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Why didn't Microsoft snap up the Atari brand when launching Xbox?

Microsoft Atari Xbox Brand

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#1 travistouchdown OFFLINE  


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Posted Thu Nov 12, 2015 8:55 AM

I know that when Atari was building up to the original Xbox launch, the Atari brand was tarnished in many ways, but it did (and still does) have a huge amount of cache as a hugely influental American game and game console maker.  From a marketing and business standpoint there are a lot of good arguments for them to have cheaply bought the established name and slapped in on their first game console.  For example Atari 9600, by Microsoft, or something along those lines.   I bet there was at least some consideration of the idea at Microsoft at the time.  Instant brand recognition and cache from the American gaming public was up for grabs, but they passed.  What do you think?

#2 ubersaurus OFFLINE  



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Posted Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:30 AM

Why would they? Atari was basically a failed brand associated solely with the early 1980s by 2001, notable really only for its nostalgia cache. Recall that the 7800, Lynx and Jaguar didn't set the world on fire in the slightest, and we were 20 years removed from the 2600's heyday. Infogrames also wasn't going to sell it in 2001, either, and Microsoft as a brand name was/is MUCH stronger than Atari to the general public.

#3 save2600 ONLINE  



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Posted Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:44 AM

More like they didn't want a boat anchor brand to hasten their eventual sinking.   :lol:  

#4 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:08 AM

Because the damaged Atari brand would have done nothing for them. Microsoft clearly did just fine establishing the Xbox brand on their own and today it's one of the best known brands in the world. 


As for the Atari name, it's telling that after all these years no one has swooped in whole hog to "save it," but instead its various properties have been bought up piecemeal.  It's a nostalgia brand, these days, nothing more. When the average person thinks Atari, they think "2600," and some of the higher profile IPs, and little more beyond that.

#5 GoldenWheels OFFLINE  



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Posted Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:25 AM

I hear the Edsel brand name is up for sale if anyone wants to start a car company.

Edited by GoldenWheels, Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:26 AM.

#6 Flojomojo OFFLINE  


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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:08 AM

I'm still a little bummed that it isn't in better hands, like Star Wars is with Disney. I suspect Microsoft know exactly how well (or not) all those retro remakes on Game Room and Xbox Live Arcade sold. If ther were told in them thar hills, they would have grabbed it.

#7 carlsson OFFLINE  


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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 1:05 PM

Lucky + GoldStar = LG.

Perhaps Texas Instruments should've bought Atari and likewise formed a joint company ATI... wait, perhaps that acronym already exists? :)

#8 CatPix OFFLINE  


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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:35 PM

Before 2001, Microsoft was not only selling OS and softwares, they wre also selling hardware.

It's almost impossible for anyone that was born around 1990 and before and have been around computers to NOT have seen this :




Microsoft Flight Simulator is actually a short year older than Windows 1!

The Sidewinder line of gamepads and other gaming acessories was launched in 1995.


In 1999 is wasn't a secret that Sega and Microsoft worked together on th Dreamcast (you can notice a troubling ressemblance between the DC and the Xbox).


In 2001, Microsoft was a well established name for PC gamers - and in 2001 Atari was either bad memories for older gamers, and a blank, unknow name for the gamers born after 1990 (I never understood the decision to replace Infogrames by Atari, personally - I though and still think it was one huge mistake).

Edited by CatPix, Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:35 PM.

#9 zylon OFFLINE  



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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 4:03 PM

I hear the Edsel brand name is up for sale if anyone wants to start a car company.


Still have a couple of those. ;)

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#10 BillyHW OFFLINE  


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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:29 PM

I'm surprised Sony or Microsoft hasn't tried to by Atari, Sega or even Nintendo.


Not to name their system after, but for the games IP and characters.

#11 CatPix OFFLINE  


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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:53 PM

Nintendo is far too big to be bought.. and I think that Nintendo only introduced them very recently on the stock market, so they simply coudln't be bought in 2001.

Plus, Sony might have liked to buy Nintendo or Sega in 1995 to beef up the Playstation, but by 2001 the PS1 and the PS2 had solid licences.

Microsoft's idea was to bring PC games on the console market, not to revive aging franchises.

Especially when they entered the market in 2001... The Xbox is more or less a Dreamcast II.

Microsoft would have never entered the market by pulling the dead weight of a zombie brand (Atari) or by trying to pull up a dying name.

Edited by CatPix, Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:54 PM.

#12 empsolo OFFLINE  



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Posted Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:00 AM

I'm surprised Sony or Microsoft hasn't tried to by Atari, Sega or even Nintendo.


Not to name their system after, but for the games IP and characters.

Microsoft attempted to buy Nintendo back in the early 2000's but were blocked by the Japanese law that prohibits companies and individuals from outside of Japan from owning japanese companies.

#13 godslabrat ONLINE  



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Posted Sun Nov 15, 2015 1:34 PM

I'm sure Microsoft isn't at all interested in my opinion, but if I were them, I would have done anything I could to buy up Atari, Capcom, Konami, and Sega, and made them Xbox exclusives.  Individually, they might all be pale imitations of their former selves, but collectively they would have had a very attractive set of IPs to draw in long-time gamers.  One of the biggest complaints about the original Xbox was the lack of high-profile exclusives.  I'm not saying owning those four companies would have changed everything, but Microsoft did waste an absurd amount of money establishing the Xbox as a brand... I don't see how it would have been worse than some of the other crap they did.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Microsoft, Atari, Xbox, Brand

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