News Article

Sega Sammy Acquires Atlus Parent Company Index For 14 Billion Yen

Posted by Damien McFerran

Reports suggest purchase will take place in November

UPDATE: It's now been confirmed that SEGA — or rather a part of the company called Sega Dream Corporation — has indeed bought Atlus. It's anticipated that the deal will be wrapped up by 1st November, and the following was in the press release.

The Company believes that transfer of Index's operations to Sega will create synergies, on the grounds that the deal will enable the Company to:

(1) gain access to prominent IPs in the home video game software, through which the Company can expect to achieve steady flows of revenue;
(2) expect further facilitation of revenue growth for the PC Online Game Business and Content Business for Smart Devices operated by Sega and Sega Networks Co., Ltd. by exploiting acquired prominent IPs and
(3) maximize the value of acquired IPs by effectively deploying them in the Pachislot and Pachinko Machines segment, Amusement Machine Sales and Amusement Center Operations segments.


ORIGINAL STORY

It's being reported that Sega Sammy has purchased Index — the troubled parent company of video game firm Atlus — for 14 Billion Yen (around $141 million).

Index was declared bankrupt not long ago and put up for sale following allegations of fraud, and both Sega and Nintendo were mooted as possible buyers.

According to Nikkei and Bloomberg, Index’s bankruptcy advisers are looking to finalise the deal with Sega Corp. — a unit of Sega Sammy — by early November. Around 20 other interested parties were involved in the auction.

However, the story has a twist — Sega is now apparently denying the purchase is taking place:

We'll no doubt hear more about this as the days roll by, but what do you think about Sega owning Atlus? Were you hoping that Nintendo would buy the company? Share your thoughts below.

[via nikkei.com, api.viglink.com, gonintendo.com]

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User Comments (72)

cookiex

#2

cookiex said:

Would that technically make SMT x Fire Emblem the fourth Nintendo / Sega WiiU collaboration?

Given SEGA's good relations with both Nintendo and Sony SMT and Persona should be safe on their respective systems.

DualWielding

#3

DualWielding said:

As long as the games keep coming I don't mind, I hope Sega would allow Atlus to keep doing what they're doing and that the change of hands would be irrelevant for gamers

SpookyMeths

#5

SpookyMeths said:

I guess it doesn't particularly matter who controls Atlus, as long as they allow Atlus to continue business as usual. Atlus and NIS are about the only two publishers that are actually enthusiastic about publishing niche titles in the West.

Also hoping that Atlus's great business relationship with Nintendo continues well into the future.

UPDATE: It looks like Sega's aim here is to bring Atlus IP to mobile, PC, and arcade. No mention of their plans for consoles. Blegh.

Peach64

#6

Peach64 said:

Pretty happy with that outcome. It probably won't affect us too much. Sounds like Sega have a pretty solid plan in place for making the entire organisation profitable again too, not just focusing on atlus and cutting the rest loose.

Snkfiend

#7

Snkfiend said:

Well I'm relieved about this I'm at least glad Sega Sammy acquire Atlus but I hope they don't use them only as a Arcade based company now that would be BS. But at least Atlus can still do business as usual for all consoles (Sony/Nintendo) and Sega Localization needs to be better.

Sanquine

#8

Sanquine said:

@cookiex I'm happy! IF we get some SMT love ( for playstation) and some persona love for the Nintendo Wii U im a happy man:D

SilentHunter382

#9

SilentHunter382 said:

I am glad that Sega acquired ATLUS. I would have preferred Nintendo to buy them but Sega was second on my list.

Now I just hope that Sega can convince ATLUS to make Wii U versions of there games and then let them create the games with no interference.

unrandomsam

#10

unrandomsam said:

Not sure whether Sega will be good or bad for this.

(Ever since they merged with Sammy they stopped putting money into anything I think worthwhile. Other than the great Jap only arcade releases like Border Break).

Loads of good franchises they have as playing All Stars Racing Transformed reminds you.

