It seems like this has been a bad month for old school gaming companies. We recently reported that THQ has sold off its assets to various companies and has closed its doors for good. Now, Atari has also struggled to find a hold in today's gaming market and the company has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company said in a written statement that it is looking to "secure independent capital for future growth, primarily in the areas of digital and mobile games." This is a little bit different though, as the filing is for the American division of Atari only, and it is a move to try and find buyers for the American branch to break away from its less-than profitable French parent company.
Atari has also mentioned in their statement that March 31st will mark the expiration of their contract with BlueBay, the company's leading investor and only lender. So far, no future lender has been found but Atari has been given approval to receive $5 million from Tenor Capital, which is a company whose expertise is in distressed lending, exactly what Atari needs, at least temporarily, to jump-start some of its newer digital projects.
Atari U.S. will have three to four months to look for potential buyers for its assets, which also involve the Atari logo and the entire game lineup for the company. To date, Atari owns or operates over 200 different gaming titles and franchises.
We hope that a lot of the titles and franchises will find good homes with other game studios around the world. After the very recent THQ sale, though, I wonder how many studios will still have enough cash-in-hand to continue to make acquisitions. Hopefully, all of the assets will end up going to one company who can carry on the Atari brand with the integrity and respect that the name deserves.