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On Yahoo's front page right now.

 

ATARI

 

 

Atari blasts back from the past with new game plan

 

 

LONDON (Reuters Life!) – For many gamers Atari is a blast from the past or just a logo on retro T-shirts but the company that dates back 36 years is looking to reclaim a stake of the video game landscape.

 

Atari Inc., founded by Nolan Bushnell, launched the first truly successful video game "Pong" in 1972 but has struggled in recent years with lackluster games like "Jenga World Tour" and "Godzilla Unleashed."

 

But a change in ownership this year aims to reinvigorate the company. French game publisher Infogrames had owned a majority stake in Atari since 2000 but acquired the rest of Atari this year and has assumed its name.

 

New Atari President Phil Harrison, who helped build Sony Worldwide Studios into a leading game development factory, said it's now up to the game maker to build the products and services that do the well-known Atari brand justice.

 

"Having a cool logo and a brand that's known throughout the world is great, but unless it stands for something and actually resonates with our players by delivering great value, fun gameplay, and entertainment, it doesn't mean anything," he said.

 

Analysts said Atari had an interesting but checkered past which could makes some consumers -- and investors -- wary of its bid to get back on top of the game.

 

"The Atari name will always mean 'old school cool' to gamers, but the brand may need some rehab to regain respect," said Billy Pidgeon, videogame analyst at IDC.

 

Atari used London's 02 Arena to showcase 14 games heading to stores in 2009, most of which will ship in the first six months.

 

MOVIES TO MMO GAMES

 

For the more hardcore gamers, Atari will bring developer CD Projekt RED's "The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf," a fantasy role-playing game, to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in autumn 2009. Atari will also handle retail distribution of CCP Games' "EVE Online," which gets a global release March 10.

 

The company is also reviving the arcade boxing game "Ready 2 Rumble Revolution" on Wii next year.

 

Having worked with Hollywood on games like Shiny Entertainment's "Enter the Matrix" and Atari Los Angeles' "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," the company also plans to use a pair of established movie brands to widen its audience.

 

"Ghostbusters: The Videogame" ships in June as the Sony Pictures film marks its 25th anniversary and plays like an interactive third film in the franchise with the cast involved.

 

Atari is bringing a virtual Vin Diesel to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the spring in "Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena," a shooter that further explores the back story of Riddick from the films "Pitch Black" and "Chronicles of Riddick."

 

Just this week, Atari acquired California-based Cryptic Studios for $28 million (plus the potential for another $20 million in bonus payments), a developer that produces massively multiplayer online (MMO) games.

 

Harrison said he believes the future of gaming is online.

 

Atari will publish Cryptic's three upcoming games in 2009, 2010 and 2011 with the first out the gate the comic book heroes and villains of "Champions Online," followed by "Star Trek Online" in 2010 and an unannounced MMO game for 2011.

 

With its early slate now set, and new internal game development under way at its new London studio and its established Eden Studio in Lyon, France, Atari's management now has to deliver on its promise of better quality games.

 

"I think Phil Harrison and Paulina Bozek (head of Atari's London Studio) will be instrumental in building a mass market library, which will help the publisher compete in today's market," said Pidgeon.

Edited by IHATETHEBEARS

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Thing is, though...this isn't Atari as we know it. This is Infogrames.

As I've said before though, Atari "as we know it" has barely ever existed. At its peak, it wasn't owned by the person who founded it, and then during perhaps its most prolific (product wise) period it was owned by another group. Atari "as we know it" was owned by three separate groups of people, so Infograms owning the name is really not much different from the Tramiels buying it from Warner who kind of bought it from Bushnell.

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"Ghostbusters: The Videogame" ships in June as the Sony Pictures film marks its 25th anniversary and plays like an interactive third film in the franchise with the cast involved.

 

An only foggily-related side note, yes, but.... 'with the cast involved'. THE cast? How far in the future is this one going to be set? :lol:

 

On a related note, I am rather glad to see the Atari name trying to fight its way back to a respectable place, but you are correct; the Atari we know and love hasn't been the same company for many, many years, sadly.

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Re: Ghostbusters - yes, THE cast, except Rick Moranis, who has apparently retired from acting.

