News Article

SEGA Reportedly Interested in Acquiring Atlus' Parent Company

Posted by Andy Green

Around 20 companies are looking to bid

In June Atlus' Parent Company, Index Holdings announced it had unfortunately fallen into some financial difficulties and entered what is known as "civil rehabilitation proceedings" in Japan - essentially bankruptcy - in order to resolve its debt problems.

The company reportedly stated it would be willing to sell off its assets and operations, one of which being Atlus.

Naturally, this has piqued the interest of many publishers and Bloomberg Japan is reporting that there are around 20 interested parties - one of which is SEGA.

According to the cited sources, Index will select candidates as early as next week and the business will be transferred by the end of August 2013. Atlus is clearly a valuable asset and bids have reportedly climbed as high as 20 billion yen ($201 million/ £132 million/ €151 million), up from the 15 billion yen Index previously estimated.

Atlus has stated it is proceeding with its business as usual. Based on the report, the company should not have any problems finding interested parties and hopefully a deal can be worked out soon.

Nintendo and Atlus have had a close working relationship lately, highlighted by the recent North American Fire Emblem: Awakening and Shin Megami Tensei IV promotion, which sees owners of both titles receive $30 of eShop credit. There have been rumours circulating that Nintendo may be willing to acquire the firm but no substantial evidence has emerged just yet.

Would you like to see SEGA pick up Atlus? If not, who do you think should? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.


From the web

User Comments (105)



Warruz said:

Sega just eating up all the recent companies.

I want to see what Sega does with with relic now being under them before i see Sega go and take other companies. We still dont even know if Sega even has the rights to use the Wh40K Licence which relic is best known making games based off of(except Company of Heroes) .



Spoony_Tech said:

Anybody but Sony or the Evil Empire and I'm all good with that. I just want my Atlus on Nintendo systems. I won't just to either of the other 2 just for Atlus and that would be very disappointing!



ejamer said:

Meh... Sega's recent track record isn't really something that makes this very appealing to me, but if Atlus is acquired and basically left to "do their own thing" then I guess it wouldn't matter who buys them. So that is my hope: that Atlus ends up being a reasonably independent branch able to continue to business as they are now (but maybe with access to some additional resources when approrpriate).



unrandomsam said:

If Sega gets them to finish Shenmue or doing Something with Skies of Arcadia / Panzar Dragoon (RPG) it will be good.



SheldonRandoms said:

@DimetriWarrior I highly doubt they will, and if they did, expect Atlus to make a Shin Megami Tensei sports/dance game for the Xbox One.

Anyway, I still think Nintendo should buy them, because if they don't, then Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem could be cancelled, BUY NINTENDO BUY!!!, and if they don't want too, BUY SEGA BUY!!!



warlordovblood said:

Yea first choice would be nintendo then sega. It'd be like the old days when nintendo was busting out rpg's left and right on snes.



Emblem said:

20+ Billion for Atlus is one hell of an investment considering the relatively average profits they make yearly and thats not including the yearly operating costs the buyer will inherit.

The more i look at the numbers the less i think Nintendo can justify acquiring them to shareholders. It could take around 5 years to see real profit and thats a hard sell to short sighted shareholders who are already grumbling about a console thats been out less than a year failing to make profit.



retro_player_22 said:

At this point Nintendo could pretty much just buy both Sega and Atlus. I want all my favorite Sega and Atlus franchise to be run by a gaming company and not one where all they do is milk them for money.



Bryon15 said:

I want nintendo to get them. Out of all the companies they actually NEED atlus the most. With the Wii U failing miserably and iwata admitting that they're severely understaffed for HD development, atlus could be just what the doctor ordered. Providing nintendo with exclusives and extra resources.



mookysam said:

I would be concerned if Sega were to purchase Atlus, given their attitude to the western market in recent years.



