Chinese Company Buying Star Trek Online Developer Cryptic For $50M [UPDATED]

Two weeks ago Atari announced they were going to sell Star Trek Online developer Cryptic, and now they have found a buyer. Today it has been reported that Chinese gaming giant Perfect World will be be buying Cryptic for $50.3 million. Details below.


Cryptic Sold To Chinese Game Developer Perfect World

Today Chinese online game developer Perfect World Co. Ltd. announced that it is buying Cryptic Studios Inc. from Atari SA for about 35 million euros ($50.3 million). In late 2008 Atari paid $27 million for the Cryptic, who currently are running two MMOPRGs: Champions Online and Star Trek Online. Two weeks ago Atari announced that Cryptic was running at a loss and they intended to sell.

 Perfect World Chairman and CEO Michael Chi said in a statement:

We are very pleased to sign the agreement to acquire Cryptic Studios. This strategic acquisition will add attractive game titles to our portfolio, which will help us further penetrate into the U.S. and global online game markets. More importantly, Cryptic Studios’ highly reputable development team and its technology platform will further strengthen our well-established R&D capabilities. We deem this as another noteworthy achievement of our global expansion efforts.

No word yet on what effect (if any) the sale will have on the future of Star Trek Online. We will update this developing story as soon as new details are available.

UPDATE: Brief comment from Cryptic

Cryptic has not sent out an official release, and have pointed to the release from Perfect World and Atari. However a spokesperson from Cryptic sent the following reassurance via email:

We’re still 100% committed to supporting our titles and for us, day-to-day, things are pretty much business as usual.

TrekMovie will continue to monitor this ongoing story.


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Fun and games!

Coming soon, cheap pirated copies of all things Trek…..

Coming from World of Warcraft, I’m a bit wary when China gets involved in a video game. I hope this doesn’t affect things too adversely.

Perfect seed of destruction there

All part of their plan. Numing the minds of Americans into submissiveness through the passivity of the video-game-addicted masses. Oh wait, they said that in the late 70’s when we were pumping quarters into the arcades. Guess Japan fukushima-ed up that plan. Will the Chinese do it better?

To be optimistic, Perfect World wouldn’t be interested in buying Cryptic unless they thought it would generate profit potential. That is to say they believe that Star Trek Online can succeed.

3. Dr. Cheis – May 31, 2011
“Coming from World of Warcraft, I’m a bit wary when China gets involved in a video game. I hope this doesn’t affect things too adversely.”

Perfect World also purchased Runic Games but have had a “hands-off” approach regarding that game and so will likely allow Cryptic free reign with CBS continuing to monitor.

STO players have been buzzing about this all morning both in-game and on the forums and the initial reaction from a loud few was a little biased towards China but the majority are embracing the change especially after becoming more aware of PW’s other game offerings and…nobody likes Atari.

Regarding the Star Trek franchise, this may be a very good thing since Star Trek could really benefit from more marketing in non-U.S. markets.

@vystral You are completely correct, they wouldn’t buy them unless they thought they could use the company to generate a profit. However, that doesn’t mean they think that STO, as it is, will generate a profit for them.

What is more likely is that they’re doing it just to control Cryptic’s assets. This could be anything from their actual hardware and office infrastructure, to the talent of their staff, or one of their other valuable assets: ie: the highly valuable rights that Cryptic holds to produce a Star Trek MMORPG for Paramount.

What this company wants is the Trek license that Cryptic holds so they can turn it into some awful even more watered down Trek game with an economy that has an even greater emphasis on real life currency. Hence, making it profitable in the short term before the game burns out.

@7. Allenburch – May 31, 2011
Good to know the company has a history of not screwing up games. I was concerned mainly because:
1) China has a poor reputation with “gold selling” services in MMOs
2) China delayed World of Warcraft’s expansion, Wrath of the Lich King for years because of government censors demanding they remove references to supernatural elements… which is kind of what the game is about.

