News Article

Atari's "Corporate Comeback Strategy" Includes Games, Gambling, and Wearable Devices

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

The Atari gaming glove?

Atari is a brand with an incredible history, so much so that it's the subject of plenty of debate and discussion over its role in bringing gaming to the mainstream, its contribution to the so-called 'crash' of the early '80s and its struggles since. Despite multiple hardware releases into the '90s the company failed to regain its dominance in that area, while in more recent times software struggles saw some complicated take-overs and eventually bankruptcy in 2013.

The company is now back under one banner — rather than multiple subsidiaries — and with a minimal staff led by CEO Fred Chesnais. It's promising a comeback, issuing a "corporate comeback strategy" press release outlining the company's plans, some of which sound rather ambitious and peculiar; an excerpt is below.

“Atari is more than a game publishing company; it’s an iconic brand that has established a passionate and timeless culture,” said Fred Chesnais, Chief Executive Officer, Atari, Inc. “Known across multiple generations around the world, Atari will continue to embrace all audiences. What the company has accomplished over the years is no small feat, but there is more to come. We’re looking forward to delivering on our new strategy and engaging with our audience in new ways across multiple channels as the next era of Atari unfolds. We are leading a rebuilding exercise in a highly volatile industry, so at the same time we are also aware of the challenges that lay ahead.”

As an interactive entertainment production company, Atari is extending its classic gaming brands to various platforms including mobile (iOS and Android), PC, online and other digital mediums. Beyond re-launching its nostalgic gaming titles, the company will aim at capitalizing on other rapidly growing markets and reaching out to new audiences – including LGBT, social casinos, real-money gambling, and YouTube with exclusive video content. Atari will also continue its hardware licensing line of business, particularly for gamified hardware and wearable devices, with the goal of operating the most promising ventures at a later stage.

Within its new approach, Atari has made significant strides in 2014 alone. In the gaming arena, Atari has re-introduced the beloved franchise RollerCoaster Tycoon® with RollerCoaster Tycoon® 4 Mobile™ (currently in the Top 25 of the App Store in the United States and in the Top 10 in many countries) which will be followed by an Android version and a multiplayer game for PC in winter 2014. The company also launched Haunted House® on mobile devices, and released a new multiplayer online battle arena and crafting game, Minimum. The company has plans to deliver other popular classics, such as Asteroids®, on mobile and digital platforms in coming months. In the online casino industry, Atari recently announced a real-money gambling partnership with Pariplay and social casino (virtual currency) partnership with FlowPlay. Atari will make additional announcements across the LGBT, YouTube/TV and hardware licensing industries in the coming quarters.

Some of these statements raise eyebrows, such as extensive plans in the gambling sector and "wearable devices", while RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile wasn't particularly well received, with our colleagues at Eurogamer awarding it 1/10.

With a staff reportedly under a dozen in number, the company has quite a challenge on its hands in attempts to return to former glories. Are you optimistic about Atari's future, or worried it'll all go a bit wrong? Let us know.

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User Comments (77)

Gerbwmu

#3

Gerbwmu said:

Don't care what happens to Atari at this point but I wouldn't mind seeing some classic games on the eShop.

Also some sweet Atari themed slot machines would be an alright addition to my next Vegas trip.

danielflugt

#4

danielflugt said:

Is this more than an attempt to sell us tacky stuff by using a brand name that has destroyed itself twice?

Also, how are they even proposing making money from sexual orientation?

SakuraHaruka

#5

SakuraHaruka said:

I wonder about the series of Test Drive, if still they have the license or..., they sold it...

XCWarrior

#6

XCWarrior said:

The more game companies the better, just hope they stick to eshop titles at this point as they are so small.

Starwolf_UK

#7

Starwolf_UK said:

The history of Atari is very confusing but from what I understand this branch is part of the corpse that Infrograms bought.