GuSolarFlare said:

I personally hope no one of the three(sony,microsoft and nintendo) gets atlus I mean everyone has their favorite console/pc/gaming device, so if a company that makes so many great games as atlus is bound to a specific system(or group of systems) less people will have fun!
I might be a nintendo gamer but before that I'm a gamer it's plain and simple like this: gamers should be happy when the games are good regardless of the console it runs on and even happier when it runs on more consoles without having to be downgraded(unless it's some cool artistic "downgrade" that makes it even more fun!)
So I have to say GO FOR IT SEGA!!



bloodycelt said:

Hmm, if sega bought them, we would prob. no longer get any RPGs over here, (look at Shining Force). And if Gung-Ho bought them, after they completed their commitments, the developers would be tossed into maintaining their online services (remember Game Arts).

Again, it would be better if a investment firm bought them, otherwise Atlus would get too much oversight, considering that they operate in a niche market, a buyer would be interested in having them grow into the mainstream market (meaning no more RPGs).



Hamguar said:

Nintendo is the only one that would be best. If they can't get Atlus or if Microsoft does, I hope they just straight up hire the staff.



triforcepower73 said:

Atlus isn't exactly well-known. Their more of a niche company and Nintendo would be the perfect one to get them more out there in the public while not ruining their franchises. And at the same time, Wii U would be getting more exclusives, which can only help.



SilentHunter382 said:

I would be ok with Sega getting them but I would rather have Nintendo get them so they would have more of a reason to at the very least to own a Wii U.



belmont said:

So SEGA buys Atlus instead of Nintendo.

SEGA does what Nintendon't as usual



Dark_Link said:

I want to hear it being confirmed that Nintendo is bidding on Atlus. I have zero faith with third party companies when it comes to Nintendo.



Peach64 said:

I'd prefer Sega to Nintendo. Nintendo would ruin Persona and Shin Megami Tensei.



Samurai_Goroh said:

SEGA owning Atlus would be fine by me. Nintendo seems to have a very good relationship nowadays with SEGA, so we would be getting the usual franchises from Atlus on our consoles, plus the Playstation fans wouldn't be left in cold and would get theirs. As much as I'd like Nintendo owning Atlus, this is kind of a fair and balanced compromise for everyone. Heck, as long as it isn't Sony or Microsoft, I'm cool with it.



Garios said:

@Peach64 What makes you say that? I imagine they'd be treated similarly to MonolithSoft and given free reign of their projects. The only negative I can see to Nintendo buying them out is that they'd only be on Nintendo systems and I, personally, don't see that as a bad thing. =p



hYdeks said:

Sega owning Atlus? That would be pretty cool, least their smart enough to try and acquire them. Why the hell isn't Nintendo trying?!! That could be a big snag for Nintendo, instead, like normal, their doing NOTHING.



8thGenConsoles said:

@Peach64 There was a time when i used to agree with everything you said but lately you've been saying things that make little to no sense at all. Why would Nintendo ruin Persona and Shin Megami Tensei? When was the last time Nintendo ruined a franchise? It has never happened. Just be honest, you just dont want Atlus to become Nintendo exclusive which is why you want SEGA to buy them.



Rafie said:

@GustavoSF I whole heartedly agree. I wouldn't want Atlus to become a Nintendo exclusive company. Their games are so good that it should be shared across the boards as it has been for years.



Peach64 said:

@WiiURockz Nintendo want their games to be playable by everyone. They don't want to make some games for kids, some games for adults etc, they want to make each game appeal to the biggest audience possible. They will definitely make those two series lighter in tone. Not to mention Miyamoto keeps telling everyone he doesn't like games with a story. I don't care what consoles my games come on, but I do care when ones of my favourite series is at risk of being changed completely to try and make more casuals buy it.



Caryslan said:

@Frapp I don't want Nintendo to own Sega. Not only would it kill their prescience on PCs(where they make the bulk of their profit), but it was take away Sega's downloadable games on other platforms. Sega just turned a profit and they are not really doing anything to make gamers, hate them.

Plus ownership by any company would put so many restrictions on Sega, it would not be worth it. Do you think Nintendo will allow Sega to keep making Tablet, PC, and plug & play Genesis consoles if they are the owners? What happens to stuff like the Total War series? That's been a PC exclusive for years, and there's a risk NIntendo could shut down one of Sega's best selling series.

