In the latest of a long line of corporate takeovers, this one is admittedly much smaller in scope, but significant nonetheless: Atari has acquired MobyGames for $1.5 million.
MobyGames is a highly regarded and renowned video game database that stores information on the medium spanning back to the 1950s. It's a time capsule with thousands upon thousands of resources, including data on just about every single Nintendo release ever along with releases across dozens of platforms.
Atari CEO Wade Rosen had this to say about the purchase:
“The MobyGames community has played a sustained and important role in the documentation, celebration, and preservation of video games, and supporting MobyGames allows us to give back to the community and contribute to its growth and success."
“It’s important to Atari that MobyGames retains every bit of its integrity, and we’re committed to supporting the site in ways that improve the experience for both contributors and users."
It's a bit more of a surprising purchase than other recent major acquisitions in the industry, but Jeremiah Freyholtz, General Manager of MobyGames, who will fortunately be keeping his role at the website, sounds optimistic about the purchase:
“In Atari, MobyGames has found a partner that will provide the investment and support we need to complete long-planned site improvements. I am confident this transition will allow MobyGames to remain an important community-driven project and that Atari’s involvement best positions us for long-term stability and success.”
Atari's unconvincing forays into new retro-styled hardware and other less game-focused areas of business in recent years may give the MobyGames community pause. Hopefully the database will remain a valuable resource for enthusiasts around the world, and Atari keeps to its promise of supporting the site and improving user experience.
These takeovers are becoming a bit of a thing, aren't they? How do you feel about this most recent acquisition? Let us know in the comments.
- Further reading: Soapbox: Don't Cheer For Corporate Takeovers - It's Not A Game
Next week on MobyGames:
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Platform: Atari Switch
This is straight up not a good thing. The potential for Atari to wreck this pillar in the retro community is significant, and in my opinion very likely. I can see Atari wanting to monetize this to no end and kill the place this has in the retro community. RIP
I don't trust Atari. They seem out of touch with reality.
Genuinely, this surprises me. I was literally on MobyGames last night looking up a Wing Commander multiplayer game I played with a friend yesterday evening.
Being into old DOS games I bought from GOG, I frequent this place a lot to look at old box art and advertising, info, etc. It's one of my favorite databases.
I really hope nothing happens to this site, it's a great resource.
This is bad news, modern Atari is terrible.
I don't know what Atari gameplan is, but I wouldn't be surprised if it has to do with NFT or the metaverse. After all, that's what in demand these days...
At first I thought he’s holding up a smart thermostat
Wait a second....
Atari have $1.5m?
I don't trust them, especially modern Atari. I bet you we're going to see in the news eventually of changes to the website. Like that they're going to force Moby to remove everything non-Atari-related products and games to show how "great" and "important" they are.
Atari is like so dubious.
@ian_beale I know. Can't think of any way they've been relevant to gaming for at least a decade outside of talking about the history of gaming.
@JohnnyC What's even funnier is this isn't even the same Atari from back then, could be wrong but I think a few other companies have taken that name throughout the years
Sadly, Moby will now likely fade as fast as GameFAQ's did when they were bought out.
@victordamazio They're not even really Atari.
Just a publisher formerly known as Infogrammes who had no relation to Atari but simply enough money to buy out the copyright and trademark properties of Atari.
Let me ask a perfectly legit question.
Has Atari (or whoever ended up with that name) done anything good after the Atari 2600?
I don't follow Atari that much and the 2600 or its games don't hold any value to me, but I hear more about the bads of Atari than the goods. So I'm curious about that.
I'm actually more surprised Atari have the money to stay in business, let alone buy anything.
@Richnj I've just been looking at their balance sheet, perhaps they used some of their €11M of intangible assets?
@HammerGalladeBro Not sure, but I think some decent arcade games were still made by then in the 80s… (VCS was 1977), or so you mean after VCS/2600 was done in like 1990 or whatever? Hmm, yeah don’t know, mostly just commenting because I liked your question. But yeah, some good games came from them here and there, but they lost their soul in like the mid 80s I believe.
They had some computers… the 7800… idk. I think their computers were popular a bit after the VCS was on its way out. Yeah sorry, didn’t really look anything up to be sure 😛
I will just assume MobyGames is now headed down the road of all the sites swallowed up by Fandom, meaning it will go from useful database to forced-autoplay video + banner ad hellscape.
