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Roller Coaster Tycoon rights sale steadies Frontier Developments after 2023 flops

Video game maker Frontier Developments secured some much-needed cash today with the sale of the publishing rights to its 2004 game Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. ( Roller Coaster Tycoon 3)
Video game maker Frontier Developments secured some much-needed cash today with the sale of the publishing rights to its 2004 game Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. ( Roller Coaster Tycoon 3)

Video game maker Frontier Developments secured some much-needed cash today with the sale of the publishing rights to its 2004 game Roller Coaster Tycoon 3.

The rights to the classic theme park simulation sequel, which continues to bring in annual profits of $1.5 million  (£1.2 million) two decades after launch, was sold for $7 million to French gaming giant Atari. Atari already owns the publishing rights to the first two Roller Coaster Tycoon games, which were not developed by Frontier.

The sale boosts Frontier's cash reserves, which are now at £23.4 million. The developer struggled last year as it attempted to branch out from its normal wheelhouse of “creative simulation” (CMS) style games, where players manage a site like a zoo or theme park. Releases such as Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin and F1 Manager flopped in 2023.

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It has since refocused on the type of games that brought success in the past, with big recent launches including Jurassic World Evolution 2 and Planet Zoo. Frontier said sales since January, led by those two recent releases, have been in line with expectations.

The shares jumped by as much as 19% to 168p this morning, but they’re still down 95% from their 2021 peak.

Analysts at Peel Hunt said: “Today’s news is another positive step on Frontier’s journey towards a refocus on CMS games; and the valuation of RT3 underpins our belief that Frontier remains highly undervalued.

“For Frontier, not only does it provide cash flow, but can act as a benchmark valuation for its

portfolio that we estimate will generate gross profit of £53m this year. In our view, not bad for a business whose market cap is currently £56m”

They also noted that PlayStation store charts suggest that Planet Zoo is continuing to sell very well.