 

Re: Atari's "New Game Plan" - yeah, right. :roll:

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"Ghostbusters: The Videogame" ships in June as the Sony Pictures film marks its 25th anniversary and plays like an interactive third film in the franchise with the cast involved.

 

An only foggily-related side note, yes, but.... 'with the cast involved'. THE cast? How far in the future is this one going to be set? :lol:

 

On a related note, I am rather glad to see the Atari name trying to fight its way back to a respectable place, but you are correct; the Atari we know and love hasn't been the same company for many, many years, sadly.

 

I believe all the cast members lended their voices to the game.

Edited by IHATETHEBEARS

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yea i was reading about that, rick m. made so much dough from the honey i shrunk my balls franchise that he just retired. shame he wouldn't come out to play with gate keepers and keymasters one last time :(

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Re: Ghostbusters - yes, THE cast, except Rick Moranis, who has apparently retired from acting.

 

Re: Atari's "New Game Plan" - yeah, right. :roll:

 

If you saw the lame attempt that he and Dave Thomas did at resurrecting The McKenzie Brothers last year, you'dve agreed that retiring was a good idea.

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They need to announce a new system and directly take on Nintendo, Sony, and M$.

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They need to announce a new system and directly take on Nintendo, Sony, and M$.

Yes and no. They need to announce a new system, but no they don't need to take on the others. By a "new" system, I mean the Flashback Portable with downloadable games, including AA homebrews. Also, by "need" I mean "in my dreams they need to, but in reality it would be, at best, a neat side project for them."

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I'd like to see a return to old Atari mantra:

 

"Easy to learn but a lifetime to master."

 

It looks like they releasing the same sort of things other studios are releasing which is interactive movies and games that require an excess of controls and arcanum just to learn how to play. I don't advocate them strictly publishing rehashed retro titles but I would like to see them re-embrace the engaging elegant simplicity of the old Atari. A different thing they could do games for platforms like cell phones and "casual gaming" titles for things like PSPs. I'd also like to see titles that put speed and responsiveness ahead of eyecandy. Again, I don't advocate the spartanness of a 2600 title but making those the priority would be a refreshing change.

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They need to announce a new system and directly take on Nintendo, Sony, and M$.

Yes and no. They need to announce a new system, but no they don't need to take on the others. By a "new" system, I mean the Flashback Portable with downloadable games, including AA homebrews. Also, by "need" I mean "in my dreams they need to, but in reality it would be, at best, a neat side project for them."

 

I agree. A new Flashback system would be an excellent move, especially if it was set up directly from the factory to accept the original cartridges as well. Downloadable games would be the right thing to do as well.

 

Atari could have downloadable packages for the Flashback such as an Adventure pack (Adventure, Haunted House, Pitfall, etc.), a Space pack (Solaris, Star Raiders, Demon Attack), etc. They'd have to get licensing agreements with Activision and some others, but it would be worth it.

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They need to announce a new system and directly take on Nintendo, Sony, and M$.

Yes and no. They need to announce a new system, but no they don't need to take on the others. By a "new" system, I mean the Flashback Portable with downloadable games, including AA homebrews. Also, by "need" I mean "in my dreams they need to, but in reality it would be, at best, a neat side project for them."

 

A portable would be a great idea. Imagine a handheld 2600/5200/7800 with like 50 games built-in right out of the box. Then, you can sell downloadable games in packs of likr 5 or 10. It wouldn't even have to have a huge HD, or a nix the HD and use an SD card. How many 2600 games would fit on a 4 gig HD/SD card anyway? I'd imagine tons.

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That looks great. Is it actually coming out? Needs a cart port :) and a mini joystick instead of a godawful d-pad. no 2600 should ever be without it's joystick.

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They need to announce a new system and directly take on Nintendo, Sony, and M$.

 

With their deep pockets and even deeper consumer electronics, supply chain, manufacturing, marketing and distribution experience, I don't think the big 3 would have a chance. Perhaps they should also take on Toyota, Boeing/Airbus, Apple/IBM/Sun, AT&T Wireless, Deutesche Telecom and Walmart.

 

You know, to make it a fair fight.

And they can team up with Amiga Inc, the new Commodore, and oh, maybe Majesco.

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