9. Dr. Cheis – “China delayed World of Warcraft’s expansion, Wrath of the Lich King for years because of government censors demanding they remove references to supernatural elements… which is kind of what the game is about.”

lol – Have you seen PWs games? …supernatural elements abound…

Da svidaniya, Star Trek Online!

JJ delays

No one pays.


Star Trek always seems to require active content either in cinemas or on TV to maintain interest in the computer games. I think EA actually sued Paramount once for not providing enough new content as a reason for slow game sales.

The delay of ST2012 will make it a second re-boot in the eyes of many consumers, especially in markets where barely anyone knows about “Trek,” like China.

The Opium war REVERSED!

i’m just waiting for the Troll i was dueling previously on this topic, with to comment. Honestly i dont know what to make of this but it can at least be considered a possive note in STO’s favor…

I play STO sience day one (soon to be 500 days vet) and this its a GRATE news for the game!

Atari sucks! And new team its caming rigth now to STO. From game producer: We have new blood starting in June as the team adds a new character artist, a new software engineer, and a new content designer. We’re still looking to hire an additional systems and content designer as well. I don’t know about you – but that has me really excited. Anytime our team grows like this is means more awesome is on the way.

14. Manumayi

Just to add, here is the conclusion of that post from Dan Stahl on 5/17/2011:

We also have new blood starting in June as the team adds a new character artist, a new software engineer, and a new content designer. We’re still looking to hire an additional systems and content designer as well. I don’t know about you – but that has me really excited. Anytime our team grows like this is means more awesome is on the way.

SO yes – it has been a long haul since the last feature episode series and I cannot wait to get back to a real cadence of content releases. It is driving me nuts too. Just a few more weeks and you’ll start seeing a ton more sneak peaks from me as we begin to tease the stuff you’ll be playing soon.

Don’t let the news or other worries get you down. STO is doing very well as a game and I’m not going anywhere and the team is rock solid behind making this game more awesome every day.

Thank you to everyone who gives us credit across the web for continuing to improve this game. We are still going strong and have high hopes that by anniversary year 2 – you’ll be saying that the game has improved yet again since even year 1.

Live Long and Prosper STO”

@ 11 – it was Activision who sued Paramount for not making the most of their Star Trek franchise thus leaving Activision with a license that had no profitable future.

I hope that I’m right when I say I think we’ll see something massive announced at SDCC this year including BIG license holders coming out of the woodwork like EA Games, Lego and Hasbro. If not then I think it’s pretty much certain that the Star Trek sequel will come out in the summer of 2013 unless Paramount/CBS want to kamikaze Star Trek again and run it up against Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” in the fall of 2012 – PLEASE DONT DO THIS PARAMOUNT!!!!!!

It’s a shame that it seems Star Trek has once again struggled to move from script to production. It means that all the amazing work JJ Abrams and Co. Did to bluster Star Trek’s reputation in 2009 would have been undone since 4 years is a pretty long time for your average joe to wait unless they are putting out an animated series next year keeping the dying flame alive running up to a movie in 2013?

I’m all for the secrecy but certain things should be trickled out just so people can build their excitement otherwise people will just forget it and Paramount will have to spend more millions on advertising Star Trek 2

What will they call their gold farmers then?

17. Latinum Farmers? Ferengis?

Atari paid $27.00 for Cryptic??? Holy Talosian!


I play Perfect World International and the game just keeps going downhill. The In-game economy is a mess, they rarely fix any bugs… or they end up causing new ones. Their shop-item sales are lame, and further the in-game economic decline. And their support team takes forever to respond to tickets, and they rarely respond with a favourable answer. If STO ends up being run similarly, well… I wouldn’t be too hopeful about it. :\

Hopefully they’ll come out with a Mac version of it so us mac people can play it!


Get a PC.


Boot Camp works wonders.

I just dont feel right with the Chineese owning Cryptic. I can’t imagine this being a good thing yet.

This is good news.

Anyone bashing it simply wants STO, a great game, to fail.

I would have thought that Cryptic would be worth a lot more. Who knew?

We are Perfect World.

Resistance is futile.

Geez what great news.

