Atari - All News
Monday - September 01, 2014
Atari - Interview @ New Gamer Nation
New Gamer Nation has a new intrerview with CEO Fred Chesnais, and COO Todd Shallbetter from PAX Prime 2014 this week.
New Gamer Nation had the opportunity to sit down with Atari’s CEO Fred Chesnais and COO Todd Shallbetter to discuss a handful of titles across PC and mobile. If you’ve been wondering what Atari has been up to or what they have in store, we get right to the point.
Wednesday - August 27, 2014
Atari - Destroyed by Sale to Warner in 1976
Atari's decision to sell to Warner Communications in 1976 was a mistake that cost the iconic Pong company almost everything, according to co-founder Nolan Bushnell. During a recent Reddit AMA, Bushnell said the biggest lesson he learned at Atari was to never sell to "big Hollywood studios." This sale almost immediately marked the end of Atari, he said.
"Atari had an extraordinary corporate culture that was destroyed within two years of the sale," Bushnell said. "I think that Atari would still be important today if that sale hadn't occurred."
Atari lives on today, but only as a shell of its former self, having undergone numerous splits and acquisitions. The current version of Atari is still involved in games, having recently announced Roller Coaster Tycoon World and reboots of Alone in the Dark and Haunted House for PC.
Sunday - December 08, 2013
Atari - Cleared to Exit Bankruptcy
It seems Atari has been cleared to exit bankruptcy, and someone has cast raise dead over it's undead corspe once again.
It's been less than a year since Atari filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and today the Wall Street Journal reports the company has secured approval from both its creditors and the court for a plan to pay back part of its debt and exit bankruptcy.
If successful, the U.S.-based Atari Inc. (formerly GT Interactive) appears poised to act on its previously-stated intent to separate from French parent company Atari S.A. -- formerly known as Infogrames -- and establish itself as a purveyor of fine digital-only games.
Atari's comeback plan, approved by Judge James Peck in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Manhattan, requires the company to pay back a $3.8 million bankruptcy loan from Alden Global Capital. Atari also promises to pay its unsecured creditors "up to $560,000" when it exits bankruptcy, plus a matching amount the year after and then an extra $630,000 the year after that, for a total of roughly $1.75 million. That doesn't sound like a bad deal, especially in light of the fact that Atari's unsecured creditors are reportedly owed $10.3 million.
Atari is expected to pay the debts from a $3.4 million cash reserve, along with an extra $1.75 million the company will receive when it formally exits bankruptcy. Atari successfully sold off a number of its properties at auction this summer -- including Total Annihilation, Star Control and Master of Orion -- so it seems likely that the company is relying on that income to pay back its debts.
The loss of those much-loved franchises is likely to hamper Atari's efforts to become a major player in the digital games space, though it still has properties like Test Drive, RollerCoaster Tycoon and Fatty Bear's Birthday Surprise to fall back on.
Thanks go to avantenor for this news-bit.
Monday - January 21, 2013
Atari US - Files for Bankruptcy
Atari US has apparently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, although they expect to emerge down the track and continue operations. This is part of a bid to separate themselves from the troubled French parent company. From latimes.com:
The U.S. operations of iconic but long-troubled video game maker Atari have filed for bankruptcy in an effort to break free from their debt-laden French parent.
Atari Inc. and three of its affiliates filed petitions for Chapter 11 reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York late Sunday.
Its leaders hope to break the American business free from French parent Atari S.A. and in the next few months find a buyer to take the company private. They hope to grow a modest business focused on digital and mobile platforms, according to a knowledgeable person not authorized to discuss the matter privately.
Although the 31-year-old brand is still known worldwide for its pioneering role with video games such as "Pong" and "Asteroids," Atari has been mired in financial problems for decades. Since the early 2000s it has been closely tied to French company Infogrames, which changed its name to Atari S.A. in 2003 and in 2008 acquired all the gaming pioneer's American assets.
