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Hasbro Interactive

Hasbro Interactive
Industry Interactive entertainment
Computer and video games
Fate Acquired by Infogrames
Successor Infogrames Interactive (renamed Atari Interactive in 2003)
Founded 1995
Defunct 2001
Headquarters Alameda, California & Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Parent Hasbro

Hasbro Interactive was an American video game production and publishing subsidiary of Hasbro, the large game and toy company. Several of its studios were closed in early 2000 and most of its properties were sold to Infogrames which completed its studio's closures in 2001.

Contents

  • History 1
    • Strong growth 1.1
    • Sale to Infogrames 1.2
    • Buy-back 1.3
  • Published games 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

History

Hasbro Interactive was formed late in 1995 in order to compete in the video game arena. Several Hasbro properties, such as Monopoly and Scrabble, had already been made into successful video games by licensees such as Virgin Interactive. With Hasbro's game experience, video games seemed like a natural extension of the company and a good opportunity for revenue growth. Hasbro Interactive's objective was to develop and publish games based on Hasbro property and the subsidiary existed for six years.

Strong growth

In 1997 revenues increased 145% going from USD$35 million to $86 million.[1]

Hasbro Interactive embarked on both internal and external development, and acquired some smaller video game developers and publishers such as MicroProse for $70 million[2] and Avalon Hill for $6 million[3] both in 1998. Hasbro acquired the rights for 300 games when it purchased Avalon Hill.[3] With those acquisitions Hasbro Interactive revenues increased 127% in 1998 to $196 million and profits of $23 million.[1] Hasbro Interactive was growing so fast that there was talk of reaching $1 billion in revenues by 2002.[1] They also purchased the remaining brands and other intellectual property rights of Atari Corp. from JTS, and engaged in some other video game licensing, such as Frogger from Konami. They sought to use Hasbro board game brands, MicroProse titles, Avalon Hill and Wizards of the Coast as leverage to increase revenues.

Hasbro Interactive became the #3 video game publisher within three years of its founding. But in 1999, Hasbro Interactive lost $74 million on revenues of $237 million a growth of just 20% over the previous year.[1] Late in 1999 with several game projects underway and dozens of new employees, many of who moved just to work for the company, Hasbro Interactive shut down several studios in a cost-cutting move. The studios affected included the former MicroProse offices located in Alameda, California and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. A game development company, Vicious Cycle Software, was started by employees laid off in the North Carolina Hasbro Interactive studio closing. In 4 years Hasbro Interactive's revenue increased 577%.

Sale to Infogrames

By the middle of 2000, the dot-com bubble had burst, Hasbro share price had lost 70% of its value in just over a year and Hasbro would post a net loss the first time in two decades.[1]

Faced with these difficulties, in January 2001 Hasbro sold 100% of Hasbro Interactive to the French software company Infogrames.[4] The sale included nearly all of their video game related rights and properties, the Atari brand and Hasbro's Game.com division, legendary developer MicroProse and over 250 software titles,[4] but didn't include Avalon Hill property. Hasbro Interactive's sale price was $100 million being $95 million as 4.5 million common shares of Infogrames and $5 million in cash.[5][6] Under the terms of the sale agreement, Infogrames gained the rights to develop games based on Hasbro properties for a period of 15 years plus an option for an additional 5 years based on performance.[6] Hasbro Interactive became Infogrames Interactive and after May 2003 was renamed to Atari Interactive Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Infogrames Entertainment SA (IESA).[7][8] Infogrames (now itself known as Atari SA) still maintains ownership of the original Atari properties received through Hasbro which are kept in their Hasbro Interactive originated placeholder, Atari Interactive, Inc.[8]

Buy-back

In 2005, Hasbro bought back the digital gaming rights for their properties from Atari for $65 million.[9] In the deal, Atari's parent company acquired a 10-year exclusive deal to produce video games based on 10 key Hasbro franchises, including Dungeons & Dragons, Monopoly, Scrabble, Game of Life, Battleship, Clue, Yahtzee, Simon, Risk, Boggle and Night Trap. Hasbro bought back the digital rights to Transformers, My Little Pony, Tonka, Magic: The Gathering, Connect Four, Candyland and Playskool.

Published games

Hasbro Interactive published over 160 games on several interactive media.[10] Included among them are:

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Hasbro Interactive from Tuck School of Business (PDF)
  2. ^ "Hasbro Buying Alameda's MicroProse" from the San Francisco Chronicle
  3. ^ a b "The Fall of Avalon Hill" from the Academic Gaming Review
  4. ^ a b "8-Bit Operating Systems"
  5. ^ "Company News; Hasbro Completes Sale Of Interactive Business" from The New York Times
  6. ^ a b Infogrames Entertainment to Acquire Hasbro Interactive and Games.com press release archive from Thomson Financial
  7. ^ Atari Interactive, Inc. from Allgame
  8. ^ a b Summary of Atari Inc. from Yahoo! Finance
  9. ^ Hasbro buys back digital rights from Infogrames from MCVUK.com
  10. ^ Games published and developed by Hasbro Interactive from IGN

External links

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