@ian_beale They made a Kickstarter once, guess the money had not ran out yet.
@HammerGalladeBro They made the Atari Jaguar and got the company bankrupt then their brand was sold to Hasbro who sold them to Infogrames who change their name to Atari who went on to make one of the best fighting game of all time that is Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 for the Wii and PS2. And then Namco came steal away Dragon Ball and put them under and now they are falling again.
Regardless of Atari's current state in gaming, fairly irrelevant in 2022, this is bizarre.
@KingMike I already knew that, that's why I called it modern Atari.
I thought they were broke did they use the money from their Kickstarter to fund this
@HammerGalladeBro they did publish indigo prophecy / Fahrenheit in 2005 can't think of anything recent though
The 50s? But I thought gaming came about in the 70s? Dang, that's old! Unless they were in a different sort of business before they got into videogames.
Though Modern Atari is just Infogrammes renamed. They did deliver the Atari VCS to backers and you can buy the system in the USA or Worldwide via their site, yes it's pricey for what it is , a glorified PC in a retro inspired Atari 2600 case. So the fact they delivered is a plus and better than the travesty of the Amiico by treacherous Tommy.
Atari was a house hold name in gaming , their Arcade Machines were mindblowing in the 70's .
Their biggest mistake , turning down Nintendo to market the NES in the USA.
The Atari 2600 sold some 30 Million units in the 70's. But after the video game crash where they buried loads of ET carts it all went haywire.
They where owned by Time Warner then. But came along Jack Tramiel ( the man behind the COMMODORE 64) and bought them. Under him they released the 5200 and the 7800. And also had a successful Personal Computer business which came to frutition with the Atari ST ( a wonderful System) which was used widely in the Music industry due to the included Midi ports. But with the impending PC market about to explode with windows and Apple based machines they decided to re-enter the Console space. First was the Lynx Handheld , a really robust unit which even saw some success in Japan before they prematurly stopped selling it there. The Atari Jaguar was their console to re-enter the market and they had some 2 Million pre-orders as Atari was huge in Europe due to the success of the ST in the region.
From waht I understand their lack of hindsight and chossing IBM to manafacture the Jaguar was a mistake as they just could not turn out huge amounts of units in time. Producing justa handfull at a time. Combine this with a distribution deal that in the UK was a disaster as they had Rumbelows as the sole distributor for other retailers, a company that was behind the times as a electronic retailer at the time and was about to go into receivership.
To think that it both Nintendo and Sega where worreid about Atari and their Jaguar as they where a household name.
This left both Sega and Nintendo get caught out by the newby because they where focusing to much in one direction and along came Sony.
You can not talk Video Games without Atari , they will always be legends of gaming. And even though they excist by name only now and are French owned. I still have a soft spot for them. Hell I still have my Atari ST and Atari Jaguar , the later which gets new games developed to this day , with two recently released and others coming soon.
Long Live Atari , to see the new games for both Jaguar and Lynx as well as the classic 2600 visit AtariAge.
@HammerGalladeBro Once recognized as the fastest growing company in American history, the ORIGINAL Atari company founded in the early 70s was loaded with video game & hardware design geniuses and innovation galore. The problems started when Nolan Bushnell the owner sold the company to Warner Bros in (1977?) because he needed cash Capital to mass produce the Atari 2600 console. But Warner Bros had no clue how to run a technology company and their focus on marketing and advertising took their attention away from the source of Atari’s strength this being the R&D sector. They also thought the 2600 would last forever and never duplicated that success again. The 5200 and 7800 never came close. The 2600 was obsolete by 1982 according to Bushnell. And Dumb deals like paying Steven Speilberg $25 million for ET license and giving the programmer a mere 5 weeks to make the game & be out by Christmas didn’t help along with a crappy Pac Man port. Average length of time creating a 2600 game was 6-8 months back then for 1 single designer. Also Warner bigwigs treated key Atari game designers like David Crane and Bob Whitehead like crap and so they went on to start Activision who went on to make some of the best 2600 games ever made and most of the them still very fun to play today! Steve Jobs helped create the classic game Super Breakout!
