Atari, the developer of iconic groundbreaking video games such as Asteroids and Pong, is about to reinvent and relaunch itself as an interactive entertainment production company that will see it move into online casinos, as well as other areas beyond its traditional gaming business.
Once the fastest growing company in US history, Atari’s fortunes declined rapidly during the 1990s and 2000s to the extent that it was almost declared bankrupt in 2013. However, a new corporate strategy has been launched, that will see Atari move into online casinos (in collaboration with Pariplay in Tel Aviv) and social gaming (in partnership with FlowPlay), as it searches for a new audience in a bid to recreate its earlier halcyon days.
Alongside of this, the company is also looking to branch out in a variety of other ways, including releasing new versions of its classic games on contemporary mobile platforms such as iOS and Android, as well as producing exclusive video content, creating a new gaming hardware licensing business, and producing its own range of wearable devices and innovations and such as ‘gamified’ watches.
Atari’s back catalogue games that have already been released in versions for mobile gaming are having some success, with more titles set for imminent release.
Fred Chesnais, CEO of Atari, is reported as saying, ”We’re looking forward to delivering on our new strategy and engaging with our audience in new ways across multiple channels as the next era of Atari unfolds. We are leading a rebuilding exercise in a highly volatile industry, so at the same time we are also aware of the challenges that lay ahead.”
The company believes that the Atari name still has resonance and value around the world as a ‘legacy’ brand, and that new generations of fans will respond to its offerings as enthusiastically as did earlier gamers in the past.
As part of its searching out of new markets and audiences, the company is reportedly looking to develop its own YouTube channel with exclusive content and, more intriguingly, a game that is designed specifically to appeal to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) users, provisionally entitled Pride Fest.
Despite filing for bankruptcy in 2013, Atari is now reported to be debt free, although it is thought that at present there are only fourteen employees working in the company, split between its New York and Paris offices, but it is currently working with around eight third-party software developers as part of its shift in direction.