[UPDATE 2] And it’s official. SEGA Sammy has bought Index Holdings (Atlus’ parent company). It looks like Nikkei simply reported something too early, and SEGA Sammy attempted to curb some of the damage. You can read the report and see for yourself. SEGA will not take on Index’s debt, but instead their properties.
[UPDATE] SEGA Sammy is reporting that they have not made any moves regarding the acquisition of Index Holdings and are denying Nikkei‘s reports. Although it is true that they did bid on the company. The original article will follow below. Any further updates will be added up here.
I’m a little conflicted here, but first the news. It’s been reported in Nikkei that SEGA Sammy has successfully bought out all the assets from Index Holdings that involved Atlus (currently a subsidiary of the company). Earlier this year Index was in a bit of trouble when it was discovered that the company was performing some illegal activities with its finances and unable to pay off its debt. It got to the point where police stormed the offices and was under investigation for fraud. Since then things never improved Index filed for a form of Bankruptcy in Japan, putting itself up for auction. SEGA Sammy was the highest bidder and has bought them. Etrian Odyssey Untold: Millennium Girl is currently the only prior engagement to not be affected by the acquisition.
Now this has many Atlus fans a little nervous as to what will come of this. A common concern from fans is SEGA’s track record on localization, which has been rather poor as of late. Fans on the SEGA side have demanded localization on games like Yakuza 5 and Valkyria Chronicles 3, but to no avail. Even more troubling was SEGA’s unwillingness to fund Bayonetta 2, leaving it up to Nintendo to save it from the brink of cancellation. This as SEGA’s western plans (as of April 2012) was to focus on more safer titles since they too had financial troubles (which makes you wonder where they got the money to make such biddings).
On the other side, some fans believe that this might be a good thing as more games might get localized with SEGA using the company and brand to improve on their own inability localize many games. The third belief is that things will continue as they are, and SEGA Sammy will allow Atlus to operate like normal without much corporate meddling.
It’s too early to tell what will happen next as this was just announced, and November is still two months away. But what happens next for this acquisition will be big for the niche scene, especially for the Atlus Faithful. No word yet on what will happen to Atlus USA.