By Ishaan . February 18, 2014 . 6:15am
Atlus, developers of the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona games, have been through quite the ride these past few years. A ride that, as of this morning, has come full circle. Below is a rundown of the events to help you get caught up.
From Atlus to Index:
In 2010, Index Holdings, the company that owned Atlus and Japanese animation studio Madhouse, announced that it was dissolving “Atlus” as a separate entity, and merging the company with “Index,” their internal mobile content division.
While Index Holdings would continue to use the Atlus label to publish games, “Atlus” as a company would not be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and would be part of Index Holdings instead. Shortly after this development, Index Holdings went on to change their name to “Index Corporation”. Alongside these events, Atlus USA was renamed to “Index Digital Media”.
Unfortunately, at the end of this saga, Index Corporation filed for bankruptcy in mid-2013, owing to 2.45 billion yen in outstanding debt and other factors.
From Index to Sega and Back Again:
Late last year, Sega Sammy acquired Index Corporation, the Atlus brand, their I.P. and studios. At the time, Sega established a subsidiary named “Sega Dream Corporation” to acquire and handle all of Index’s business operations.
Prior to this acquisition, Sega were already a distributor for Atlus’ games in Japan. You may recall that Sega hosted a trailer for Shin Megami Tensei IV at their Tokyo Game Show booth in 2012. Additionally, Sammy, Sega’s sister company, held 5,280 shares in Index already.
Following their acquisition of Index Corporation, Sega then changed the name of “Sega Dream Corporation” to “Index Corporation,” which essentially meant that Index Corporation—now operating under its previous name once more—was a direct subsidiary of Sega Sammy, instead of simply being part of Sega Dream Corporation.
From Index, back to Atlus:
This morning, Sega announced yet another change to their business structure, which will affect Index. On April 1st, Sega will separate “Index” from “Atlus,” splitting the console game development branch off into a separate entity once more. Index will be renamed to Atlus and Atlus USA—currently referred to as Index Digital Media—will go back to being “Atlus USA”. Atlus has 121 employees in total.
Meanwhile, a newly-formed Index Corporation will focus on content distribution, systems development, Internet advertising and other related industries. The goal of splitting the game development branch off and establishing a separate branch for these aforementioned industries is to encourage the development of new businesses. Index has 166 employees at present.
Yukio Sugino will now serve as the new representative for Atlus. Prior to his new position, Sugino was on the board of Index Corporation and was Sega’s managing director in addition to being the director of Index. Meanwhile, Yasuhiko Hamada, who serves as executive vice president of Index Corporation will now be Index’s new representative.