Atari Changing Focus to Online Gaming
Troubled publisher Atari will be switching focus to online gaming, including secure server-based games and free-to-play options, as part of its ongoing turnaround efforts.
David Gardner, CEO of Atari parent company Infogrames, said in an interview with GamesIndustry that the increasingly online nature of videogames presents an opportunity for the company to reestablish itself. "The business and the industry is moving online on a global basis," he said. "It's moving at different speeds in different countries, but it's pretty clear to me that the whole way that people are going to want to buy their games, play their games, interface with their games is network centric. That's where we need to get a lot smarter, a lot quicker, and use this famous brand."
"For me, the future is in creating very high quality games that are using technology with games playing on a server. Not worry about configurations and all those performance issues," he added. "All that stuff should be seamless like a phone service - you pick up the phone and you get a dial tone and that's it. You should be able to go to the computer and get some game time."
Gardner also said that despite the recent sell-off of some high-profile properties, Atari still maintains a healthy back-catalog of games it can employ in the future. "The good news is that we have a massive catalog of properties. We have the DNA of every major company through gaming history - the Ocean, GT Interactive, Gremlin, Accolade factor of products, it's a long genetic history." But he added that the company would not simply dump old games onto the market, saying that doing so would be a "mistake."
Gardner, who took over as Infogrames CEO from Patrick Leleu on January first, recently said that despite the long and ongoing financial troubles of Atari's U.S. branch, he was not interested in cutting his company's losses by selling it off.
Guys, you have a few things wrong. Its Infogrames that's changing focus to online gaming with the Atari properties it owns, not Atari Inc. Likewise, its Infogrames that has a healthy back catalog, not Atari Inc. Atari Inc. does not own the atari name or properties, they lease it from Atari Interactive - a division of Infogrames. Atari Inc. is a separate company that is simply majority owned by Infogrames. All the news announcements regarding Gardner and Harrison have been in reference to Infogrames and its move back to being a developer/publisher again, and nothing to do with the U.S. based Atari Inc.