Not sure Sammy was a good match making gambling machines is not that similar to making games.

unrandomsam

#11

unrandomsam said:

Arcade / PC sounds great (As they should be able to be pretty much identical between the two.)

banacheck

#12

banacheck said:

This is a good out come, i already knew Nintendo didn't buy Atlus as Atlus are one of the 21 companies doing exclusive content on the PS4.

Pixel-Perfect

#13

Pixel-Perfect said:

This doesn't seem like a good outcome to me... although there are certainly worse ones. I think Nintendo would have respected Atlus enough to let it do its own thing but I'm not as sure about Sega. So yeah, still a little worried about Atlus. o.o

Emblem

#14

Emblem said:

I read this earlier at another site, I'm actually worried we won't see much Atlus games being localised other than Persona. But only time will tell.

Zombie_Barioth

#15

Zombie_Barioth said:

Not all that surprising, sounds good I guess. Sega and Atlus's games have a similar vibe to them so it sounds like a good match to me.

Atlus does well enough that I doubt Sega Sammy would feel the need to mess with them too much, just take advantage of the additional talent and IP. If it was a small, struggling company it'd be different, but it was Index that was at fault not them.

RainbowGazelle

#17

RainbowGazelle said:

Seeing a Sega have European base, does mean Europe might get more Atlus games than we previously did, because Sega can publish them here?

Rief

#19

Rief said:

It could be worse, now lets hope they don't interfer to much, or soon we will have a Persona-game about were-Personas...

Rafie

#21

Rafie said:

Extremely happy with this outcome. Glad Ninty didn't buy it. A company that will release games on all platforms would be better. It looks like it did. Very good news!

rjejr

#23

rjejr said:

My take-away from this news:

For all the people who keep saying - still - that Nintendo is doomed, Sega once made home video game consoles, then they stopped, now they are buying other companies (Relic recently), not nearly doomed. So, even if the Wii U is a bust, I think we can all agree that Nintendo has a larger and better staple of IP and talent to survive long after the Wii U is a distant memory. Like the Dreamcast.

Not to mention - I don't see how anyone can add Pokemon + Monster Hunter + Animal Crossing + Fantasy Life and have that = doomed.

Araknie

#27

Araknie said:

@cookiex Exactly, now Nintendo looks like a home for japanese gaming, doesn't it?

Good to hear also for SEGA, could be their time to reborn fully.

Royalblues

#28

Royalblues said:

Glad Sega bought it and not Nintendo. I just hope that this doesn't mean having Persona 5 announced, then stalled until the end of time. And they don't have to force sonic into everything. As a matter of fact, don't even so much as cameo him in an Atlus game. Freaking, yeah.
Now, all I want from SEGA is for them to make a new online Puyo Puyo game with dedicated servers to work around the world. And to release PSO2 here. Jeez.

crazycrazydave

#29

crazycrazydave said:

I think this could only be good news for Europeans who don't get a lot of Atlus games. Hopefully Altus will release some of their older games on Steam or the eShop.

Ralizah

#30

Ralizah said:

This had better not affect Atlus' excellent localization record in NA. Maybe they can finally publish Atlus games sooner in Europe, though.

SphericalCrusher

#32

SphericalCrusher said:

Wow. Way to start off this Wednesday! Although, it kinda fits... I'm hoping, as with other developers SEGA owns, that they keep the Atlus name around and do a good job with all of their products. Anyhow, as everyone's mentioned, I doubt this will effect localization. SEGA is also really good about that. Let's hope for the best!

Spoony_Tech

#34

Spoony_Tech said:

I DON'T like thses rumors I'm hearing about Seag using Atlus to make Smart phone games. They better leave them alone or ill be really ticked. I've bought 4 soon to be 5 games from then this year alone!!

thatguyEZ

#35

thatguyEZ said:

As long as I still have my Etrian Odyssey and Shin Megami Tensei I'm happy. But I'd hate to see Atlus degraded to making smart phone games. -_-

Zombie_Barioth

#36

Zombie_Barioth said:

@rjejr
That and It was several failed consoles in a row that finally brought down Sega, not just the Dreamcast. Thats what people like to fixate on, that it was the Dreamcast that did them in. It was just the last straw.

