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Acclaim Entertainment Files for Bankruptcy 118

Posted by michael
from the insert-credit-to-continue dept.
Prof. Jonathan Ezor, Touro Law Center writes "According to this story in Long Island Business News, Acclaim Entertainment has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the Eastern District of New York bankruptcy court, meaning it will liquidate its assets and shut down. The story states in part, 'Computer game maker Acclaim Entertainment (Nasdaq: AKLM) has filed for voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would result in the liquidation of the company's assets. The company filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Central Islip that estimated its debts at more than $100 million and its assets at $10 million to $50 million. The filing said it had more than 200 creditors.' Game Over."
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Acclaim Entertainment Files for Bankruptcy

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  • by captnitro (160231) * on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:07PM (#10133618)
    With recent titles such as American Pro Trucker [acclaim.com] and Mary Kate and Ashley: Sweet 16 [acclaim.com], it's almost hard to believe they were losing money.
  • Constructor (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Talrias (705583) <chrisNO@SPAMstarglade.org> on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:10PM (#10133637) Homepage
    Constructor was my favourite Acclaim game, grumpy foremen, hired gangsters, people who you were supposed to thank after you moved them into a *pyramid* (surely it should be the other way around...), sending around the undesirables to mess up your opponent's city (go the clown!).

    A great game - I've never seen anything quite like it. Anyone know of anything similar to this?
  • by OldMiner (589872) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:14PM (#10133658) Journal

    On July 9th of last year, Penny Arcade predicted this [penny-arcade.com], perhaps in not as many words. And, they had the good class to make a cat catapult while they were at it. Is there anything Tycho and Gabe can't do?

  • by shfted! (600189) <shiftedMPAA@RIAAshifted.ca minus evil> on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:15PM (#10133665) Journal
    So if I'm a creditor, where do I file if I have acclaim against them?
    • Re:Creditor info... (Score:2, Informative)

      by Detritus (11846)
      I think you need to talk to the clerk of the bankruptcy court for the proper forms. If you are listed in the company's records as a creditor, they may already have you on a mailing list for more details on the bankruptcy and how to proceed.
    • by EnVisiCrypt (178985) <groovetheorist&hotmail,com> on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:26PM (#10133745)
      It's a shame that the spelling so bad here on slashdot that people are actually missing the joke and are giving the guy advice on how to proceed.

      Geesh. What a bunch of maroons.
  • good riddance... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by I judge you (796415)
    ...to bad luggage.

    Among the whole field of lousy game publishers, they were very close to the bottom. Maybe outshined by crooks at Take Two? Not that Acclaim wasn't crooked...

  • by accelleron (790268) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:22PM (#10133717)
    There was a point when Acclaim titles were respected. Turok was one of them, until they screwed it up with the XBOX version. South Park's FPS was a fun little game while it lasted, as well as countless other good games I can credit these guys with.

    as far as I can see, though, they have failed to innovate:

    South Park's N64 FPS, years ago, had run-shoot-run-button-shoot-run type gameplay. Since then, games have become increasingly more innovative, better-looking, and sleeker/more intuitive. Acclaim, though, hung on to their old business model, lost enough market share to go to the ranks of ValuSoft, and even then failed to realize their mistake and improve on it. Now, the former captain has sunk with his ship.

    The Queen Is Dead. Long Live The Queen.
    • There was a point when Acclaim titles were respected.

      When? No fan of FPSes that were actually good liked Turok, and that's the only Acclaim game I can think of that wasn't completely trashed by the public.

      Rob
    • wasn't Acclaim running some lame promotion where people had to change their names to Turok for a year or something? was that already over or are those people getting nothing for having a stupid name for a year? what were they supposed to be getting anyhow? i forget
      • IIRC that was to promote Turok 2, an N64 game. If the promotion weren't cancelled (they canned it because of the backlash) it would have been over for many years now.
        • The promotion wasn't cancelled, it was a PR stunt and a hoax. As was the guy suposedly camping outside a store for a year to be the first to buy Turok whatever, as was their plan on putting ads on gravestones, as was their offer to pay people's speeding tickets on the release of Burnout.
  • Wow,

    Well, this looks like the end for Mortal Combat as well then. I haven't played it since #2 but it was still an amazing game for the time and one of my personal favorites.
    • Re:Mortal Combat (Score:1, Informative)

      by illuminata (668963)
      Mortal Kombat is in safe enough hands as Midway is the developer. Acclaim just played publisher for a bit (MK I and II home releases). MK Deception will not be affected by this.

