December 12, 2014
Atari's Next Steps
A few weeks back, we highlighted the release of a documentary called Atari: Game Over that digs into one of the biggest game-related urban legends ever: Did Atari really dump hundreds of thousands of copies of E.T.: The Game into a landfill? It turns out that, yes, they actually did do that, though that's not the only question answered by the film. Others, such as "why?!", come up as well, and they got us thinking: What about Atari itself? How has it changed since the days of E.T.? Quite a bit, it turns out, and here's a look at where the brand once known for some of the most groundbreaking games is right now.
Check out more after the jump...
What you know about Atari's stance in the gaming world all depends on whether or not you have kept up with them since the '80s. It almost feels like an understatement to say that a lot has changed, because, well, it has! Like, they haven't made a console since the '90s, which is when their Jaguar system failed miserably. Some will argue that something like the Atari Flashback is, in fact, a console, and they'd be right to an extent. However, it does not require the loading of cartridges like the old-school Atari and instead is like a mini-computer dedicated to playing the company's classic games.
In place of putting out new consoles, Atari has shifted its focus to releasing more installments in series such as RollerCoaster Tycoon, which is easily one of their most popular and successful. The company has also begun working on breaking into new territory to increase revenue.
In an interview HITC Tech, Atari CEO Fred Chesnais revealed that he believes the company's latest move is one that's a "natural extension of the business." It's a full-fledged jump into the realm of online casinos with options that allow users to revisit their favorite games of old while putting money on the line. While this may seem like an odd choice for Atari, the connection between video games and gambling is closer than you think. That's clear in browsing through the games available at the Betfair platform, where you can find pop culture icons all over the place along with to a game themed after classic arcade fighter Street Fighter II.
And despite the fact that Atari clearly has some competition in online gaming, such as the aforementioned platform, Chesnias is confident. He told HITC that the response so far has been positive and that it's "a long-term venture and we will introduce new games as we grow."
Now, with all that being said, Chesnais remains committed to the people who made the company what it was in the beginning—the gamers. In addition to launching a new online multiplayer battle arena gam called Minimum, Atari will soon release a mobile game called Pridefest that's aimed at the LGBTQ community. Also, you can fully expect more games in the RollerCoaster Tycoon series and, hopefully, new titles on their online arcade.