Would NIntendo allow Sega to keep making arcade games?

I just don't think Sega should be bought out by anyone. Sega needs to remains its own separate company. A partnership like the three exclusive Sonic games that are coming is fine, but I like the idea of Sega being able to spread their games across numerous platforms.




It's straight logical for Nintendo to buy Atlus, and the fact that they aren't interested yet is purely mind-boggling. They need more companies to take the load off of releasing games for them, cause 3rd parties are usually leaving them out to dry. Here's hoping relations between Nintendo and Atlus stay strong even if they don't acquire them.



fushimushi said:

Atlus needs to go to Nintendo. If it does it'll get more profit from Big N as Big N is a better company than Sega. If Atlus does end up with Nintendo, it'll be a first-party company of Nintendo but if it ends up with Sega it'll just be another side project. Atlus, you go NIntendo. Sega, keep dreaming.



TrueWiiMaster said:

That's kinda surprising. I didn't think SEGA was really in the position to do something like that. Personally, I want to see Nintendo buy Atlus, partially because I don't want to see any other publishers buy them.



hYdeks said:

@Peach64 agreed, I think Nintendo would ruin it too. I would prefer SEGA to own Atlus cause they would probably let them keep doing what there doing, Nintendo will be all like "what would Miyamoto do?" and love up Persona or Shin Megami Tensei somehow.

If Nintendo changed, I would like them to own Atlus, but while where still under Miyamoto reign, things will never change.
Stop with the profanity please — TBD



sinalefa said:


Is Nintendo forcing Platinum Games to tone down Bayonetta? Not that I know of. And they could do it if they want to, because they are publishing a game no one else wanted. And why are they supporting an M rated game with that Club Nintendo promotion then?

What I would like to know is what the other 19 interested companies are. Maybe there are better choices than Nintendo or Sega.



FritzFrapp said:

It was only a pipe-dream. However, if Nintendo were to become a parent company, or create a holding company, then there would be little reason for any immediate changes to Sega's business on the PC or in the arcade. Of course, consoles would be a different case.
You're a bit late in not wanting Sega sold to anyone though - Sammy bought them from previous owner CSK 10 years ago.



DarkLloyd said:

Atlus should have thier independence so after a comment on here pointed out a possibility im no longer in favour of nintendo owning them i have faith in sony or a jiont ownership between the 2



Caryslan said:

@Frapp I know Sammy and Sega merged ten years ago. My point was that I don't want one of the big three or someone like Capcom to snap them up.

Microsoft came close to buying them years ago, and I was opposed to that. I think Sega is better off being their own Company. Sammy pretty much leaves the video game side of things alone.



Caryslan said:

@sinalefa If I had to guess, I would think Capcom, Namco, and Square Enix are the other big companies that want Atlus. If NIntendo is bidding, then I could see Sony jumping into the mix somewhere as well.

I don't really see Microsoft wanting them since they have pretty much given up on the Japanese market, and Altus will do little to help them win here in the West. I doubt EA or Activision would want Atlus. About the only western developer that might want them is Ubisoft, but even that's a stretch.

So, my guess is that Nintendo, Sega, Capcom, Konami, Namco, Square Enix, Tecmo Koei, and maybe Sony are the top names involved in bidding.



sinalefa said:


From your list the one that would do the biggest sense would be Squeenix. So they would own Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Persona/Shin Megami Tensei. I just hope that does not happen.

And I agree with you, most likely Atlus will remain Japanese owned.



Aqueous said:

Seems like a company that would be more set up for Square Enix, I'd rather see them over Sega. Nintendo would be my preference but I'm likely dreaming. Capcom I'd say be the ones I wouldn't want see collect them. Particularly since I'm starting my first Atlus game and it seems like I have a company to watch for their games.



