Atari buys MMO dev Cryptic Studios

With all of the activity coming out of Atari lately, you'd think the once-struggling publisher stumbled across a bag of cash under the house. The company, which recently has made a habit of picking up other publisher's unwanted cast offs, today acquired City of Heroes developer Cryptic Studios in what describes as a "performance-linked deal."

The agreement includes three of Cryptic's upcoming projects, including next year's super powered MMO, Champions Online, Star Trek Online in 2010 and an as-yet-unannounced third project (Hint: something Online?) due the year after that. What's more, the report suggests that in addition to the $26.7 million in cash that Cryptic pocketed from the deal, the developer could see its coffers grow by another $20 million bonus should enough players decide to suit up in tights or explore the final frontier.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.