      On a side note, way to be late with this story Slashdot.
    • Mortal Combat (Kombat?) and their other franchises will live on, as the good ones that have name recognition will be purchased at the Bankruptcy liquidation (and/or one company will purchase all assets outright, without the burden of the debts).

      Never fear, the brands will continue to exist, but just in the hands of other companies.

    • Uhhhhhh Mortal Kombat is owned by Midway. Acclaim did some of the ports in the early console days.
    • It shows you haven't played it since II ; It's Mortal Kombat .
  • Job opportunities (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MasterDirk (659057)

    Taken from Acclaim's own pages, right now ( linkage [acclaim.com]):

    Acclaim Entertainment is one of the world's leading developers and publishers of video games. We are proud of the brands we have made famous over the years - brands such as Mortal Kombat, Turok, All-Star Baseball and Dave Mirra's BMX - but we are not content to rest on our laurels. Our industry is evolving at an ever increasing speed and we must continually push the boundaries of technology to provide entertaining, exciting and challenging video games.

  • by Deadguy2322 (761832) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:27PM (#10133758)
    God is Alive and benevolent!!!
  • Game publishers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RsG (809189) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:29PM (#10133770)
    Is it just me or are game publishers dying off? Sierra, Interplay and now Acclaim are all gone, or as good as dead. Moreover, IMHO we're seeing less and less new titles, and more sequels, rip-offs and shovelware.

    A long time ago I read something to the effect that we'll see the death of the game industry (computer and console) if Moore's law slows down/stops/ceases to aplly to gaming. If new technology can't improve on last years games by a significant margin, then the industry's business model is in _real_ trouble (which might explain the abundance of sequels).

    I know that, other than Doom 3 and Thief 3, it's been a long time since I bought a new release (no, I don't pirate). The last few original games I've liked had gameplay that was refined, but not really _new_ as such. Dungeon Siege, for example, was basically Diable meets Icewind Dale; it was good and well executed, but not really a new idea.

    I'm not being a nostalgic geezer here, I really think we could be in trouble. Anyone care to comment?
    • Re:Game publishers (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MistaE (776169)
      I think you're right. The only companies that are 'well off' in the current video game world are the big boys such as EA and SquareEnix. The smaller companies are either getting assimilated by the big companies or are being forced to close up shop because they can't afford risks.

      On the other hand this seems to foreshadow a time when developers will HAVE to make a decent game or else they will be dead in the water. If you succeed, you are rewarded with some money to back up your crew in the form of a buyou
    • I totally have to agree with you on this..

      I've been bitching about the lack of effort in the game market for quite some time.

      [IMHO]
      There aren't many game companies left that actually put in all the marbles into their games... those that do (Blizzard, ID, And some others) are still the strong contenders in the market.

      The main problem is the sheer number of games that are coming out.. and their lousy execution. I blame the game companies that license their engines to pretty much any1 with the money. Thats
      • Re:Game publishers (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Here's my idea of what needs to happen:
        -Companies need to stop making crappy FPS's and Crappy RTS's.
        -They need to focus on gameplay instead of graphics
        -Start including good music, and something we rarely see: Story!!!

        Wow. Is that really your idea of what needs to happen? That's so fresh. I've never heard any of those vague, undefined points delivered with such a lack of apparent irony before this.
    • Well, about 30 games developers have gone bust in the UK alone in the last 18 months...
    • Re:Game publishers (Score:1, Insightful)

      by liminality (695708)
      i hear what you are saying about business consolidation, but do you really feel that the video game industry is experiencing a nadir of quality right now? what strikes me about the names "sierra", "acclaim" is that they produced a lot of garbage the market wasnt buying, adn that their demise is not an indicator of things gone astray but things going right. the games i've been playing the last year or two have been the best ever, and the sheer number of quality titles is greater than ive ever known in the p
    • Re:Game publishers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AltaMannen (568693) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @09:03PM (#10134392)
      "Is it just me or are game publishers dying off? Sierra, Interplay and now Acclaim are all gone"

      Add 3DO to that list and see the pattern. Abandon quality and people stop buying the games!