They're not the biggest power player in the industry anymore but they still hold a lot of weight and have some of the most experienced people in the industry on their side.

jayclayx

#37

jayclayx said:

why sega is buying up companies like atlus? what about all the force power they had before? like the amd's, smilebit, amusement, hitmaker, etc. I mean they were disintegrated all this amazing studios and then buy studios again? anyway Im not excited that Atlus is becoming part of sega since sammy holdings bought the company they just use the name and nothing left from the old sega anymore.

Bryon15

#40

Bryon15 said:

Disappointed. I wanted nintendo to get them. Sega is bad when it comes to localizing games outside Japan. What's the point if SMT x FE gets released but doesn't leave Japan? The Wii U is region locked. So there would be no way to play it.

Hamguar

#41

Hamguar said:

My biggest concern ,as previously stated, is that Sega's localization track record is abysmal. I do not know if it will bleed over to Atlus, but already from their statement in the acquisition they are not keen on leaving them alone to to what they do.. PC? SMT Pachinko? I honestly think they very likely will be gutting the goose that lays the golden egg as much as I hate to admit it.

ACK

#43

ACK said:

Two big fears. First, few Japanese developers have run as many talented dev teams into the ground as Sega. Their top talent has not stuck around in recent years, either.

Also, the first thing mentioned is PC, Arcade, and Mobile. Now I'm hoping this is just the investor buzzword of the month, but... I can't think of a much worse outcome than Atlus being relegated to Mobile development.

Honestly, Sega was one of the potential bidders that I feared the most. This is from someone who has loved Sega and watched the mass exodus of talent over the past decade with tears in my eyes.

Memeboy3

#44

Memeboy3 said:

I'm pissed of by this.. It ruined my day..Nintendo should've got Atlus..I hope Sega has Trouble like Index did so Nintendo Will buy Sega AND Atlus! I'll start by NOT buying Sonic lost world. Take THAT Sega Sammy! >;3

Caryslan

#45

Caryslan said:

@Memeboy3 Really? You want to see a company fail because Nintendo did not win a bidding war? Don't you think that's rather pathetic? Nintendo had their chance to get Atlus and they lost. Maybe you should be blaming Nintendo since it could be argued that Nintendo did not put enough money into buying Atlus.

Nintendo is not owed the rights to Atlus. This is not something that Sega just stole from poor innocent Nintendo. There was a bidding war for the rights to Atlus and Sega Sammy won it. As I said before, Nintendo had their chance, just like Capcom and Konami if they were the other rumored companies who were also bidding.

So, you won't buy Sonic Lost World because Nintendo could not do their end and outbid Sega? What did you expect Sega to do, bow out and allow Nintendo to just take it? You do realize that boycotting Sonic Lost World and not buying it could make Sega go back to PCs and other consoles, right? That could mean Nintendo loses one of the few third-party companies that really support them.

In the end, Nintendo had their chance to take Atlus. They were not owed any special treatment or were screwed over by Sega Sammy. If you want to blame anyone, go blame NIntendo who did not put enough money into buying Atlus.

Sega Sammy did not backstab anyone, and boycotting their Nintendo efforts will only send them to the PC, Playstation, and Xbox.

Memeboy3

#46

Memeboy3 said:

I overreact. alot!...especially after my ''butthurtness''...oh, i'll try and see if this will be very positive..i need to move on..but hey, some things that we may hate..we like, but i'll be VERY pissed if they mess up Persona or SMT, they need the biggestFire Shield! !

readyletsgo

#48

readyletsgo said:

Have Ninty and Sega announced their third and final exclusive game yet? Olympics one, lost world are the I know.

