Atari buys Cryptic

MMO developers side with Big Phil

US MMO specialists Cryptic have been acquired by European publisher Atari in what could well be the biggest business deal of the season, the online experts having cut their teeth on NCsoft's popular City of Heroes.

The developer are presently working on Champions Online, and Star Trek Online, two big-name titles which will be released next year and in 2010 respectively.

Another, secret project is also said to be underway at the firm, in the ascendancy for some time, who recently hired Blizzard co-founder Bill Roper to help improve Champions Online still further.

It is unclear how much Atari paid to land Cryptic, but the sum is unlikely to be trifling given the other firms that must have been interested, Phil Harrison presumably happy to be furthering Atari's stake in the online business he views as the future.

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