Skyfox2000 said:

So that Shin Megami Tensi X Fire Emblem Sega will Plublish it instead of Atlus if Sega buys



Emblem said:

Just to put things in perspective, 20 billion yen is about $208 Million or £133 Million. In the last five years Atlus has averaged around 2.3 Billion yen a year profit.

The thing is Atlus now makes most of their profits from the handheld market and publishing smaller companies games to whoever will take them. This means who ever buys them is going to lose profit unless they continue the trend. Fact is almost all of Atlus revenue comes via Sony and Nintendo, if they become exclusive to either side, profits will take a hit at least for a few years.

The bidding will end soon if it hasn't already, I doubt anyone is going to spend too much more than 20 billion considering how long its going to take to recoup costs.



MetalKingShield said:

Atlus games do feel very "Sega" to me. Just the music in Etrian Odyssey games evokes the spirit of the Mega Drive era.



TheAdza said:

Nintendo should buy Atlus AND Sega. Then there wouldn't be any need for 3rd parties ever again. Muhaaha bwahhahaha!



FritzFrapp said:

Bandai Namco would probably get my vote for best fit, and they have a very good localization record themselves. Level 5 also.
But Iwata needs to start spending some of those Nintendo billions, buy up some ready-made good developers and stop relying on unprecedented partnerships or it will take increasing eons for them to get games out the gate for their systems.



Chris720 said:

I'm honestly not sure. Nintendo buying Atlus would make a lot of sense and they can give them more exposure in the Western market, like what they've done with the recent promotion in NA.

SEGA would also be a good fit since they have a good relationship with both Nintendo and Sony, but it'll likely stay in just the Japanese market.

Both would work great, but Nintendo may give Atlus a better edge in the long run.



Technosphile said:

Nintendo should make this buy. They can obviously afford it and have the most to gain, especially with a console that desperately needs exclusive content.

Persona is a massive cash cow. To own that as an exclusive property would be a great thing for Nintendo.



Rafie said:

@Peach64 I definitely agree with that sentiment. I don't want games that I love watered down to cater to another audience. That would suck.



MussakkuLaden said:

I always found a purchase by Nintendo unlikely, although it would make sense and I'd welcome it, but it just doesn't fit Nintendo's attitude. As far as I remember, they never bought a whole company, only smaller studios.
But anyway, a purchase by SEGA certainly wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen. And it's nice to see that SEGA (with Sammy, of course), after years of struggle and near ruin, is actually in the position to perform such a acquisition. As the relationship between Nintendo and SEGA is good, an Atlus belonging to SEGA would most likely maintain its great support for Nintendo consoles, so no disadvantage for a Nintendo-players perspective. At the same time, SEGA would become a lot more important, i.e. relative to other Japanese companies as well as Western ones. After all, it's more of a minor player at the moment, and Atlus titles could sell much better if the marketing is good.
One has to see who will eventually acquire them, but if it is one of the larger video game companies, like Nintendo, SEGA, whoever, the whole affair could actually boost Atlus' position from one underground developer to one who receives the attention it deserves.



MussakkuLaden said:

at Caryslan: One should keep in mind that the buyer doesn't necessarily need to be a video game company at all. I bet a lot of those 20 something interested parties aren't big game companies. As the article says, SEGA (which together with Sammy is in itself not a pure video game company) is interested in buying Atlus' parent company. Other – most likely exclusively Japanese – companies might be interested in that as well. They could also be acquired by some TV or electronics company who wishes to extend its portfolio to video games. In that case, the balance of power in the games sector may not change at all. It was a similar situation when about 10 years ago, SEGA did not fuse with Namco, as it was often reported at that time, but instead SEGA fused with Sammy and Namco with Bandai.



ShinRPGGamer said:

Sega is one of those 3rd party companies i'd rather NOT be seeing buying Atlus because their record with localizing games (VC3 anyone) is shotty at best. And that's not even taking into account their history with executive meddling.



Zombie_Barioth said:

Its funny, I keep hearing people say Nintendo needs more "mature" games, Atlus makes the kind of games those people want but don't want Nintendo to touch them because they might make them tone things down. I'm sure Nintendo is aware of what they'd be getting into buying Atlus.

