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7800 Atari Corp. Revival

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here is an interesting scenario: sega lived for a long time in the face of nintendo's third party publisher dominance partially because they had their own games division. would the outcome have been different for atari corp had jack acquired atari games in 1984? was that a realistic option for him?

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One of the many reasons why Microsoft will never have what it takes to match Apple's style and design ingenuity.

 

 

While I'm a big fan of Apple stuff (typing this on an iMac), let's get back on topic. ;)

 

Edited by DracIsBack

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here is an interesting scenario: sega lived for a long time in the face of nintendo's third party publisher dominance partially because they had their own games division. would the outcome have been different for atari corp had jack acquired atari games in 1984? was that a realistic option for him?

 

 

According to the book "Game Over", Atari Games would've cost Jack $10 million more in 1984. And Warner would've sold it so long as they retained a 25% stake in the combined company. That was the one thing Steve Ross insisted on; he wanted someone else to revive Atari while Atari's woes were no longer dragging down Warner's stock price - which had triggered Rupert Murdoch's hostile takeover attempt - and then he wanted to buy back the company on-the-cheap once it was turned around. This is why Ross wouldn't sell Atari to Philips because Philips insisted on owning 100% of the company; Tramiel agreed and Warner owned a 25% stake in Atari Corp. for most of that company's life. EGM back in 1991 reported that [Time] Warner approached the Tramiels about selling their stake in Atari Corp back - and this was right after Time Warner had reacquired Atari Games - but they passed on the golden opportunity.

 

 

 

While I'm a big fan of Apple stuff (typing this on an iMac), let's get back on topic. ;)

 

I only type this from my MacBook because neither Atari nor the Amiga have a modern platform as a realistic alternative.

 

Perhaps had Jack Tramiel and Irving Gould put away their sharp weapons when the Atari/Commodore lawsuits were settled and agreed to combine the ST and Amiga into a single shared platform, we would have a viable third computer platform to this day [and I don't mean Linux]...

Edited by Lynxpro

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Two way off-topic things:

1. I always post on my iPhone

2. Can those old atari machines go online (serious question!)

 

 

Which Atari computers? Are you asking about the 8-bits [400/800/XL/XE] or the 16/32 bits [sT/Mega/STe/MegaSTE/TT/Falcon]?

 

The STs and up had early web browsers. I'll let someone else from the "scene" tell whether ethernet has been enabled on them via expansion.

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wouldn't acquiring the games division solved a lot of issues? would the 10mil dept made atari corp suffer? and i realize that this has been addressed but would it have made any impact on the 7800's release? i bet in terms of launch titles it would have!!!

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But not just that: It's even more ironic that he took control of the former consumer division of the biggest video game company in the world (at that time), took on the brand name, and then had to face off with the Japanese (namely Nintendo) and ended up having the market dominated by the Japanese to this day. icon_wink.gif

 

 

I don't know. If using a quantitative metric to meausre 'dominate', I'd probably use the 'ol 80/20 rule (because IMO a #1 position doesn't necessarily imply domination). And certainly by that measure I'd argue that the Japanesedo not dominate today.

 

In terms of games development I would even question whether Japan should be considered a #1 or #2, but even if #1 in games develoment they do not dominate as in the 80's, when it seemed as if every game was coming from Japen. And again in terms of current gen console sales, though Wii and PS3 sales combined certainly are greater than Xbox 360 sales, Xbox 360 is now alternating back and forth as the #1 console sold. And again, no matter what, it makes up much more than 20% of the current market.

 

Now the handheld market, that they dominate! icon_wink.gif But there is the iPhone.... icon_shades.gif

360 is #3 in overall sold worldwide. Also iPhone is presently the #3 o/s, Android is #1 ;)

Sorry but true! I love my android,Wii and Ps3, But always Atari is #1 with me! :D

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360 is #3 in overall sold worldwide. Also iPhone is presently the #3 o/s, Android is #1 ;)

 

Unless Sony has moved 8 million PS3's in the last couple of months, then the 360 is most certainly not #3 in worldwide sales but rather a solid second place.