FragRed

#8

FragRed said:

I remember Atari, the REAL Atari from back when it was actually producing consoles. My mate had I believe the Atari 2600 and we at one point owned the disastrous Jaguar. Even back then I was never too excited by it's "64 bit" visuals.

DiscoGentleman

#9

DiscoGentleman said:

"the company will aim at capitalizing on other rapidly growing markets and reaching out to new audiences – including LGBT, social casinos, real-money gambling, and YouTube with exclusive video content. "

As a gay guy, I appreciate the support, except this sounds like a case of 'doing the right thing for the wrong reason.' The LGBT community is not some kind of cash cow.
I think some companies are realizing the loyalty many of us have to brands that support our cause socially and fiscally, rather than fight against us. So, that's where I think this money-grab stems from.
Hopefully this is a genuine feeling from them on moral grounds rather, but listing LGBT next to casinos and youtube... It just puts a bad taste in my mouth.

ModestFan93

#11

ModestFan93 said:

Why must they continue to destroy Rollercoastet Tycoon... and they seriously name dropped the LGBT community? Yeah can't really see how that will crash and burn for them.

Dragoon04

#12

Dragoon04 said:

online gambling...They are really reliving the glory days. Remember when Atari was known for its world class casino games back in the day? You go Atari, reclaim that glory...wait what?!

Dragoon04

#13

Dragoon04 said:

This is the guy that had his 15 minutes of fame when he slammed Iwata for not being in touch with the gaming industry any more.

FragRed

#15

FragRed said:

@Dragoon04 I always find its those companies that fail to do anything impressive to be the ones who bad mouth the competitors. Especially when the competitor is say Nintendo who have a lot more idea of the video game industry than Atari ever has had since its original incarnation.

joey302

#18

joey302 said:

Ok Atari I think it would be wise to kick it off with getting your classics onto the eshop both wii u & 3ds, ps3,4, vita, xbox one and mobile...360 I know you have done so already and the DS i have vol 1&2 collections and the apple store I bought the collection as well. But I think the focus for Atari should be the consoles where a lot of their ex fans including myself are still gaming! I would love to play classics like Asteroids centipede millipede,missile command,tempest, haunted house,crystal castles, yars, battle zone, super breakout and many others on my wii u!!!!! Go Atari!!

TheWPCTraveler

#19

TheWPCTraveler said:

I honestly think that they should re-release E.T.: The Game, and market it by saying that you haven't been a gamer if you can't sit through the game, never mind playing it.

I'd pay nice bucks for that on the Virtual Console.

Phantom_R

#21

Phantom_R said:

"Atari will make additional announcements across the LGBT, YouTube/TV and hardware licensing industries in the coming quarters."

The LGBT industry? Oh heavens. .-.

sinalefa

#22

sinalefa said:

You see? They unearthed Atari's corpse along with those ET carts in New Mexico. Disturbing the dead is never a good thing.

Windy

#24

Windy said:

Read my lips! No new Hardware :P I had to use that oldie but a goodie courtesy of George W. Bush. I could not resist. It would always be interesting to see new hardware from Atari, Sega or SNK but obviously those days are gone

WiiULoveSquid

#30

WiiULoveSquid said:

Terrible. They lack invention, something worth attaching the brand to again. It comes across as a desperate attempt to grab attention by throwing out a mish-mash of words like, gambling! social! LGBT! wearable tech!
I'm not convinced, Atari.

aaronsullivan

#31

aaronsullivan said:

I really enjoyed Atari from the start but especially the little resurgence that happened as arcades were starting to fade: Blasteroids and Xybots were really creative with controls and introduced in-game shops for upgrading that pushed gaming forward in that space. I miss that Atari. It is long gone. This "plan" just sounds completely sad. They need somebody with some creative vision to breathe life into the old IPs.

@WiiULoveSquid ninja'd me a bit, but I imagine the sentiment is going to be a shared one.

