Midway Files for Bankruptcy

By  |  Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 2:01 pm

mortalkombatlogoThis is no surprise, seeing as the company was looking at $150 million in debt last December with just 50 days to pay it, but today Midway Games filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

Chairman, President and CEO Matt Booty called the filing “a difficult but necessary decision,” adding that it buys the company time to figure out how to proceed from here. For now, business continues as usual, and Midway has filed several First Day Motions in hopes of keeping it that way as restructuring takes place.

But enough of that business talk. As various publications covered the news today, they unwittingly pointed out the publisher’s biggest flaw. “Midway Games Inc., the creator of the Mortal Kombat video-game series … ,” wrote the L.A. Times. “Midway, famous for its ‘Mortal Kombat’ franchise … ,” Reuters noted. “The long-struggling publisher of Mortal Kombat filed for bankruptcy this morning,” Kotaku wrote.

See the pattern? Now, try to think of another major publisher whose entire existence is defined by one franchise. EA’s got Madden, but it also has The Sims and Spore. Activision has Call of Duty, Guitar Hero and — after becoming Activision-Blizzard — World of Warcraft. Ubisoft has several successful franchises under the Tom Clancy umbrella.

You could argue that Take-Two will be remembered most for Grand Theft Auto, but that just proves my point. GTA seems to reinvent itself as something new and exciting with each generation, but Mortal Kombat is no longer revolutionary. Cartoonish blood and gore, once a novel concept, is old hat now. Without that trick up its sleeve, the franchise became a follower of better button-mashers like Soul Calibur, Tekken and Virtua Fighter. To be fair, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is doing well, but that idea is more of a gimmick than a long-term cash cow.

The sad thing is, Midway was once a glorious game publisher. It put out Space Invaders and Ms. Pac-Man, for goodness sakes. And who could forget NBA Jam?

Apparently, everybody. I could go on about why those games aren’t viable anymore, but the point is that Midway has done little to stay relevant. While other companies have figured out how to milk their best franchises through the years, Midway seems like it never grew out of the arcade era.



7 Comments For This Post

  1. Ryan Stewart Says:

    NBA Jam, now that brings back some memories. Great quote at the end. Midway was a big part of my childhood, so it’s sad to see it end this way, but you’ve got to stay relevant.

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  2. Adam Gersbach Says:

    very sad news.

    I love Mortal Kombat… what memories it’s been along time.

    You are right on Ryan, ‘you’ve got to stay relevant’…

  3. Austin Bankruptcy Lawyer Says:

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  4. Austin Personal Injury Lawyer Says:

    Thanks for posting news on video games. I have found this site to be interesting. Thanks.

  5. andrew Says:

    That’s said to see Midway go that way, after making such great games.

  6. Accident Attorney in Tampa Says:

    Great post, it is sad to see such an innovator in the field declare for Chapter 11.

  7. Austin Bankruptcy At Says:

    Thanks for passing this information on. Do you happen to know if Midway survived chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization?

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