 

Wii: ~84 million

360: ~50 million

PS3: ~42 million

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360 is #3 in overall sold worldwide. Also iPhone is presently the #3 o/s, Android is #1 ;)

 

Unless Sony has moved 8 million PS3's in the last couple of months, then the 360 is most certainly not #3 in worldwide sales but rather a solid second place.

 

Wii: ~84 million

360: ~50 million

PS3: ~42 million

well 360 is ahead but barely Try this one

http://www.vgchartz.com/

Wii 84.6 mil

360 51.3 ( including all the dead ones,so the active number is far less)

ps3 47.2

 

360 is a distant 2nd

 

Then..

weekly hardware chart worldwide as of 29 jan 2011

PS3 105874

Wii 81077

360 71341

 

:P

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wouldn't acquiring the games division solved a lot of issues? would the 10mil dept made atari corp suffer? and i realize that this has been addressed but would it have made any impact on the 7800's release? i bet in terms of launch titles it would have!!!

 

 

Once Tramiel passed it up, it would've been too difficult. Namco bought an 80% stake in Atari Games shortly thereafter but apparently they allowed the employees to buy it back during the turbulent time period where Atari Games/Tengen was suing [and being countersued by] Nintendo. Time Warner then re-acquired them circa 91. During a time of shareholders demanding Time Warner reduce its corporate debt, Time Warner again decided to sell off Atari Games/Tengen/Time Warner Interactive to WMS Industries [owners of Williams and the former Bally-Midway library, not to mention the Tradewest IP] in 1996. WMS spun that division off later and it became known simply as "Midway". Midway later went bankrupt in 2009 and most of it was sold to - yep, you guessed it - Time Warner through its newly created "Warner Bros. Interactive" gaming division. So apparently Warner Bros. Interactive owns all the IP for Atari Games Corp. arcade games from 1984-1996.

 

Many of the Atari Games Corp. titles eventually were licensed for the Lynx. That was after animosity between the two companies [Atari Corp. and Atari Games Corp.] was settled during their many lawsuits against Nintendo and also at the behest of the company that was the largest [minority in the case of Tramiel's Atari Corp.] shareholder of them both, Time Warner. That still didn't settle all the feelings; I can remember Sam Tramiel complaining at the 1992 Atari Corp. shareholder's meeting about the waning popularity of Atari Games Corp. titles in the arcades [this was during the whole Street Fighter 2 craze] and of course later Time Warner had Atari Games Corp. settle for actual shares in Atari Corp. in order to forgive debts from the licensing deals...

Edited by Lynxpro

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thanks for the explaination. one further question: was 10mil for jack to acquire atari games prohibitively expensive, or was it "tramiel cheapness"? interesting about the arcade titles appearing on the lynx, it seems like maybe the lynx could have enjoyed some security with more support! still I wonder... what if those titles appeared at the 7800 launch...

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thanks for the explaination. one further question: was 10mil for jack to acquire atari games prohibitively expensive, or was it "tramiel cheapness"? interesting about the arcade titles appearing on the lynx, it seems like maybe the lynx could have enjoyed some security with more support! still I wonder... what if those titles appeared at the 7800 launch...

 

 

 

Whenever I've talked about it to Leonard Tramiel, he stated that their feeling for lack of success was because they couldn't get the Lynx down cheap enough to compete with the GameBoy. They felt if they could have offered their full color system at the same price, they would have won. Their biggest cost was the color LCD, which they had negotiated with a supplier to provide at a price that would have allowed them to get the price point they wanted on the Lynx. That supplier fell through and they wound up suing him.

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This is such an informative investigation into the plan of Atari Corp. as concerns the home console line-up. Kudos.

 

My view of Tramiel has changed a great deal.

 

Gotta admit he still kinda cheaped out on really supporting the 7800. Under million dollar marketing, lack of money spent on software development, etc. I know that they were somewhat under a budget, but, I mean...damn. But that's the gamer in me who just wanted to see the stuff we got in '89-90 on 7800 show up earlier in the life cycle. I can somewhat understand why now.

