David Perry on selling Shiny: "Worst mistake I ever made"
The Shiny Entertainment founder looks back with regret on selling the studio to Interplay
David Perry, the creator of Gaikai, who just recently offloaded his company to Sony for a cool $380 million, has reflected on his other major deal back in the mid-90s. Originally coming up with Earthworm Jim under Shiny Entertainment, the respected developer took a moment to reflect on past decisions he has made during his career.
After storming through games for various companies such as Virgin Games for McDonalds, Perry eventually formed Shiny Entertainment in 1993. That studio would then go on to be a major player in the growing market, thanks in part to Earthworm Jim. After a successful sequel and the launch of MDK, Perry and Shiny agreed to a $47 million buyout by Atari in 2002. Perry stayed on with the company to work on the critically-panned Enter the Matrix before leaving the company in 2006.
"The worst mistake I ever made," is how Perry describes the sale to a roomful of people at his Develop Conference panel this week. Games such as Sacrifice and Messiah did okay in sales, but things within Atari started to slip. Perry's team at Shiny was starting to feel the pressure, eventually leading up to pitching the CEO of Atari for funds to launch another game in the Earthworm franchise.
While ambitious, the game never saw fruition. Enter the Matrix and Path of Neo both sold reasonably well, though things did not sit well with game critics. 2007 saw the end of Shiny with a game adaptation of The Golden Compass, which flopped both commercially and critically. Shiny was merged with The Collective that same year.
Of course, Perry regrets selling the company to Atari. "Atari said we were low on cash and they said they weren't going to start any new projects. It was embarrassing for me."
The sale of Gaikai seems to be in a different boat for the industry veteran; he even hinted that a new Earthworm game could be possible and that he had around 90 to 95 percent of the assets ready to go in order to make it happen. His latest project is a 3D title coming to the iPad, though a release date has not been announced.