Listen #25, the people who are against this don’t hate STO and want to see it fail, far from it. They realize, and rightfully so, that this is very very bad news.

Yet another example of a mass murdering dictatorship trying to gain legitimacy in the eyes of the world. There’s nothing new here. For decades the mafioso have used legit buisnesses the launder their blood money. That is what is happening here.

Oh yes, the Chinese have so honored the concept of IDIC. Ask the students in Tinaman Square. Lots and lots of tolorence there. Don’t fool yourself. The “Free” market in China is allowed to happen only as long as it benefits the communist dictators.

So this “Company” that is buying Cryptic is an arm of the dictatorship. So pay your montly fees, and the money, at least some of it, will flow into the hands that have a strangle hold on the chinese people. And with that money they can continue their military build up. They can continue to help North Korea with it’s Nuclear program, and help fund the government of Pakistan so it can continue to harbor terrorists. Oh, and sned materials and technicians so Iran can have the bomb. All parts of IDIC.

So really, good news? Before you pay one more cent to Cryptic you better think about who the real masters are and where the money is going to.

Yay- more of our country signed over to China. Sign your kids up for Mandarin classes folks.

28. Jim Durdan

Corruption is everywhere…Tough to get away from it…Just think about where approximately 1/3 of our income goes…

Well I for one wish them all the best of luck for the future!
(I’ll keep flying around in STO whichever god-like beings allow me to do so)
I’d like some chinese money too. I wonder if they’d buy my TV pilot? :)

You come to me and tell me Naughty Dog, or UbiSoft or Rockstat has purchased Trek, then I’m in. As long as Trek is relegated to the near-obsolete world of PC gaming, and not the Primetime of console games, Trek gaming is dead to me.

Paramount must reboot or even create the A level Trek Gaming franchise, the way they did with JJ’s film. Put the money and creative forces behind it and make a great, story based console adventure title, ie Mass Effect, Assasin’s Creed or Drake’s Fortune.


Communism is not corruption. It is a form of government that debases the human spirit.

Corruption occurs in a free society that is not regulated enough, or over regulated.

Communism is organized, and enshrined, despotism that feels that the people are nothing more or less than a resource to be exploited and then tossed away when their usefulness is done. It is not corruption, it is rule by subjugation and terror.

Do you know what happens in China when you procreate and have more than one male child? The child is killed and the parents face imprisonment or death. So that is what your subscription fees are going to support. In China, the state is the economy and the economy is the state,

Any one who wants to dispute that is just trying to ignore the truth.

What do you think Gene Roddenberry thought of communism? Any form of government that stifles free expression is an enemy of the people.

Trek never could have been made, or even existed in a government rule like the Chinese government.

As far as 1/3 of our income going to corruption, think of this. Over the last 10 years China has increased, on average, it’s military budget by 11.8% a year. While we are disarming, China is super sizing. Who are the Chinese preparing to fight? Korea? India? Japan? or US?

Truly good use of the subscription fees.

It is possible a different company might see certain Cryptic Operations as useless and might cease them. Perhaps STO is on the chopping block ? I think its a good time to move over to a Free-To-Play model now. They’d probably earn a lot of profit. Just like Lord of the Rings Online.

Unbelievable levels of xenophobia here.

@Jim Durdan:

I’m pretty sure my subscription fees aren’t going to support killing children. I’m pretty sure they are going to support a private company.

But hey. I’m sure you are doing fine in life without buying clothing, or electronics, or anything else that has components made in China and/or are from companies with a Chinese parent org.

Racist fearmongering, sadly, FTW.

33. Jim Durdan

Completely agree regarding the reality of Communism, (although it did look good on paper: Watch “Young Indiana Jones – Adventures in the Secret Service”), and I am not saying that “1/3 of our income (goes) to corruption”, only that we can’t say precisely where are tax-money goes to, (for example: Gadhafi).

I understand precisely what you are saying regarding revenue and a Chinese-based company.