Thanks also to Alrik.
Source: Blues News
Tuesday - January 31, 2012
D&D: Heroes of Neverwinter - Review @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee has reviewed Atari's D&D Facebook game, Heroes of Neverinter:
Of course, just because Heroes of Neverwinter is a social game doesn't mean we don't think it's worthy of a full review - it's an official licensed Dungeons & Dragons game, after all. For what it's worth, Heroes of Neverwinter makes a good stab at capturing the fundamentals of D&D combat, and manages to provide an accessible and straightforward D&D experiences that stays true to the roots of the game. However, the relative lack of depth in gameplay, stripped-down options, and some particularly annoying design choices get in the way of what could have been (and still could be) an excellent Facebook RPG experience.
Wednesday - November 09, 2011
Atari - Two New D&D Compilation Sets
Atari sent us a press release announcing two new D&D compilation backs. The first has a full collection of Infinity Engine games plus ToEE, and the second covers NWN and NWN2 collected together. The first is $19.99 and the second $29.99 and both are due next week on November 15th:
ATARI SET TO UNLEASH TWO DUNGEONS & DRAGONS PREMIUM COLLECTIONS
The Best of Dungeons & Dragons and Neverwinter Comes to Windows PC with Two of the Ultimate Box Sets for Dragon Slayers
Los Angeles, CA — November 9, 2011 — Atari, a multi-platform, global interactive entertainment and licensing company, will release two ultimate collector edition bundle packs, Dungeons & Dragons Anthology: The Master Collection and Dungeons & Dragons: Neverwinter Nights Complete, for Windows PC on November 15th, at all retail outlets. The collections are available for preorder now at GameStop, Amazon, and Target.
Dungeons & Dragons Anthology: The Master Collection packages 6 of the most beloved classic RPG video games of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise and their expansions into a single PC Box set – the ultimate RPG package for the ultimate D&D fan. The Dungeons & Dragons Anthology: The Master Collection features some of the greatest D&D titles ever published in a single package including six Game of the Year winners, all for $19.99. Games in The Master Collection include:
· Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2 + Expansions
· Icewind Dale 1 & 2 + Expansions
· Planescape: Torment
· The Temple of Elemental Evil
Dungeons & Dragons: Neverwinter Nights Complete, a PC gaming classic for the ages, brings together every game and expansion of the critically acclaimed franchise into one compilation. Dungeons & Dragons: Neverwinter Nights Complete features two Game of the Year winners, every expansion pack, never before collection release of Neverwinter Nights 2, and a limited edition gift, all for $29.99.
· Neverwinter Nights + 3 Expansion Packs
· Neverwinter Nights 2 + 3 Expansions Packs
· Exclusive 18”x21” poster map of Neverwinter,
The Dungeons & Dragons Anthology: The Master Collection carries a suggested retail price of $19.99 and Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter Nights Complete carries a suggested retail price of $29.99. For more information on both Dungeons & Dragons bundle packs, please log onto http://www.atari.com.
Wednesday - October 12, 2011
D&D: Heroes of Neverwinter - Review @ GameSpy
Heroes of Neverwinter has been reviewed at GameSpy with a score of 3.5/5:
In short, you gather a well-balanced party and charge through battle-heavy dungeons turn-by-turn. All the while, your characters level up, gain new abilities, and maybe – just maybe – learn a little something about themselves in the process. It's standard – albeit simple – tactical RPG fare. But what it lacks in originality it makes up for with sheer compulsiveness. And it's always just a browser tab away.
Microtransactions, however, lurk around every corner. Most annoyingly, the game chains you to a slowly replenishing "energy" meter, which stops your adventurers dead in their tracks if it dips too low. At that point, you can either occupy yourself with something else (I suggest reading a book or aging) while it refills, or you can sacrifice a few dollars to leap back into action. Beyond that, I never felt particularly compelled to set down my wand and pick up my wallet, although reviving my party near the end of tougher dungeons was tempting.