Sega wouldn't be a bad choice, but the way they've handled Phantasy Star and Valkyria Chronicles doesn't bestow much in the way of confidence.



DrRandle said:

Where.... Where did Sega get the money for this, again? I'm not terribly for this, I'd really prefer Nintendo to get it.



banacheck said:

sinalefa sai

Is Nintendo forcing Platinum Games to tone down Bayonetta

There are two control systems for Bayonetta 2, and one of the control systems is just button mashing with touchscreen, that wasn't PG idea obviously.

Nintendo owning Atlus is a BIG no no.



B3ND3R said:

I think Nintendo should still buy Atlus. Persona games on my Nintendo consoles? Sign me up! And with Nintendo's partnership with Sega, maybe we could see some epic crossovers.



darkgamer001 said:

I like how some people are taking it for granted that Nintendo would make Atlus tone down their franchises for a broader audience or some other reason. Sure, and Bayonetta 2 will be rated 3+ right?



Caryslan said:

@darkgamer001 Ok, for everyone using Bayonetta 2 as an example, keep in mind Nintendo is only serving as publisher and helping fund the game's development. The IP still belongs to Sega, and for all we know, Sega or Platinum had a stipulation in the contract that Nintendo would not touch or tone down the content of the game.

In other words, there is alot of red tape that keeps it from being a fully Nintendo-owned IP.

Nintendo is kinda weird about censorship. On any given day, they will allow some blood, disturbing or dark themes, or mature topics in their games while censoring things that seem mundane or unusual.

A very good example of this is the recent censorship of Fire Emblem Awakening. They went to the trouble of censoring a shot that barely showed any nudity and is pretty tame even by the standards of a teen rating(other games with this rating have gotten away with full nudity in bathing scenes.)

So, I do agree with some posters here. While Nintendo are not like they were in the 90's with censorship, they can make some odd decisions at times. And with games like Atlus puts out, you might wonder how much Nintendo would step in.

I don't think they would butcher the games to the point where they would become boring, but you have to question Nintendo's motives when they go to the trouble to censor a shot of a female character's behind in a Fire Emblem game. When there's no clear nudity, and the picture while suggestive is pretty tame overall.



GuSolarFlare said:

@Caryslan that fire emblem censorship is pretty easy to explain:
it was really bad joke I mean when you censor something people will feel like it was something big and get even more interested the thing is they wanted the players to believe it was something they couldn't show the problem is that they forgot people have internet and that this "censorship" would backfire as soon as the players discovered it was nothing big.-that's my theory.



Quickman said:

I'd like to see that list of the 20 companies that are "allegedly" interested.. Or is this announcement designed to drum up more interest in acquiring Atlus.....?



thatguyEZ said:

I'd have to agree with @sinalefa If Nintendo were to get Atlus I doubt they would try and 'water down' the SMT series. But IF they did I would be very upset. But I'd rather Ninty get them rather than Microsoft. But I doubt MS is even interested in Atlus so that's good. I'd love to see the list of the other companies interested in them though.

Sega buying them isn't the worst thing that could happen either. Only time will tell. But now I'm all antsy I can't wait to see who ends up picking them up. The end of the week won't come quick enough D;



FullbringIchigo said:

as long as they get them to make a Skies of Arcadia 2 then i'm fine with it or if Nintendo could get them

i don't want MS to get them because they just seem to kill of company's after they buy them just looks at Rare



FullbringIchigo said:

i also think that Sega could probably enter the console race again if they had enough developers under them and they have only missed one generation (PS3, 350 and Wii the Dreamcast was part of the same generation as the PS2 Gamecube and XBOX)



kondabasu said:

Lots of discussion about SEGA vs. Nintendo here. Don't forget that Altus isn't Index's only holding; among its other properties is Madhouse — a leading Anime studio. I'm not sure SEGA would know what to do with stock in those other properties.