      "I know that, other than Doom 3 and Thief 3, it's been a long time since I bought a new release (no, I don't pirate)."

      If you didn't buy any other games and didn't play them as a buccaneer, how can you know if you like the games or not? I rarely ever play PC games anymore because I don't like FPS games, but that doesn't mean that I think all PC games are bad, I just don't know about them.

      I think as long as games sell more or roughly the same amount of dollars as the year before everything is great. And as much as the press calls for innovation and complexity I rather like a lot of current and older games and wouldn't mind playing similar games again. Added complexity is mostly just annoying.

      So no, I don't think the game industry is in trouble. Getting rid of a publisher that produced almost only really bad titles can not be a bad thing for game industry!
      • Re:Game publishers (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @11:40PM (#10135295)
        I'd agree with that in principle if Acclaim wasn't such a large publisher of games (they've got quite a list of titles)...

        Sure, there are independent developers making crap and dying off all the time, but that's been true of every industry. When the big companies start dying off and/or not being able to find a game that isn't terrible, something larger is amiss. I think we're seeing what is going to happen inevitably to the entire marketplace if the big companies don't stop making MOTS and focusing on graphics and framerates to the nth degree.

        I haven't bought a new release in quite some time for any console or my PC/Macs. The games I have bought are used titles of games like Disgaea and La Pucelle Tactics (and Silent Storm 2 for the PC.) The whizzbang movie-tie-in or whatnot hasn't even been on my rent list since I tried to play Blade on the consoles. Bleh.

        Anyway, the point I'm trying to make (or not, it's been a long day)... is that we're seeing a hyper expansive version of the days before the crash of 84. (mainly it's expansive is because games and console entertainment in general are much more a part of society than in 1984.)

        Tons of games are going into the bargain bin (shovelware galore) before you even get a chance to read up on the title, companies are dropping like flies, the "next big thing" is not giving people cause to do their traditional "want it now!" drool-fest. I am thinking if the PS3 and XBox Next aren't leaps and bounds over their current offerings, it's going to collapse under its own weight. The big companies are launching tons of "also-rans" of the last big hit, seeing if any of them will stick... and I just don't think even EA has the financial cushion to keep doing this forever. That's just a guess, of course.

        (and I miss TBS games...hehehh) :-) Guess that's why I keep my eyes on the independent wargame publishers... :) They're turn-based and proud. :-)
        • Anyway, the point I'm trying to make (or not, it's been a long day)... is that we're seeing a hyper expansive version of the days before the crash of 84. (mainly it's expansive is because games and console entertainment in general are much more a part of society than in 1984.)

          While I wasn't much of a gamer in those days, I have to respectfully disagree here. In general the "next big thing" has been a bad thing for gaming because it takes the focus off of what's out now; and the reason we're always lookin
          • Why since '96? Hasn't Acclaim cranked out the carp since '86 or so? They have always had an accidental decent title slip out, but they have been schlockmeisters since day one!
      • Re:Game publishers (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RsG (809189)
        >If you didn't buy any other games and didn't play them as a buccaneer, how can you know if you like the games or not?

        Well, first off, I said new releases. I bought Warcraft 3, Serious Sam, Freelancer, GTA3 and a few other titles in recent memory; however I fished them out of the bargain bin or waited for the price to drop. My point was that I'm spending less than I used to, and this in spite of the fact that I have more money; to me, new games are all to often the same as the games I already have, an

    • You forgot Bungie.