Monday - October 03, 2011
D&D: Heroes of Neverwinter - Officially Launched
Atari sent news their Facebook game D&D: Heroes of Neverwinter has officially launched:
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS UNLEASHED ON FACEBOOK
Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of Neverwinter enters open beta phase
Los Angeles, CA — September 22, 2011 — The first name in roleplaying games is taking another step in its storied pop culture history as Atari brings Dungeons & Dragons to the Facebook platform. Atari, one of the world’s most recognized publishers and producers of interactive entertainment, will release Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of Neverwinter into its “open beta” period on September 15, bringing the ultimate RPG brand to the ultimate social platform.
“Heroes of Neverwinter delivers a high level of depth, polish and authenticity that will fundamentally change the way players think of RPG gaming on social platforms” said Jim Wilson, President and CEO of Atari, Inc. “Existing fans of the D&D franchise will find the translation compelling in all areas of the gameplay experience, while more casual gamers will find the adaptation accessible and intuitive.”
Legions of Halflings, Dragonborn and Eladrin will sharpen their blades and ready their spells as Facebook players around the world create their unique heroes and set forth for adventure! Explore over 50 dungeons, battle over 40 unique monsters, learn over 30 unique skills and discover hundreds of powerful magic items. Gamers can even take on the role of Dungeon Master and create their own adventures for friends and other players to explore. Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of Neverwinter will be the deepest RPG experience ever to reach the Facebook platform.
Play the game today, at http://apps.facebook.com/neverwinterheroes/?track=UsPR&kt_tu=partner, and follow Heroes of Neverwinter at www.facebook.com/heroesofneverwinter.
Sunday - September 18, 2011
D&D: Heroes of Neverwinter - Open Beta Launched
Atari sends word that D&D: Heroes of Neverwinter - the first Facebook D&D game - is now in open beta. Head here if you'd like to sign up and try it or here for the official forums. Here are some details on the game itself:
Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of Neverwinter brings the magic, lore, and adventure of Dungeons & Dragons to the Facebook in the most engaging RPG ever to hit the platform. Create your character, form your party and set forth to explore the wilderlands and dungeons of Faerun.
Character Creation & Advancement
· Character creation and growth are based on Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition rules – chose your race, class, powers and stats to build a character to fit your play style.
· Your character will grow and evolve through your adventures as you discover powerful items, select new powers, and improve your abilities.
· New equipment will be visually represented on the battlefield and on your character sheet to show off your custom appearance and gear.
· Bring your friends’ characters along as you build your adventuring party. You use their unique skills, they gain experience and loot!
· Friends can join in your adventures in Active Spectator mode. A friend can look in on your adventure, give advice in the chat channel, heal and buff your characters to improve your chances and gain additional experience!
· Visit your friends’ houses to view achievements and share gifts.
· A wide variety of monsters, traps, puzzles will face adventurers. Choose from normal, hard, or heroic difficulty to increase challenges and rewards.
· Each adventure will vary in size, from shorter linear challenges at to sprawling multi-room dungeons
· Over 50 unique adventures at launch packed with side quests, traps, and boss fights, with even more to come.
· Heroes of Neverwinter delivers deep yet accessible combat based on 4th Edition rules. Strategic use of positioning and status affecting abilities will devastate even the mightiest foes.
· Command up to 4 party members in turn based battles. Use at-will, daily, and encounter powers to win the day.
· A “point and click” interface allows new players to pick up and play, while experienced players devise advanced strategies.
Become the Dungeon Master
· Design adventures for friends and other players using the powerful dungeon creator toolset.
· Adventure to unlock new elements and enrich your dungeons.
· The most popular dungeons will earn gold for their creators.