Atari was king at home on consoles, with home computers and of course in the Arcades with tons of classic games to their credit. When the crash of 83 started and Atari was losing $500M Warner Bros panicked and sold the home division to the Tramiel family (Commodore 64) in 1984 (Lynx and Jaguar Atari) In late 1983 Nintendo even approached Atari to distribute the NES in America because they knew that despite the game crash Atari was a household name. By that time though Atari was such a mess that the deal fell through. Tons of history there way too much to mention here just Wiki them and read up. Absolutely fascinating stuff. The marketing wars with Intellivision, the surprise that was Colecovision and so on. All of us gamers and the game industry owes a debt of gratitude to the original Atari company. It’s where this all started.
@KITG_GROUP Great job!! I just ordered a bunch of Jaguar and 7800 games as well from Atari Age.
One correction though- the Atari 5200 was created and produced by the original Atari NOT the Tramiel family. They had zero interest in the game market when they purchased the Atari home division from Warner, hence the ST computer being their first consumer product. Also the 7800 was released in very limited quantities in June of 1984 right before Atari was sold to the Tramiels. When they took over thousands of Atari employees were let go and the 7800 was halted and shelved to concentrate on the ST. Finally in 1986 once the Tramiel family saw how great Nintendo was doing with the NES, they started to put the 7800 back on the map. But it was no contest Nintendo as we all know crushed them and Sega for that matter. But the 7800 is a very underrated system and was almost just as powerful as the Nes but hardly had any games. The 7800 is also the first game system to be fully backwards compatible with a previous console (2600) right out of the box. Good stuff! Still have my 7800 & Jaguar hooked up for those homebrews! Love my Atari systems 45 years later lol.
This is no longer the Atari those whom remembered they screwd up and missed a opportunity. And to think they can come back is a joke.
before you all jump on the "lets trash the new Atari" bandwagon maybe get to know the new CEO Wade Rosen and what his intentions are for the company. https://venturebeat.com/2022/01/07/atari-ceo-wade-rosen-interview-returning-to-classic-video-game-roots/
@KITG_GROUP An Atari Famicom would only have been as successful as Atari would've marketed it. And we have to wonder, seeing the rest of Atari marketing post-crash, if they'd have done as well as Nintendo did after Nintendo was forced to market the NES on their own.
I suppose if the Jaguar could have attracted at least one big-name third party to support it, it could've hit a positive development cycle. (such as one GamePro's comments "They're going to need the Capcoms of the world to survive.")
I recall the best they attracted were very middle-tier companies like Accolade and Tradewest.
Oddly they didn't even attract their legally separated brother Atari Games/Tengen. (although now that I think about it, that might have been around the time Midway was getting involved with them, and Nintendo was courting Midway as one of their N64 development partners)
@Akin0 Let's be honest here. They screwed up when they bought and dumped the Atari employees whom made Atari "(Atari)" trying to be revisionist here doesn't go anywhere.
@joey302 Yep Jaguar so underated. Yes 5200 was OG Atari and the Tramiels just continued selling it I believe. ....
@KingMike They did have a few big hitters on the books for the Jaguar , But none of the games made the light of day.. Which was a a shame. Thay contacted so many companies and said yeah we like that for the system but never caem up with the cash or commonly gave out a retainer then never followed through to seal the deal... FIGHT FOR LIFE on the Jaguar was a prime example. they never paid the dev his arranged fee, just got a reatiner , so when Atari asked for the game to release , he sent them the beta version and not the final aplpha Gold version. Atari released the beta version to the public, which is the one game I have that I know is actually not in finished form. But out there is the final code some where , that dev must still have it.
@KITG_GROUP Sega was so concerned about the Jaguar that’s why the 32x was developed. But the Jag as we all know suffered badly by a series of bad decisions by the Tramiel family.
I always say if Nolan Bushnell never sold to Warner OR at least in turn Warner didn’t get cold feet and sell to the Tramiel family one can only wonder where Atari would be today! 🤔
Yeah it was Jack Tramiels son who was in charge in the Atari Falcon and Jaguar years, Jack came out of retirement after Sam had a heart attack. ,And he saw the state it was all in closed it down. But Jack was a clever guy , maybe if he had still been in charge at the launch of the Jag and Falcon it might have been different. Jack was the man behind the Commodore 64 and Atari ST and they where great sellers. As far as Bushnell where never know , he was more of a boffin he needed a better corperation to get the marketing right, for some of the games . And Time Warner well they where out to make bucks and were not going to risk being stuck with a dumpling.
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