      "Oh but no!" I hear you say. "Bungie is going to take over Microsoft from the inside!" Yeah. I'll believe that when I see Halo: 2 for the Mac. They started on the Mac, remember. Really, who's left at Bungie from the Marathon days? Haven't they all been replaced by MS dweebs now?
    • I think its because of the huge game companies like EA and Vivendi, who have the money to spend millions marketing a game, and any game now that dosn't have this big budget marketing gets left in the dust, even though it may be a much better game. Lots of people are dumb, and buy games because they have a recognizable name, either because it being a sequal or by advertising. New ideas, "risks", are being thrown out to make way for more stable products like sequals or movie-based games. Why would they ris
    • The last few original games I've liked had gameplay that was refined, but not really _new_ as such. Dungeon Siege, for example, was basically Diable meets Icewind Dale; it was good and well executed, but not really a new idea.


      I contest the "good" part. more like "pretty but pointless". Diablo ii has a pretty thin vanier of a story. DS had a microscopic nano dusting of a story.

      DS doesn't stand well against other games liek morrow wind and a lot of current console dungeon hacks. it only competes in graphi
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @07:36PM (#10133817)
    Bankruptcy Wins...

    FATALITY
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 01, 2004 @08:06PM (#10133998)
    Acclaim has always been on this cycle of boom and bust. They had NBA Jam and Mortal Kombat (neither of which were original titles - they were ports). Then things started to get a bit tight around the transition time between genesis/snes and saturn/ps1 (some baaad games came out for these - some, thankfully, never saw the light of day because they were sooo bad). Then came Turok. This got them going again. Did they rest on their laurels? Nah! They just started spending money like there was no tomorrow.
    It all started to go really downhill with pretty much every product after N64. It's taken several years for them to die but they lost the momentum a *long* time ago. A string of very poor quality, dubiously marketed games got them in this position.
    Is Acclaim management all to blame? Well, frankly, yes. Not just those in Glencove but all of the management. But the studio management teams had their hands tied by Glen Cove.
    Have you noticed that the only part of the management team that has survived any appreciable period of time is Fishbach, Scorpowski and Cousins?
    All the rest were fired or jumped ship.
    They went through many CFO's, CTO's, COO's (and whatever made up job titles they came up with) within a very short period of time. The staffing turnover rate in glen cove was amazing.
    I recall a meeting once where we were told, "if we don't pull out of this, we're going to hit a mountain". Today, they hit the mountain and slid down it in a big heap.

    My thoughts go out to the employees who found out they were laid off when they couldn't get in to their offices. The management team never even had the decency to tell them they were no longer employed.
    • The management team never even had the decency to tell them they were no longer employed.

      There can be legal issues involved with letting a bankruptcy cat out of the bag at the wrong time, especially with a publicly traded company. It's certainly a shame for the employees but they've known for a long time that Acclaim was operating hand to mouth at best.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        let's see now,
        1. Not paying rent for several months,
        2. Paying employees THEN pulling the money back out
        3. Closing all the offices in the U.K.
        4. Closing Glen Cove
        5. Not paying any external agencies they're working with (for months)
        6. Getting sued by Mary Kate & Ashley
        7. Not getting new financing


        Now, what kind of cat is this they're not trying to let out? A Lion?
        • In the big bad world of stocks and the SEC there is a difference. All those things (esp. #6, my favorite :) implies they are going bankrupt, but there is a difference.

          It is a stupid difference, but there you have it.
    • Last time there was an article about Acclaim I took a look at their financials, and they were absolutely miserable. They've been dead since 2002, it just took this long for the corpse to stop twitching. Anyone working there who didn't have a resume making the rounds just wasn't paying attention.

  • hmmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by XO (250276)
    Aside from the GOOD versions of Mortal Kombat and MK:2, everyone I know always referred to Acclaim as "ACK! LAME!" .. because almost all of their titles sucked ass.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Quality was definitely the issue. I have the Blockbuster GAME pass, unlimited video game rentals for a month, and I'm letting that thing expire after the first thirty days ends. Why? I have all three systems, and I notice the shelves at BBV groan under the weight of mostly Acclaim/Midway/Atari bombs. Sports (excepting the excellent Sega and EA offerings), fps, boooooring adventure task quests, EXTREME this and that. Blah. I can have any game I want and I hardly want any of them. I already own the kee
  • good riddens... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 02, 2004 @02:03AM (#10136045)
    I won't miss Acclaim at all. They acquired and then ruined one of the best independent comic book companies ever, Valiant. Shortly after purchasing the comic book company, they changed all the writers and artists, ran all the books into the ground and then canceled them. All this just to get the rights to make a few Turok games.