Tuesday - August 16, 2011
Atari - Loses D&D License - Reverts back to Hasbro
Atarai have lost the D&D License to Hasbro due to a lawsuit going back to 2009, Gamebanshee tells. Here's the full press release, courtesy of Gamebanshee:
HASBRO AND ATARI RESOLVE DUNGEONS & DRAGONS RIGHTS DISPUTE
August 15, 2011 (Renton, WA) – Wizards of the Coast LLC, Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) and Atari, S.A. announced today the settlement and resolution of the complaint against Atari, S.A. and the counterclaims filed by Atari, S.A. against Hasbro, Inc. filed in December 2009 in regards to the Dungeons & Dragons brand.
Digital licensing rights for Dungeons & Dragons have been returned to Hasbro. Atari will continue to develop and market several games under license from Hasbro and Wizards, including the #1 Xbox LIVE® hit Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale and the upcoming Heroes of Neverwinter for Facebook. Additional settlement details remain private.
In addition, the acquisition of Cryptic Studios by Perfect World Entertainment Inc. from Atari in July 2011 has delayed the Neverwinter PC Game scheduled for release later this year. Perfect World will be investing in a more immersive experience for release in late 2012.
Friday - June 10, 2011
Gamma World: Alpha Mutation - First Look @ GameSpot
Oh boy...I was stunnd when I saw this preview at GameSpot - a Gamma World game based on the PnP property? Unfortunately, the preview doesn't provide much excitement as Atari and Bedlam seem to be following an even more action-oriented route than they did with Daggerdale:
In Alpha Mutation you'll assume the role of a hero created by combining any two of six different origins. Only two of the origins are being disclosed at present, and so the hero that we got to see in action was, amusingly, part radioactive man and part yeti. We're told that characters in Alpha Mutation will wield lots of different powers (known as alpha mutations) and that you'll get to customize their skill trees as you progress through the game, but during the demo all we really saw used were various ranged and melee weapons. These included some pretty conventional looking firearms as well as clearly more-advanced omegatech guns that, because they're so powerful, have a finite supply of ammo. Melee weapons included a baseball bat and a parking meter.
We didn't get to see much in the way of role-playing during the demo. Rather, what we saw looked a lot like a traditional third-person shooter; the hero was battling his way through the remains of a subway station and targeting enemies using a zoomed-in view, as well as shooting from the hip. Those enemies included small groups of flying guardbots, humanoids, and a handful of the anthropomorphic rodents known as hoops. Regardless of their shape and size, most of the enemies simply headed straight for the player, which made the demo feel like a glorified shooting range, but we were assured that the AI is still very much a work-in-progress. The demo ended when the hero encountered a small alien-looking creature known simply as a visitor.
Friday - May 20, 2011
Atari - Offloading Cryptic Studios
This was sent in earlier in the week by Kalniel but I've been swamped this week - apologies to anyone if your link has been missed. Gamasutra reports Atari has released their latest earnings report, which lists MMO studio Cryptic as a "discontinued operation". Our interest comes from Neverwinter, which Gamasutra says is still ongoing "for the time being":
As part of an earnings report today, Atari announced it is divesting of its interest in Champions Online developer Cryptic Studios, calling the development house a "discontinued operation" as of March 31.
Atari will continue to support all current Cryptic products while the publisher looks to sell the studio, Gamasutra understands. Development on the Bay Area studio's Neverwinter project will continue as normal for the time being.
Tuesday - May 03, 2011
Daggerdale - Preview @ Lazy Gamer
Lazy Gamer has a hands-on preview of Daggerdale, based on "a good deal of time with a preview build of the game for PS3". It's like Gauntlet, apparently:
One thing that might upset players when they first play is the complete lack of character creation, something many feel is an intrinsic part of role-playing. Instead, you’re presented with 4 pre-created characters; a human fighter, a dwarven cleric, an elf rogue and a halfling mage. It’s initially disappointing but it makes sense for a smaller downloadable title to forgo such robust character creation in favour of play mechanics, and it plays quite well. When you play, particularly if you play multiplayer (the game supports 2 player local and 4 player online multiplayer) the game feels like a wonderfully realised, elaborate Gauntlet – which isn’t really a bad thing.
