Video games business Realtime Worlds goes into administration

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The Independent Online

A video games business founded by the creator of Grand Theft Auto has gone into administration amid lacklustre sales for its latest release.

Around 200 staff in Dundee have been told they are at risk of redundancy after Begbies Traynor was appointed as administrator to Realtime Worlds.

The business, which also has operations in the United States, was founded in 2002 by Dave Jones, who designed action-adventure game Grand Theft Auto (GTA), a series which has sold over 50 million copies.

Jones also co-founded Rockstar North, formerly known as DMA Design, which, as well as GTA, developed popular puzzle game Lemmings, which has sold over 20 million copies over 20 different formats.

Begbies, which hopes to sell the business as a going concern, blamed the slide in fortunes on poor demand for Realtime's latest game APB: All Points Bulletin, which was released six weeks ago.

Less than 12 months ago, the firm was awarded PricewaterhouseCoopers' hottest prospect award at a conference on technology investment.

The first game under the Realtime Worlds moniker was Crackdown, released in 2007 on the Microsoft Xbox 360 format to strong sales and critical acclaim.

Throughout 2007 and into 2008, Realtime Worlds and Crackdown bagged numerous industry awards, including a record-breaking seven nominations at Develop magazine's Industry Excellence Awards.

The company, which has offices in Colorado, has raised more than 80 million US dollars (£50 million) in venture capital funding since it was founded in 2002.

But the firm has suffered since the delayed July 2 UK release of APB: All Points Bulletin.

The release is a multiplayer online game, designed for Microsoft Windows, and involves battles between law enforcers and criminals.

The game had a poor reception, with a 58% rating on Metacritic, the collated review website.

Ken Pattullo and Paul Dounis of Begbies have been appointed as joint administrators of the firm.

Mr Dounis said: "We are currently involved in a consultative process with the 200 staff employed in Dundee.

"Our intention is to continue trading the company while we attempt to find a going concern buyer which will safeguard the future of the business."