There is, however, another facet of this development. Never underestimate the power of a single thought, in this case – the hopeful idealism expressed through the Star Trek Universe and Trek fans in general. Whose to say that such communications between freedom-loving folks and those who are subjected to communistic-restrictions may actually help prevent further harsh treatment?

Did you ever see the movie entitled “The Russians Are Coming?”
When that movie was shown to members of the Communist Party in Russia, many expressed strong disapproval at the way the Russian submarine captain threatened the town and the children gathered there, but when the crew and townspeople united to save a little girl who was in danger of falling to her death…the Russian audience cheered and cried.

Just a thought.

Sadly no one really cares if this survives or not. There is no one clammoring for this Trek game, or any other specific Trek title, because the game itself hasn’t earned it.


What part of Communism do you not get. Their are no “private” companies. They exist only because the state allows then to exist. And they support that government by funneling money back to their masters. Their are no private companies, like there are no individual rights.

Who is being xenophobic or racist. Not one bad word has been said about the Chinese people. Now the Chinese government is a different story, it is xenophobic, fearing the west and what it represents. It fears new ideas, It fears freedom.

Tell me Chris H. were you alive when Tinaman Square happened? Did you watch the 24 hour news channels like the entire world did, cheering on the students as they voiced the demand for a free society. Did you also watch as the benevolent and loving Communist government sent in tanks and ran over the tents loaded with students and any an all bystanders. That is where your money is going to.

Are you not troubled by this? By the fact that the Chinese Government is approaching the point where it can destroy the American economy by just selling off it’s investment in Treasuries. That we face a form of economic and technological warfare that we are unprepared for.

As for buying Chinese goods, I wish I had more non communist options. But sadly I do not. But I do have the option not to play STO. I don’t need it to survive and their are plenty of other online universes that are as good or better than STO, including WOW and DCUO.

So #35, please understand, no one here has said anything against the Chinese people, many detest the government. I am saddened that you answer the argument by yelling racism.

As for the fear-mongering, their is much to fear from China. The Cold war isn’t over, it just shifted to the far east, and we have been ignoring the horrible truth.

Gosh sakes ppl. Relax.

Leave China alone. LOL

Only after China leaves it’s people alone, stops exporting nuclear technology to countries like Iran, and does all it can to subvert the US.

It it truly depressing how many of the younger people of the west have no idea what the true horror that is communism.

” We will hang you, and you will sell us the rope” – Khrushchev

WOW ! Glenn Beck needs a new chalk-board.

Think about this, without China’s powerhouse economy you wouldn’t enjoy cheap consumer goods and, Ironically, Star Trek toys (-:

While supporting a government that has killed tens of millions of its own people.

So cheap trek toys are worth the deaths?

Time to reevaluate priorities.

Have a look around and see what country the products in you your home came from, and if you really want to be Pius, throw the Chinese imports into the trash.

btw, thanks for twisting what I said , very juvenile behavior there Jim.


Warning for political trolling

Thanks Anthony, confirmed what I have always thought about the bent of this site. When is telling the truth trolling? Oh thats right, no freedom of speach here, it to is a dictatorship.

By the way Pascale, use the first name, or both, but just the last name is so uncivil of you.

I see this as a good outcome, they could have been bought by worse, Perfect World have a great rep from providing great games and keeping them updated and fun.
Good times ahead for STO and CO XD

Console games…really? When was the last time you looked at the Gpu, CPU, and memory of a console that can compare to a pc? Consoles suk.


Tear down that wall!”
– Reagan
So, who was right?

Aside from some arguments inferring communist infiltrators as opposed to a Chinese capitalist hostile take-over (I’m being snarky) of a company here, ahem, I’m sad to see this sale. imho Trek is a great American product, why the hell let that go to a foreign interest? I play World Of Warcraft and I don’t see Blizzard (the company that created the game and still regularly develops it) selling it’s soul to any corporation out there. Why would they? So I don’t get it. Why sell Cryptic? Didn’t you only just start creating Trek Online? Will the game still be developed or will it be left to gather dust?

Having said that, I’d be curious to see what a Chinese company does if they do continue to develop Trek Online. That’s capitalism for ya. ;p