Samwise7

#32

Samwise7 said:

@DiscoGentleman I agree, also as a gay man it does just seem out of place. So much so I wondered what LGBT stood for in this instance! Just tacked on as some kind of 'industry'. Ah well, I ain't complaining but really its just about equality and not trying to squeeze cash out of particular group of people in a cringe-worthy fashion. Lets just wait and see what Atari means by that.

RantingThespian

#35

RantingThespian said:

Warning! Do not buy the mobile version of Roller Coaster Tycoon! It is horrible!

If that game is any indication of Atari's new approach . . . they are doomed!

... also, what they heck are they going to do for the LGBT community? That just sounds awkward.

CaviarMeths

#37

CaviarMeths said:

@Samwise7 Almost all companies support the LGBT community, both because it is base humanity and because it's good business. I have a feeling @NorthlightSuplx is going to be doing all of his shopping from Billy-Rae's Pork Rinds & Ammo if any business that support equality make his blacklist lol.

But yeah, here, it just looks like a buzzword Atari used to drum up attention. So... are they making LGBT games? What does that even mean?

Prime

#40

Prime said:

They're gonna make an Atari 8400 and resume the gaming market!! THEY'RE GONNA CRASH THE GAMING INDUSTRY AGAIN!!! TAKE COVER!

JJtheTexan

#41

JJtheTexan said:

This recent story in Wired will tell you all you need to know about the "new" Atari: http://www.wired.com/2014/06/atari/

Quick summary: Atari is going all-in on mobile, free-to-play and freemium, repurposing its classic titles as "social" with in-game payments, and an absolute stance against ever publishing on consoles again. "Games, of course, will still be part of Atari’s future. But this time, Atari is targeting the mobile and online gaming markets, not consoles. In other words, says Chesnais, 'no boxes.'"

Hy8ogen

#42

Hy8ogen said:

I bet the next Atari Console is going to have 16GB of RAM, TitanZ GPU with Intel I7 extreme. True next gen dawg.

Daruncic

#44

Daruncic said:

"LGBT" seems like the odd one out among the easy cash grabs listed. Additionally, what IP's does Atari own? When I think Atari I think Pong and Centipede and Space Invaders, but I don't think they own any of them...

DiscoGentleman

#45

DiscoGentleman said:

@Samwise7 lol thanks.
Yeah, every "community" or group or minority gets expended/taken advantage of, especially by businesses when they seem profitable. It just is what it is. Like the pink-washing that happens with breast cancer, and (coincidentally, by the same name) the pink washing that happens when insincerely marketing towards LGBTQ people.

It'll be a swell day when we can all just think of each other as "people" instead of putting ourselves and others into little groups and boxes.

Stream of conscious. Hah.

ricklongo

#47

ricklongo said:

I don't really care about Atari on a nostalgic level (I started gaming with the NES, and from those days I could never stand Atari console games), but either way this really does look like a mistake. "Real-money gambling"? "Online casino"? Yeah, no thanks.

sugarshack

#54

sugarshack said:

Atari is making a solid step by walking into the gambling scene. it may be different from what Konami does if they aren't going the route of machines, but if anyone visits casinos, whether it's America's or across the seas, Konami slot machines are rather popular on casino floors, and fun. And their hardware is a much better built than IGT, Bally, WMS.

the_shpydar

#55

the_shpydar said:

@ogo79
True dat, bro. ;)

This isn't Atari. Atari isn't Atari anymore, and hasn't been for many many years. It's just some company that owns the name, assets and logos and such.

Never could they once again reach the heights that produced the majesty and wonderment of E.T.

Obito_Tennyson

#58

Obito_Tennyson said:

Just part all of the Atari 2600 and Atari 7800 games as a single Wii U or 3DS software on the Eshop, and I will be happy with whatever happens to Atari afterwards.

BlackHearted1

#62

BlackHearted1 said:

I've been telling my friends Atari and Sega are going to come back into the gaming console business soon, Next E3 Sega is going to announce the Dreamcast 2, and soon enough Atari will return as well.