Monday - May 02, 2011
Daggerdale - Screens @ Worthplaying
Not much to see but despite having released a couple of trailers, these are apparently the first officially sanctioned Daggerdale screens.
Wednesday - March 23, 2011
Daggerdale - Trailer @ IGN
IGN has an "announcement" trailer for Atari's D&D Daggerdale, despite having been announced a while back.
Wednesday - March 16, 2011
D&D Daggerdale - Interview @ Games Relay
There's a decent interview on D&D Daggerdale with Bedlam Games' Creative Director Zandro Chan at Games Relay:
GamesRelay: What swayed your decision to base Daggerdale in the Forgotten Realms as opposed to other campaign settings?
Zandro Chan: Being fans of D&D ourselves, the choice to stage Daggerdale in the Forgotten Realms was obvious to us. The Forgotten Realms has a rich past of exotic locations and mythology and we were never at a loss for great ideas. The backdrop is packed with vibrant history and lore and is the perfect setting for our adventure.
GamesRelay: How much of a focus are you taking with telling the story of the game?
Zandro Chan: Much like the tabletop game, the narrative is very important to us. The main quest is broken down in a series of sub quests, allowing the players to move forward at their own pace. Throughout their adventure, players will be meeting new and interesting characters, some of which will trade their allegiance for the players' help.
Thursday - February 03, 2011
D&D Daggerdale - Interview @ Eurogamer
Eurogamer: How faithful is that to 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons?
Zandro Chan: Everything we have system-wise in Daggerdale is based off of 4th Edition rules. We work extremely closely with Wizards of the Coast to streamline their system to make it work for an action RPG. A lot of their systems are actually in there, but because it is an action title as well as an RPG we truncated a number of different rules. And we worked with them to get that working properly.
Eurogamer: Why did you opt for an action game over a traditional turn-based D&D RPG?
Zandro Chan: We chose to go the action RPG route because it's something that the team felt very passionately about. It takes the two great loves that the team has and marries them together in a really cool, unique experience. So brawling is something that we all really enjoy, the action side of it brings with it a lot of opportunities to create white-knuckle gameplay. It's something we think fits really well with the RPG portion of it, which allows us to develop a character and customise that character through a longer period of time.
Wednesday - December 22, 2010
Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale - Announced
Atari has announced a new D&D game, this time a downloadable, cross-platform, 4 way co-op, action/RPG. Here's the official press release they sent over:
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS TO MAKE CROSS PLATFORM CONSOLE GAME DEBUT WITH DUNGEONS & DRAGONS DAGGERDALE
Next Chapter of Celebrated Franchise to Conquer Xbox LIVE Arcade for Xbox 360, PlayStation®Network, and Windows PC Download in 2011
London, United Kingdom — December 22, 2010 — The Forgotten Realms are under attack by the evil Zhentarim, as the next generation of the most popular fantasy role-playing game launches another thrilling interactive adventure. Atari, one of the world’s most recognised publishers and producers of interactive entertainment and Bedlam Games announced today Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale. Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale marks the first digital download release for the franchise on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®Network, and Windows PC Download at Atari.com in Spring 2011.
Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale centers on the desperate struggle to defeat the evil Rezlus and his Zhentarim in their attempt to invade and conquer the Dalelands. Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale is an engaging multi-player experience that introduces a riveting narrative and treacherous new characters. Players are charged with the task of restoring order to Nentir Vale by unlocking the secrets of the Mines of Tethyamar, defeating the evil within the treacherous Tower of the Void, leading to the final confrontation with Rezlus himself.