 

And the hiring of Katz based on the idea that they wanted someone with knowledge of the game industry was a good one, perhaps one that should've come earlier when Jack was in negotiations with Warners to buy the consumer division. Had someone with knowledge of the game industry been a consultant for Jack they might have insisted on securing an exclusive contract with the arcade division that would allow ports to consumer products only happen on Atari hardware. Warner was keeping a part of the arcade division, and they wanted to get rid of the consumer division totally, right? With someone who understood the value of securing exclusive licenses for games, perhaps a deal would've been struck along those lines: exclusivity on Atari Corp. hardware for ports of Atari Games software as part of the "deal" to take the consumer division off of Warner's hands. That would've given Atari Corp. a steady stream of games for the 7800, 2600 and 8-bit computer line...and the then upcoming ST.

 

BTW:

 

.

 

Now the handheld market, that they dominate! icon_wink.gif But there is the iPhone.... icon_shades.gif

 

Different market.

 

iOS devices are mobile platforms in the mobile market. Portable game systems aren't really in that market or in direct competition with products in that market no more than home consoles are in direct competition with PC.

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hmm. just read the part about Atari Games costing $10 million more. I'm pretty sure even if he didn't pony up all of it, had he had someone with knowledge of the game industry in his group he would have either spent a little more to buy into the arcade division, or spent more to buy home consumer exclusivity over Atari arcade IPs.

 

Damn shame that didn't happen.

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Whenever I've talked about it to Leonard Tramiel, he stated that their feeling for lack of success was because they couldn't get the Lynx down cheap enough to compete with the GameBoy. They felt if they could have offered their full color system at the same price, they would have won. Their biggest cost was the color LCD, which they had negotiated with a supplier to provide at a price that would have allowed them to get the price point they wanted on the Lynx. That supplier fell through and they wound up suing him.

 

 

I'd imagine this was the reason why the Lynx came to the market at [approximately] $189.99 MSRP instead of $149.99 as originally intended.

 

The video game press was rather hostile to the Lynx. If I remember correctly, EGM really picked on it over the battery life issue. Even with the Feds on Nintendo's back, it still didn't help the Lynx out in terms of third party support from first tier companies.

 

It's such a damn shame because the Gameboy was such a POS in comparison. How many years was it until the GBA came out when the Gameboy line finally eclipsed the capabilities of the Lynx in 1989?

 

I'd like to see someone unseat Nintendo in hand helds. I've always felt the PSP was the spiritual heir to the Lynx but even with Sony's money, they still have been unable to beat Nintendo there.

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360 is #3 in overall sold worldwide. Also iPhone is presently the #3 o/s, Android is #1 icon_wink.gif

 

Unless Sony has moved 8 million PS3's in the last couple of months, then the 360 is most certainly not #3 in worldwide sales but rather a solid second place.

 

Wii: ~84 million

360: ~50 million

PS3: ~42 million

well 360 is ahead but barely Try this one

http://www.vgchartz.com/

Wii 84.6 mil

360 51.3 ( including all the dead ones,so the active number is far less)

ps3 47.2

 

360 is a distant 2nd

 

Then..

weekly hardware chart worldwide as of 29 jan 2011

PS3 105874

Wii 81077

360 71341

 

icon_razz.gif

 

 

Still different than #3 worldwide, and say what you will about M$, I will always be appreciative that they brought an American company back into the console fray, along with Xbox Live. Keep PSN, I'll pay for a good on-line service. Period.

 

As far as the weekly numbers, they're meaningless for January. Microsoft has already said that they pulled product from planned January and Februay shippments to meet heavy December demand. So they're isn't enough product to meet demand right now.

 

But now this is a major digression and I'm starting to enter fanboydom (bad, bad!!!). icon_shades.gif

Edited by Metal Ghost

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BTW:

 

.

 

Now the handheld market, that they dominate! icon_wink.gif But there is the iPhone.... icon_shades.gif

 

Different market.

 

iOS devices are mobile platforms in the mobile market. Portable game systems aren't really in that market or in direct competition with products in that market no more than home consoles are in direct competition with PC.

 

 

I would argue that the lines are blurring here, just as those lines blurred between consoles and home computers during the early '80s. Someone who likes a quick game on the subway who during the Gameboy era would've played on that platform now can simply buy Angry Birds on their iPhone. It may not be a 'direct' competitor, but the markets most defnitely overlap.

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360 is #3 in overall sold worldwide. Also iPhone is presently the #3 o/s, Android is #1 icon_wink.gif

 

Unless Sony has moved 8 million PS3's in the last couple of months, then the 360 is most certainly not #3 in worldwide sales but rather a solid second place.

