sales of only 15.6 billion yen, all downwardly revised (in 2012 it projected a 1.3 billion yen profit) and significantly worse than the previous year.
In August, the company did announce profits of 400 million yen – but this was after posting losses in the last 6 consecutive quarters, the group apparently being operated on novel financial principles which do not include making more money than it spends.
Its financial performance is succinctly illustrated by its stock price, now at pre-bankruptcy rock-bottom drop-it-before-the-liquidators-arrive levels, making even Square Enix look like a hot “buy” recommendation:
Unsurprisingly, it is now insolvent, and it is not likely to be long before its toxic shares are delisted completely.
The company’s main response to its dire financial straits has been to announce such promising cost-cutting measures as off-shoring more of its workforce and “reorganising” those who remain, along with an incredible narrowing of corporate focus to “consumer & social games, contents and solutions.”
Index’s main business appears to be randomly acquiring IT and “contents” companies, as the company boasts an eclectic hodgepodge of generally obscure subsidiaries ranging from mobile gaming and apps to publishing and software licensing.
However, unless they have been using their line of translation software for dogs, the only enterprises it is involved with which anyone is likely to have to have heard of or care about are Atlus, folded into its games division as a brand in 2010, anime studio Madhouse, of which it owns 10% in combination with Nippon TV’s 85% stake, and most inexplicably of all, 5% of toy manufacturer Takara Tomy.
Atlus itself shows some disturbing parallels to Square Enix, with much of its output devoted to social gaming, including such classics as “Persona 4 – The Card Battle” and “Devil Survivor 2 – The Extra World,” and endless rehashing of an increasingly moribund main franchise, in this case the Megami Tensei series, still yet to see any full scale RPG on a current generation console despite scores of ports and remakes.
Atlus fans are aghast at what is left of their beloved studio facing oblivion, IP-stripping resale or – worst of all – continued exploitation as a social game studio:
“What the hell are they doing?”
“Can they not recover with new releases!?”
“Atlus is already done for, who cares about them now.”
“Namco, you buy Megaten now!”
“Nintendo should buy it.”
“Bandai is the best fit.”
“Nobody is going to buy Index, but Atlus might have a chance at being bought by Nintendo or someone.”
“P4G wasn’t bad though.”
“Everyone has been saying they are doomed since last year.”
“In short they are still making money on games but all their other divisions are worthless?”
“A rare case of the game business doing well whilst all the other divisions drag them down.”
“Didn’t they start off as some pachinko company or something? They can still sell it off and Atlus will live on.”
“Atlus is already dissolved. Only the Atlus name is still being used for branding purposes. They have to wait for someone to buy what is left of the Index group.”
“This is what happens when game companies get dragged into the world of pachinko.”
“They can just buy the game IP, I would think.”
“Surely they can survive this?”
“Atlus actually showed some big losses from 93-09, especially in their pachinko and arcade enterprises.”
“Basically they got burned every time they tried something outside the consumer game market. What a waste.”
“And they used to be the darling of JASDAQ…”