HopeNForever

#63

HopeNForever said:

Well... this is definitely not the same Atari I knew growing up. They decided they're not good with family-oriented electronic entertainment that they opted to go and please the "other side", probably under the assumption they would carter to all the kids that grew up with an Atari console, and shudder consequently left their gaming habits behind to go to that "other side".

HopeNForever

#64

HopeNForever said:

@danielflugt As I understood it, I think @CrabGats made a comment unrelated to this article, and meant that is wondering why is there a "T" in "LGBT" - as in why lump some people with gender identity issues in the same group or mindset as other people with devious sexual orientations. I personally would most likely wonder that as well, as the two sub-groups are not really directly related by that logic.

Samwise7

#65

Samwise7 said:

@Lalivero Exactly, Nintendo made a good effort on a touchy subject and the fact they said they'd rectify this in future instalments is great. And @DiscoGentleman I don't think @Zergling was being bigoted to be fair, just pointing something out which has now been resolved. Hurrah.

Zergling

#66

Zergling said:

@Lalivero

"We pledge that IF we create a next installment in the Tomodachi series, we will strive to design a game-play experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players."

They just will not release the game in NA again. They made this statement just to quiet the people at GLAAD and to avoid a manufactured liberal media PR disaster.

And if they actually do release it like this Nintendo will be dead to me.

Caryslan

#67

Caryslan said:

Wow, losing the Dragon Ball Z license really hurt Atari worse than I thought. Of course, they were pretty much getting by due to being the distributor of DBZ games in NA. Once Bandai Namco took over, they really have nothing left.

Honestly, what was the last major Atari game in recent years that did not have the Dragon Ball Z license attached to it?

R-L-A-George

#69

R-L-A-George said:

@Samwise7 Sadly with the crap people do. They literally in context say; "Please make us a demographic so we can be included."

When people give that message to companies and get what they asked for. They never owe up to it and are like; "We didn't ask for that! We wanted to be included."

The silent answer from the industry; "We did include you, you became a separate demographic like boy, girl, fan, etc."

It happens with a lot of groups.

Blue-Thunder

#70

Blue-Thunder said:

Atari are long dead but the name is still worth something. It looks to me they are going to try and make some tablet games.

Best of luck to them. I won't be buying any since I look down my nose at mobile gaming.

AshFoxX

#71

AshFoxX said:

@Windy Actually that was George H.W. Bush, A.K.A, George Bush Sr. George W. (Dubya) Bush is his husk child who made up his own words.

Samwise7

#72

Samwise7 said:

@Zergling Nintendo will be dead to you if they release the game as all inclusive to people with alternative sexualities? Hmm probably not the type of customer anybody really wants then. People get fired in businesses across the globe for saying less and rightly so.

ecco6t9

#73

ecco6t9 said:

Apparently they are simply a "Brand" that happens to make games here and there.

The group that owns them has zero respect for the Atari heritage let's not forget the last time we heard from these guys "Anything and everything is for sale including our iconic logo".
Infogrames worked to reunify Atari and these jackals have torn it apart.

luigiluigiluigi

#74

luigiluigiluigi said:

"it’s an iconic brand that has established a passionate and timeless culture,”
No it's a company no cares for anymore.

Gashole

#76

Gashole said:

It was Atari that changed video gaming forever, 41 years ago, by bringing the university campus technology to the streets, and making video games popular (yes, I'm aware of the Magnavox Odyssey in '72). Gamers everywhere should remember Atari for being the very root of popular video gaming. My 3DS certainly does, with the DS Atari's Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2.

TheWeird

#77

TheWeird said:

A bizarre and desperate press release to me. Of course I can understand the existence of gay communities around the world with shared values, concerns and interests, but seems pretty offensive to me to lump every non-straight sexual orientation into one big pot and call them an "LGBT audience". Seems like another word for stereotyping to me. I'm pretty sure that gay people are just as diverse a group as any other arbitrary grouping of people you could name, especially in context of gaming and entertainment.

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