 

Wii: ~84 million

360: ~50 million

PS3: ~42 million

well 360 is ahead but barely Try this one

http://www.vgchartz.com/

Wii 84.6 mil

360 51.3 ( including all the dead ones,so the active number is far less)

ps3 47.2

 

360 is a distant 2nd

 

Then..

weekly hardware chart worldwide as of 29 jan 2011

PS3 105874

Wii 81077

360 71341

 

icon_razz.gif

 

 

Still different than #3 worldwide, and say what you will about M$, I will always be appreciative that they brought an American company back into the console fray, along with Xbox Live. Keep PSN, I'll pay for a good on-line service. Period.

 

As far as the weekly numbers, they're meaningless for January. Microsoft has already said that they pulled product from planned January and Februay shippments to meet heavy December demand. So they're isn't enough product to meet demand right now.

 

But now this is a major digression and I'm starting to enter fanboydom (bad, bad!!!). icon_shades.gif

 

 

I despise Microsoft although I own a 360 [in addition to my PS3]. At this point, Sony is just as much an American company - if not more - than Microsoft.

 

Microsoft's underhanded dealings in the video game industry is the reason why 3dfx went under, not to mention Sega as a hardware company. I won't forgive them for either of those acts. With that having been said, I despise Nintendo even more. I hope the 3Ds is an even bigger flop than the VirtualBoy [or Windows Phone 7]...

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I don't get all the anti-Microsoft vitriol. If you don't like them, don't buy their products. If you like them, or simply don't care (raising hand here) then buy their products if you get a good deal. No further concern necessary.

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I don't get all the anti-Microsoft vitriol. If you don't like them, don't buy their products. If you like them, or simply don't care (raising hand here) then buy their products if you get a good deal. No further concern necessary.

 

 

It's hard to ignore them because they have a habit of jumping into every [profitable] portion of the tech industry they can with their mediocre wares.

 

I have no respect for a company that built their success on ripping off the technology of others and passing it off as their own. And I'm not talking about Windows vs. Mac/Atari/Amiga, I'm talking about the pilfering of DEC's version of BASIC, followed by ripping off CP/M nearly line for line for their PC-DOS.

 

As for American pride and Microsoft, just remember they tried to sell out the entire American computer industry by creating the MSX "standard" as the launchpad for the Japanese invasion of the home computer industry.

 

To me, Microsoft is "The Mule" from Asimov's Foundation series.

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I have no respect for a company that built their success on ripping off the technology of others and passing it off as their own. And I'm not talking about Windows vs. Mac/Atari/Amiga, I'm talking about the pilfering of DEC's version of BASIC, followed by ripping off CP/M nearly line for line for their PC-DOS.

 

I once found, in a copy of MASM.EXE I think it was, probably version 1.0, some text that came from a TOPS-20 system. Yes, a true DEC Kl10, basically a PDP-10. I used to work on them, so I know a lot about them. The text was definitely from a TOPS-20 system, I think it was a SYSTAT if I recall correctly.

 

This means the exe was cross-compiled on a DEC mainframe. Go figure. I once read somewhere that someone had stolen "time" on a university computer to compile DOS, again, matching what I found.

 

You mentioning DEC BASIC fits into that scenario.

 

 

As for American pride and Microsoft, just remember they tried to sell out the entire American computer industry by creating the MSX "standard" as the launchpad for the Japanese invasion of the home computer industry.

 

To me, Microsoft is "The Mule" from Asimov's Foundation series.

 

How apropos.

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fascinating!! I must admit, I have always operated under the assumption that the 7800 and jr were a reaction to the success of the NES. I do wonder, though, why Atari Games didn't get the 7800 into stores (did they own it and Jack didn't? was that the problem?). I haven't read the tread in it's entirety so my apologies if this question was already addressed....

