Atari's Bringing it Back to the Old School - The UpStream

Atari's Bringing it Back to the Old School

posted Sunday Jun 12, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Atari's Bringing it Back to the Old School

Every E3, the concern is that one of the Big 3 will eventually make a lousy presentation or product that will sink them to the bottom of the gaming ocean, which would then open up a spot for someone else to take the reigns. For me, Sony is still teetering on the brink of destruction and Nintendo isn't too far behind, so what better time, then, for Atari to come out and say they want back in the gaming market?

Everybody knows Atari. The 2-bit sounds of Pong still ring true in my head to this day and I'd be furious if anyone bothered me during a serious session of Asteroids. Well, now Atari's looking to come back with new, social games. They're aiming for the Apple products and, sigh, Facebook. This means Atari will be going from arcade games, to home games, to now the digital realm. If you recall, Atari left the console game in '96 after seven million changes in ownership.

What should we expect to see and how will this all play out? My thoughts are after the break.

Atari is now looking to bulk up its library of social games so you can get to them via Internet, tablet or smartphone. They even want to rehash their classic games in a modern light, similar to Nintendo's approach at E3.

If you recall, in December we saw Asteroids hit the Facebook platform, complete with a social leaderboard. Then in April, Atari's Greatest Hits rolled over to the Apple App Store, with 100 games for only $14.99. Because of the success of that gaming bundle, with over 3 million downloads, Atari is planning to strengthen the Apple relationship even more by introducing a joystick that can plug into the iPad. That accessory should cost users $30 to $70 depending on design.

Chief Executive Jim Wilson said that we could see their older games recreated or re-imagined. He added,

We see a great opportunity to deliver Atari's classic properties in their original form to a large fan base from the older casual games player to the fanboy gamer.

The good news is that the consoles will get some love, too. Warlords will be making its way to Xbox Live and the PSN, and you can play them with up to four others on the respective services.

This is all going to come down to how well they can put this plan together and put it into action. Making online, social games is totally different from making console titles. With 30% of Atari's business already being digital media, they have enough riding on this that could break them if it doesn't go well.

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