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Sony picks up Ghostbusters from Atari

UPDATE: Game set for PlayStation exclusivity deal as uncertainty hovers over other formats

Sony Computer Entertainment will now be publishing Terminal Reality's Ghostbusters title in a surprise deal signed with Atari today, just one month before the game was set to ship, GamesIndustry.biz has learned.

The game is set for a June 19 release alongside the Sony Pictures film, but only on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2 platforms, which will have a period of exclusivity lasting several months until the PlayStation Portable edition is launched.

It is unclear exactly what will happen to the Xbox 360, DS and Wii versions of the game, although GamesIndustry.biz understands that Atari may look to publish them at a later date.

This will be the third publisher within a year for the Ghostbusters game, with the former Vivendi title being dropped by Activision in the merger last summer, before subsequently being picked up by Atari.

The troubling economic climate has hit Atari hard, with investors keen to see a quick return on investment - despite the company's core business plan relying on a more long-term view of a radical shift to online publishing.

The company accelerated the sale of its distribution business earlier this year in order to appease investors, and the Ghostbusters deal with Sony - so late in the day - will look to many like another sign of trouble.

UPDATE: Atari has said that with Sony publishing the title, the game will reach a wider audience on release.

"Atari is committed to maximising the launch of the Ghostbusters videogame across Europe," offered Jim Wilson, VP of Worldwide Marketing for Atari.

"In partnership with both Sony Pictures Consumer Products and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, we have a unique opportunity to add new game products and expand marketing opportunities to reach Ghostbusters fans in Europe."

A PSP version of the title is due this autumn.

Atari Inc has now clarified that the exclusive deal is for Europe and PAL regions only.

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Phil Elliott