Action-packed RPG gameplay allows for solo and co-op play for up to four players. Gamers use intuitive pick-up-and-play combat combined with a wide assortment of weapons, feats and powers to defeat a wide range of deadly enemies. Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale boasts an array of stunning levels and exploration opportunities set in the richly detailed environments.
“The Dungeons & Dragons franchise remains a priority for Atari as we continue to build upon the ever-evolving narrative with Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale” says Jim Wilson, President and CEO of Atari, Inc. “As the first D&D cross-platform digital download title we look forward to expanding the franchise to a growing gaming audience.”
“Wizards of the Coast is excited to offer another great Dungeons & Dragons play experience,” said Liz Schuh, Brand Director at Wizards of the Coast. “This exhilarating game will be a thrill for both current fans of the brand and new players alike.”
For more information, please log onto www.atari.com.
Monday - August 23, 2010
Atari - Announce Neverwinter
There's not a lot of details on the new Neverwinter game other than it's a co-op rpg by Cryptic inspired by R.A. Salvatore's upcoming book trilogy. Eurogamer have the Neverwinter announcement details.
Cryptic COO Jack Emmert had this to say: "We're beyond thrilled to develop a brand new version of Neverwinter.
"It's been years since the original became a gaming icon and we're honored to work with such a great franchise.
"We've been working closely with Wizards of the Coast and R.A. Salvatore to create an authentic D&D adventure filled with compelling fiction and exciting gameplay."
Gamers will choose to become one of five classic D&D classes and team up with friends or the AI to form five-person co-op groups.
There's an "extremely user-friendly" content generation system called Forge, too.
Book one in Salvatore's Neverwinter trilogy, Gauntlgrym, will be released on 5th October this year, and "lays the groundwork for the Neverwinter storyline".
Atari's launched a website for the game, from which you can follow using Facebook and Twitter.
Edit: There's a Q&A at Gamespot with more detail on the game.
Edit: Thanks to Kalniel,VoxClamant and others for also writing in.
Sunday - August 08, 2010
Atari - New D&D Game Rumoured
Just saw this rumour at Blue's News, and as Atari have the rights to quite a few new domains with Neverwinter in the title...
It seems a new day may soon dawn for Atari's Neverwinter series of Dungeons & Dragons games, as superannuation expands upon a Gen Con 2010: D&D New Products Seminar article on Critical Hits with a cryptic mention saying: "Atari has an announcement coming about some kind of D&D video game but they couldn’t talk about it here." They offer a bunch of domains they've sleuthed out that likely relate to this, which are visitneverwinter.com, neverwinter-game.com, neverwintergame.com, play-neverwinter.com, playneverwinter.com, save-neverwinter.com, and saveneverwinter.com.
Thursday - December 17, 2009
Atari - Hasbro Files Suit
More interesting business type news this time for Atari rather than the usual Interplay/Bethesda punch up. Gamasutra reports statements from both sides on this legal debate. Basically Hasbro says:
Hasbro, parent of D&D owner Wizards of the Coast, said it is suing Atari for fraud and five different counts of breach of contract of the D&D licensing agreement. Hasbro said that Wizards of the Coast found that Atari "may have entered into an unauthorized sublicensing relationship with Namco Bandai Partners for the Dungeons & Dragons digital game rights."
Hasbro alleged that Namco Bandai is a competitor to Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast, a scenario that is restricted in Atari's deal with Hasbro. Hasbro is seeking to terminate its agreement with Atari, and is also seeking compensatory damages.
While Atari rebuttle:
But Atari, also known as Infogrames, said in a statement that Hasbro's allegations are unfounded. "Atari has had a long and rich history with the Dungeons and Dragons franchise, investing millions of dollars into numerous critically acclaimed and commercially successful games that have generated significant revenue for Hasbro," said an Atari statement issued Thursday.
"Hasbro has resorted to these meritless allegations, in an apparent attempt to unfairly take back rights granted to Atari. Atari has sought to resolve the matter without cooperation from Hasbro. We regret that our long-time partner has decided to pursue this action. Atari will respond appropriately through its legal counsel in court."