Yes, Atair Corp had planned on using the consoles to support them from the start. One thing that did spur support for the 7800 and getting the Jr out was strongly increasing sales of the 2600 in summer and fall (though the holiday season) of 1985, the same time Nintendo was running their small failed NY test market (the first success would come in early '86). I think Atari ran out of 2600 back stock at that point and had production going again (if they'd ever stopped), but couldn't match the demand. ;) (not sure if the Jr was out by the end of the year or if they were pushing out new Vaders in the interim) Mike Katz arrival and the corresponding formation of the ACorp entertainment division also spurred the game console side of things. (Katz was brought onboard in mid '85 as part of the lead up to the 7800 launch -Warner and Tramel having settled the GCC issue earlier that year)

 

 

Also, some good stuff here on the overall transitional issues from Inc to Corp:

http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/171887-the-tramiels/page__st__100__p__2181412#entry2181412

http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/171887-the-tramiels/page__st__125__p__2183245#entry2183245

http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/171887-the-tramiels/page__st__125__p__2183904#entry2183904

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But not just that: It's even more ironic that he took control of the former consumer division of the biggest video game company in the world (at that time), took on the brand name, and then had to face off with the Japanese (namely Nintendo) and ended up having the market dominated by the Japanese to this day. icon_wink.gif

 

 

I don't know. If using a quantitative metric to meausre 'dominate', I'd probably use the 'ol 80/20 rule (because IMO a #1 position doesn't necessarily imply domination). And certainly by that measure I'd argue that the Japanesedo not dominate today.

 

In terms of games development I would even question whether Japan should be considered a #1 or #2, but even if #1 in games develoment they do not dominate as in the 80's, when it seemed as if every game was coming from Japen. And again in terms of current gen console sales, though Wii and PS3 sales combined certainly are greater than Xbox 360 sales, Xbox 360 is now alternating back and forth as the #1 console sold. And again, no matter what, it makes up much more than 20% of the current market.

 

Now the handheld market, that they dominate! icon_wink.gif But there is the iPhone.... icon_shades.gif

 

I meant as the final outcome of a generation, and the result very well leave Nintendo and Sony with over 80% net market share. (I was thinking more 70%+ for "dominant", otherwise the NES technicaly didn't dominate the US market as such given the Intev+2600+7800+SMS took over 20% of the overall hardware sales of that generation, more so if you go by the late 80s when the competition was most active -by '91 those other 8-bits were more or less dead)

 

 

OTOH, it's also been largely due to heavily built-up US/western divisions that Japanese companies have been successful and Sega is sort of an odd case. (Service Games and Rosen Enterprises both founded by Americans and Dave Rosen still head of the US board of directors until 1996, plus the very heavy build-up of Sega of America in the Katz and Kalinske years having very much to do with their success)

Atari Corp was offered the distribution rights to the MD back in '88 interestingly enough, but Rosen and Tramiel couldn't agree on the terms though Katz favored it. (Katz and Jack would both leave Atari Corp towards the end of that year, Katz planned a break from the industry but stepped back in early to join Sega just after the launch of the Genesis -I believe he was recruited, he laid the groundwork for the later success and launched the first truly successful competitive ad campaign with "Genesis Does" -also got a favorable deal with EA that avoided them going unlicensed, started the Sega Sports franchise, pushed for celebrity tie-ins, and more ;) -he was replaced by Kalinske in 1991 -transitioning in late 1990)

 

At the time, the MD was hardly an obvious success (the hardware specs and Sega's software support were the only knowns), Atari Corp had stronger market share in the US than Sega at the time, and they also had plans for a next-gen game console (ST derivatives among other things). In the end their own plans didn't materialize as products and there were other screw-ups, but you could also blame those on the general downward spiral after Jack left. (both computers and cosnoles, and losing Katz was probably a major blow as well -makes me wonder how Jack and Katz would have done things if they'd stayed)

Edited by kool kitty89

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In California. icon_wink.gif

Yes, as indicated right on the back of the iPhone and iPod:

 

post-3819-129667630842_thumb.png

 

"Designed by Apple in California." As Joel Spolsky points out, it's a much more seductive and evocative phrase than the one Microsoft puts on the Zune ...

 

post-3819-129667631443_thumb.png

 

... which evokes nothing except Boeing, constant rainstorms, and the suicidal Kurt Cobain. One of the many reasons why Microsoft will never have what it takes to match Apple's style and design ingenuity.

 

 

Sorry, but I always liked the 'Hello from Seattle' phrase on the back of Zune. Sorry, I know it's an older post, but I just noticed it.

Edited by Metal Ghost

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