Saturday, January 05, 2008


Front page, Seattle Times:

Hasbro to Buy Seattle Game Company
Fate of 80 local employees not determined.

Cranium was a quirky, successful party game that rewarded players for diverse abilities (while Trivial Pursuit rewarded the knowledge-based players, Cranium rewarded trivia, creativity, performance, and language skills. What made Cranium particularly successful was their marketing push - they eschewed traditional toy markets for sales in Starbucks and on the web. Cranium (the company) put out a variety of spinoffs and new games, though as is often the case, their first strike was their greatest success.

Cranium early in 2007 laid of 20% of the work force (something not noted in the Seattle Times article, but it's in the P-I, along with a lot more analysis and a lot less business rah-rah), but at the time declared they were not up for sale. Now they have been sold, and the founders are publicly stating they are heading for the exit 60 days after closure, staying around to help with whatever the new organization is. The "fate of the 80 local employees" remains unaddressed in the article.

Last paragraph in the Times story mentions the last Hasbro purchase in the area - Wizards of the Coast, for a reported $325 million. The current actions regarding Cranium are in keeping with Hasbro's expansion policy, which is to seek out successful games which have established themselves in related territories.

More later,