Anyone? Could a persona be one now?

WebHead

#51

WebHead said:

Hmm...I think even under Sega management the Etrian Odyssey series will probably stay Nintendo exclusive.

retro_player_22

#52

retro_player_22 said:

This makes me a happy gamer, would had turn out worst for some game if Ninty or Sony got Atlus. Besides the Shining Force and Shining Soul games for GBA were once published by Atlus so it's great Sega bought them this time.

GuSolarFlare

#53

GuSolarFlare said:

if the games keep coming without loss of quality there'll be no problems for me!
no objections! Sega's not bad.

WebHead

#54

WebHead said:

I can see Sony striking a deal with Sega to make Persona 5 exclusive to their playstation platforms.

Snkfiend

#56

Snkfiend said:

@WebHead You should know that's probably what's going to happen. Persona series been on PS since the first system so what the difference Nintendo has most of the SMT series.

element187

#58

element187 said:

LMAO, the meltdowns are going to be epic when Nintendo buys SEGA (it will happen eventually, SEGA isn't so great at managing their finances, just like in the 90's they are on a crash course to debt default)

element187

#59

element187 said:

"(3) maximize the value of acquired IPs by effectively deploying them in the Pachislot and Pachinko Machines segment, Amusement Machine Sales and Amusement Center Operations segments."

Translation: Sega wants to take the Shin Megami Tensei brand and it put it on gambling machines, and other merchandiise products.....

so they are going to soil SMT's brand by selling the likeness of the game/franchise/characters to the highest bidder.... the first one sounds like new Pachinko (gambling machines) with SMT logos and artwork on it. Sega is officially the worst company in the world.

element187

#60

element187 said:

@Spoony_Tech
@thatguyEZ

Smartphone and tablet games are the least of SMT/Persona problems. Sega is planning to make gambling machines, using SMT/Persona to sell Pachinko machines is sick.... They will turn these brands into the next Sanrio (Hello Kitty) company.

they basically license out the SMT/Persona brands to companies that need product recognition.

Caryslan

#61

Caryslan said:

@element187 And Hello Kitty makes tons of money because of all the products the brand appears on. I don't see the problem with the Persona characters being on licensed products as long as the quality of the games themselves is intact. Do people complain when Mario ends up on products ranging from snacks to clothing?

I just don't see the problem with Sega wanting to license out the characters for other companies to use on their products. Maybe the gambling machines is a step to far, but what's wrong with Persona t-shirts or other items?

People aren't up in arms when Mario, Pokemon, and Zelda can be found on licensed products, so what's the issue? As long as the games keep coming and they are good quality, does it really matter in the end? All the licensed products may even help the franchise in the long run.

element187

#62

element187 said:

@Caryslan Mario is a different kind of character. Its lighthearted and fun. I
don't take Mario seriously, I would expect to see his mug to be on lunchboxes.

Mario, Pokemon, Hello Kitty are adorable characters that are easily digestable by the mainstream. I don't see a hardcore demon slasher turn based game being able to penetrate the mainstream.

I don't see how marketing SMT/Persona to products not related to JRPG's will help the image of the franchises, but could only damage it. You know how many gamers are (especially the niche gamers) "If everyone likes something, Its not cool to like that something anymore" ... The franchises are not very popular to begin with and are very niche, it could hurt the series with the current fans. i guess if they feel its worth seeing if they can trade their current niche fans in for mainstream fans it could pay off. is it worth risking its corner of the market in search of chasing after a bigger payday?