I agree with @ejamer's comment yesterday. Atlus is better left to its own devices. Its output has been fantastic lately, and it's one of the few JRPG makers consistently bothering to localize for niche Western audiences. I don't care much who buys Index, but the prospect of SEGA and Nintendo make me nervous as a British/American JRPG player and Anime fan!



Rafie said:

Sega should just say, "screw this.....we're entering the console genre again!" I'm telling you all they can make a great console. The DC was ahead of it's time. It just got swept away under the whole PS2 hype. Having Atlus as an exclusive would definitely be good for them.

Off topic: I'm happy that Dragon's Crown is coming, but it's not coming to the Wii U or 3DS. Just the PS3 and Vita. Atlus owns that game and it looks phenomenal.



Objection said:

SEGA: I don't want them near SMT. They're not doing super well themselves and they're not great at localizing things.
Nintendo: I like SMT on handhelds but I don't want them to have exclusvity. Mainly because I want my console SMT on not the Wii U.
SONY: Hey lookit all the hate from the "I've only owned Nintendo" people! I'd like Sony to have console exclusivity if possible. I know that's not how rights and all work, but best option imo would be for SONY to get console exclusivity or stakes, and Nintendo to get handheld exclusivity or stakes. (The Vita and Wii U just aren't selling and aren't very compelling imo either.)



sinalefa said:


The IP is from Sega, but still it is Nintendo the one putting the money. And the one who puts the money is the one who decides what happens. It would have been easy for them to ask for the content to be toned down, and had Sega refused, they would not fund the game, and according to Kamiya, no one wanted to fund it but Nintendo.

Reading the Iwata Asks about Platinum Games reveals that Nintendo respects Platinum's work and the freedom they have to pursue their dreams with hard work.



darkgamer001 said:

Fair enough, Nintendo don't own the Bayonetta IP. BUT....why would they spend money on a game like that if they were so concerned with games being 'not niche' and 'family friendly'?



MAB said:

Hopefully SEGA get ATLUS to make a awesome Chakan RPG for their new system... The Dreamcast 2



Araknie said:

If SEGA really wants to demonstrate that they can do other things this would be a good sign.



8thGenConsoles said:

@Peach64 Yeah because Eternal Darkness was for everyone right? Geist was for everyone right? Bayonetta 2 will be more family friendly for the casuals to buy right? The answer to these questions is no. Nintendo has produced rated M games in the past and Miyamoto isn't the only developer for Nintendo. There's no way that Nintendo will ruin any of your favorite games from Atlus.



DarkKirby said:

I have a similar feeling toward Sega as I do toward Capcom (although not as bad). I love the licenses they hold, I hate the company.

I do not trust Sega at all because of their history of refusing to release any games outside of Japan other then Sonic, and even when they do localize, it's often a disaster.

I'm still waiting on Phantasy Star Online 2 Sega. WTF!



Spectator said:

I love Sega and all but they haven't made the best decisions with their own IPs. Most have been bad remakes or are collecting dust, I know they are getting it together over there, but I don't know when it comes to IPs.



timtimdaunholy said:

SEGA Does What Nintendon't

Well if either of them got Atlus I would be happy
Atlus is one of my favorite game companies

But if Nintendo got SEGA after they went broke buying Atlus..............................



R_Champ said:


Thinking the same thing. Plus, Sega is the same company that canceled Bayonetta...what would they do with Atlus series?

It's funny, because this article was originally posted on a Sony Fanboy friendly site, and most of them seemed elated by the news that Sega was even THINKING about it (they probably don't have the money once the bids get too high). Yet, they complained to no end about Bayonetta 2 being exclusive to Wii U...which was kinda Sega's fault...and they want them to buy Atlus facepalm. I don't think anyone would really win--a media conglomerate would be best for 3rd-party Atlus supporters.



Memeboy3 said:

I know a guy on Miiverse called django and made a LONG speech of why Nintendo SHOULD buy atlus, the speech may be a little flawed...and could use more Info, but it was good enough to convince me.... Yeah that speech and Spread the word!!! (the speech has over 10 comments)

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...