Tuesday - June 09, 2009
Atari - Neverwinter Nights MMO?
If you follow our MMO news, you may know Atari recently acquired MMO developer Cryptic (City of Heroes, Champions Online, Star Trek Online). According to Variety, Atari and Cryptic are working on a Neverwinter Nights MMO, for release in 2011. No evidence is supplied beyond an unnamed source, although it would seem Atari does control the appropriate rights and Cryptic is a proven developer:
Details about the project are unavailable, naturally, as it is an unannounced title. But this reportedly was the primary reason Atari was interested in acquiring Cryptic late last year. (The developer is currently working on “Champions Online” and “Star Trek Online”.)
Interestingly - albeit coincidentally - Turbine today announced D&D Online will soon include a free-to-play option. Cynics may consider this evidence D&DO is in trouble, which might open the door for a new D&D MMO.
Tuesday - December 09, 2008
Atari - to acquire Cryptic Studios
Atari expanding in the online market, check out the announcement at Develop.
Speaking about the transaction, David Gardner, CEO of Atari, said: “The acquisition of Cryptic Studios brings to Atari an outstanding creative organisation, with a proven track record of success in the fast growing MMO category. Cryptic’s success is founded on leading-edge technology and the vision of a seasoned executive management team.”
The acquisition of Cryptic Studios comes as a significant boon to Atari’s hopes of becoming the leading publisher of online games. “This is exactly the type of company we wanted to acquire in order to build Atari in the 21st century,” confirmed Gardner.
Tuesday - December 02, 2008
Atari - Planning to Revisit NWN, Baldur's Gate
Eurogamer reports live from an ongoing Atari press conference that the publisher plans to revisit NWN and Baldur's Gate in the future - nothing we haven't heard before if you recall the rumours a few years ago that BG3 was under development after a similar comment:
Atari plans to revisit the likes of Baldur's Gate, Dungeons & Dragons, Neverwinter Nights and Test Drive Unlimited, but not in the next 12 months.
"You will hear more from these but not today, because we're focused on 2009," Infogrames president Phil Harrison told hacks assembled at a press event this afternoon.
Sunday - October 12, 2008
Atari - Infogrames Finalizes U.S. Acquisition
Gamesindustry.biz posts the latest developments in the ongoing saga of the troubled United States game publisher Atari,Inc, the stateside branch of the Atari brand. Parent company Infogrames has finalized their $11 millon bid and now has full ownership of the company. Here's a rundown:
The French company, which earlier this year surprised many by appointing former EA executive David Gardner as CEO and former Sony Worldwide Studios boss Phil Harrison as president, can now definitively unite the Atari brand, the use of which Infogrames has had the right to in Europe and other parts of the world for some time.
Lyon-based Infogrames previously owned 51.4 per cent of Atari Inc's stock and the merger, initially agreed on April 30 this year, completed on a base price of USD 1.68 per outstanding share.
Atari Inc's former management team of Jim Wilson, Tim Flynn and Jeff Reese will remain with the company to focus on growing the historically-troubled Atari brand in North America under Gardner's new vision.
Infogrames also outlined the strategy that the combined company will follow moving forwards under its new "simplified global structure":
- Reduce general and administrative expenses, including costs related to being a US public company, and generate economies of scale
- Provide greater opportunities to develop the US distribution business and find new partnerships
- Strengthen the US online platform to develop online operations
Source: Blues News
Saturday - June 14, 2008
Atari - Posts Losses of 23 Million USD
Gamesindustry.biz has a short notice up on this quarter's financial report from the longtime financially challenged game publisher Atari. Earlier in the year, major partner Infogrames acquired the US branch in an effort to control losses and apparently has been at least partially successful. Here's the latest Q 4 and year end financials results:
Atari Inc has reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and the year ended March 31, 2008, showing an improvement over the same period during the prior year.