Look at Nintendo, many of their old school fans gave up on the company in 2006/2007 because they felt they chased the casual market instead of them (I disagree, a company like Ninty can multi-task their customer base and direction).
Sega is going to chase the mainstream with the SMT/Persona brands. Will that make the current fanbase happy or sad do you think? Will that cause most of their current niche audience to seek somewhere else to spend their dollars? A disaster would be Sega kills their current fanbase in their search of making SMT/Persona mainstream at the same time those potential mainstream customers just don't enjoy the series.... I personally don't care, I love SMT and Persona, and will play the games no matter what. But take a look on NeoGAF, they are the quintessential barometer of the niche gaming market. They might be cheering the decision at the moment that SMT/Persona will have the publishing giant behind their series, but what do you think the stuck up-gamers will say about SMT as soon as they start to advertise to families, its going to be immediately uncool and bashed without mercy. If the move brings them more success, I'm all for it, but I would hate to see the niche market turn its back on Atlus because they wouldn't be able to recover from it. Nintendo will survive without the niche gamers.

edhe

#63

edhe said:

Great. I can't wait for all those niche Atlus games that will never reach the Wii U in Europe and America.

Kasplat

#65

Kasplat said:

@element187 you know atlus makes games OTHER than persona and SMT? Also I doubt theyd do much other than put jack frost's face of the pachinko machines.

ACK

#66

ACK said:

I have to say, that purchase price is mighty low. Much lower than rumors put the various offers (Sega included) and probably due to amount of debt held by Index. The dire financial straits they found themselves in, despite a prolific period of quality Atlus releases, do not bode well for those hoping Sega will maintain the status quo.

Hence, the reference to PC, Arcade, and Mobile; which are about as far removed from Atlus' past priorities as possible. This all seems born of a company looking to justify their purchase to investors and even themselves. Recently, Sega always seems to involved in any buyout rumors, so this falls in line with their "let's buy them because we can" philosophy. But rarely have their investments improved the outlook of those bought out... (And are particularly questionable given the amount of internal developer turnover Sega themselves have facilitated.)

And I struggle to find one recent example of a company who's best work came under Sega's leadership and/or control.

DarkKirby

#68

DarkKirby said:

This is a sad day. Sega owning Atlus likely means a large bulk of their games will not be released outside of Japan.

Where is the PSO2 localization Sega? WHERE THE HECK IS IT. First you said 1st 1/4 2013, than you said sometime 2013 like 2 days before the 1st 1/4 of 2013 ended, and you have refused to speak about it since! If it's not coming just say so!

CazTheGamerGuy

#69

CazTheGamerGuy said:

@Rief I would pay good money for a Halloween Persona spin-off. Were-sona: Night of Teddie.

To return to the original topic, this is worrisome, to say the least. Most people seem concerned over localization and not seeing their great games coming out to the West. My main issue is the possibility of lower quality products to be released by Atlus, as well as their horrible management over them. Take for example the recently released Rome: Total War II and the dead horse that needs to be beaten once again, Aliens: Colonial Marines. True, neither of them were made by SEGA, but they were both funded and published by them. Both of them were developed by an outside source, be it contracted by a separate entity or subsidiary within them. SEGA had a responsibility to make sure that the respective developers were and would have ample time to develop he game and not used those funds for other projects like Gearbox did. Twice. They failed to do their part for both games and as a result, we got one of the worst Aliens games to date and a poorly launched PC sequel to a highly successful strategy series.

To be clear, it is miles above, say, Konami buying them but either way, having XSEED or NIS would have been the superior choice in my eyes (Even though they likely didn't have the cash for it).

Also SEGA, when are you going to let me buy Valkyria Chronicles 2 on my Vita without borrowing a friend's PS3?

Hungry-Bear

#71

Hungry-Bear said:

I got a great idea, Sega. How about bringing all the Sakura Wars games in the western market. While you guys are at it, how about treating us with Shenmue HD collection. Dragon Force would be great as well.

WiiLovePeace

#72

WiiLovePeace said:

I don't think I really trust SEGA with Atlus, with the amount of staff & development houses they cut last year. I just hope that Atlus produce enough monies to keep themselves around or else SEGA might not think twice about ditching them as they have done to many others. I also hope they don't force feed Atlus into the smartphone & pachinko market & ignore the console market. Finally, I hope all current projects are seen to completion.

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