Some fairly significant news broke within the last twelve hours; the gist of it being that Index Corporation—already in danger from being kicked out of the Japanese stock market—are going bankrupt and will have to be restructured by creditors.
According to the official press release sent out by Index last night, the company will opt for “civil restructuring,” which will shift management partially to the debt-holders and a government-appointed mediator. Being that the game division is the most profitable facet of the business, they are apparently searching for a potential buyout/partnership with a larger investor in order to expand or completely jettison Atlus before things get worse. Below is a helpful chart to understand how Index is currently structured:
Like ’em or hate ’em, Atlus has built an impressive and successful back-catalog of niche titles and have had great success eyeing titles to publish under a supply-and-demand scheme. Their US division in particular deserves mention as a company that has always delivered in bringing in titles that probably wouldn’t have made the voyage across the pond in the first place—Demon’s Souls being a very recent example. Oh God, now it feels like I’m writing their eulogy.
Our take? If another, larger entity doesn’t buy ’em out (Nintendo, Sega Sammy or even Namco-Bandai are likely candidates due to their history with both publishers), Atlus (or perhaps their North American division) will probably end up being folded into Marvelous somehow—through some hot-potato shenanigans XSEED (now part of Marvelous and headed by former Atlus USA CEO Shinichi Suzuki) acquired Atlus Online earlier in the year and was gobbled up by Marvelous Entertainment shortly thereafter. This is obviously speculation, if we haven’t made this clear yet. Regardless, the industry at large recognizes them as a valuable entity so I don’t think we should fear for the future of the Megami Tensei series just yet. Atlus is no THQ, after all.