    Not only did this really piss off loyal readers such as myself, it contributed to the comic book market crash, completely ruining the value of all of Valiant's back issues. :-(
  • by TyrionEagle (458561) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @04:11AM (#10136518) Homepage
    I submitted this story to Slashdot on Friday and on Tuesday, first just with the SPOnG.com [spong.com] story [spong.com], then again on Tuesday with other sources.

    The SPOnG story has feedback directly from Acclaim employees in the UK. Their forum on the story has a comment from an Acclaim employee that their pension contributions have not been payed since April!

    Honestly, do the editors actually RTFA, or do they just see SPOnG and bin it? This is the 5th time I've submitted stories from SPOnG, just to have them appear on Slashdot days later, attributed to someone else, usually GamesIndustry.biz, who re-write SPOnG stories for their own front page.

    What is up with this?
  • by Eil (82413) on Thursday September 02, 2004 @09:35AM (#10137959) Homepage Journal

    In other words, they missed the swinging rope and finally fell into the tarpit.
  • I remember playing the Bard's Tale series on my Apple IIe! After playing AD&D as a teenager, I grew tired of games that depended on stroking the Dungeon Masters' ego. I thought "Wouldn't it be great if a computer could take over the duties of running games" The Bard's Tale was the answer, with much better graphics and audio than "Ultima." After that reality intruded, however and I never felt I had the time for RPGs.
    • After googling, I found Acclaim was only planning to be the European distributer of Inxile Entertainment's "Bard's Tale" (which was originally distributed by Electronic Arts) Why does the game industry mess with my nostalgia so!!! Good luck to Inexile, anyways.
  • Lately, Acclaim has become well known for one thing in particular (hint: baby Turok).

    Maybe they're thinking on an abstract level, but isn't this taking the concept too far?
  • maybe whomever gets the NBA Jam license will actually release it on the gamecube.

    yeah, and pigs might fly, right?
  • What effect does this have on their copyright? Does a Chapter 11 company that reincorporates under a new name still retain their intellectual property rights? It would appear that the creditors now own the rights to acclaim software, but would you pay fees to individual creditors, and would any one creditor own the copyright/code to their game(s)? I am sure this is just one example of the vagaries of bankruptcy cases, and a field day for lawyers.
    • This is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. That means liquidation. There will be no reorganization. Someone may buy the intellectual property rights (if you can apply "intellectual" to most of what Acclaim did). If they can sell them, the proceeds would go toward paying off creditors.
  • Not All Bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mattb90 (666532) *
    Is everybody forgetting the good times from Acclaim? The original Turok on N64, Burnout 1 and 2, and for you guys in the US and Canada, Worms 3D. They even had W3D's Xbox (Live-enabled) release up their sleeve for this month, just like Juiced (which has even had a couple of reviews - good scores - here in the UK). There was even Worms Forts on the horizon which looks promising - and I guess Team 17 are currently rushing around for a US/Canada publisher right now.

    So, sure, they made crap like BMX XXX, but w
    • Re:Not All Bad (Score:2, Interesting)

      by uodeltasig (759920)
      Burnout 2: Developer's Cut [ign.com] was a great game... however, the game didn't get a lot of press and the real anticipation was/is for Burnout 3 [eagames.com] which EA Games has. The problem is that Acclaim always had great idea's, like Turok, South Park and Cruisin USA... but they where easily duplicated and someone else usually did it better.
      P.s - Sorry to link to a competitors website
  • Sayonara Acclaim (Score:2, Interesting)

    by r_benchley (658776)
    It'll be kind of sad to see Acclaim go. Granted, most of their games were complete shit, but they had some pretty decent ones as well. I used to love playing Wizards & Warriors on my NES back in the day (almost 20 years ago!). They were a major player in the video game world, and now they're gone. I hope the talented employees are able to find work quickly, and I hope that Acclaim's good franchises find homes with publishers that will do them justice. For those curious about Acclaim's library throu

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