Atari's slow collapse continues with the loss of the company's most lucrative franchise. No, not Ghostbusters -- it's Dragon Ball, which has produced approximately a billion video games so far. The franchise will now go back to Namco Bandai, the original Japanese publisher of the series. According to a statement by Namco Bandai, the agreement will run for five years beginning in January 2010 and will supersede any existing publishing rights. In addition, Namco Bandai will publish the upcoming Dragon Ball: Raging Blast game for Xbox 360 and PS3, Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo for Wii, and Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans for DS all this year.
The loss of the Dragon Ball franchise is perhaps the greatest evidence of the financial challenges that face Atari. Earlier this year, the company pulled out of E3, sold its European publishing division, and even sold exclusivity rights for Ghostbusters, all presumably for a small cash influx. With Phil Harrison recently stepping down from his position at the company, it's clear that Atari will see even more troubled times ahead.