The company reported Q4 net revenue of USD 15.3 million - down from USD 26.9 million in the comparable year-earlier period - with a net loss of USD 3.7 million or USD 0.27 per share.
A year earlier, the company reported a net loss of USD 61.7 million, or USD 4.58 per share.
For the fiscal year, Atari reported net revenue of USD 80.1 million and a net loss of USD 23.6 million, or USD 1.75 per share - compared to last fiscal year's net revenue of USD 122.3 million and net loss of USD 69.7 million, or USD 5.17 per share.
Without restructuring charges, the net loss for the year ended March 31, 2008 would have only been USD 17.1 million or USD 1.27 per share.
Saturday - May 24, 2008
Atari - Gone: Single-Player, Narrative-Driven
New Infogrames President Phil Harrison has spoken to Gamasutra about their upcoming Alone in the Dark title and the future of Atari. Along the way, he embraces a social online model and says they will be moving away from AAA single-player, narrative-driven games:
Based on statements you've made, I get the impression this might be the type of title you're going to be angling away from - this large-budget, core title. You've spoken about a desire to do more social kind of gaming. Does Alone in the Dark represent a sort of swan song for that kind of thing at Infogrames/Atari?
PH: "Swan song" is probably not the right word, but I think Atari is part of an industry in some transition from pure packaged media to an online business model and social communication and community model. If we are part of that transition, perhaps we are going to take a slightly aggressive, leading-edge role in that transition.
I don't see that we're going to be making huge-budget, single-player games in the future. Now, that doesn't mean that we won't have ambition to do really incredible games that have high quality, high execution, and high innovation, but they won't be one-player, narrative-driven, start-middle-end games.
Thursday - May 01, 2008
Atari US - Acquired by Infogrames
There's been talk of the US division of publisher Atari's financial woes for what seems like years. In the latest development, parent company Infogrames has officially taken the company over. Here are some of the details from GamesIndustry.biz:
Infogrames has agreed to acquire Atari Inc for USD 11 million.
Atari Inc will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Infogrames, which is currently the company's largest stockholder.
Infogrames made an offer to purchase Atari Inc in early March. Atari Inc asked for an extension of the original March 11 deadline to decide whether or not to accept the offer.
Infogrames also recently confirmed that it had made an offer to acquire SCi which was rejected.
In addition to purchasing all outstanding shares of Atari Inc, Infogrames has committed to lending the company USD 20 million to fund operational cash requirements during the period between the date of the merger agreement and its closing.
"Bringing Atari US and Infogrames businesses together will enable us to create a simplified global structure for our business as we seek to re-build a well-managed, cohesive and financially disciplined company," said Infogrames CEO David Gardner in a statement.
"This is a key strategic event for Infogrames that will benefit all of our shareholders. I believe that this transaction will generate significant benefits for the Group."
The management of Atari Inc, led by recently-appointed president and CEO Jim Wilson will join Infogrames upon the closing of the transaction which is expected to take place in the third quarter of calendar year 2008.
Wednesday - March 12, 2008
Atari - Getting Steamy
Valve and Atari have announced that a number of Atari titles are now available on Steam. Of interest to us:
In the coming weeks, The Witcher®, the award winning RPG of 2007, Neverwinter Nights™ 2 and the expansion pack NeverWinter Nights™ 2: Mask of the Betrayer - the sequel to one of the best-selling and genre-defining role-playing games ever – will also be added to Atari’s Steam lineup.
Sunday - March 09, 2008
Atari - Infogrames Makes Offer
Gamasutra posts the latest news concerning the U.S. based Atari, Inc.'s financial struggles and attempts at reorganization:
Officials from Atari, Inc. have confirmed that the U.S. headquartered company has received a non-binding offer from French parent company and majority shareholder Infogrames, expressing the intention to acquire all of Atari’s outstanding stock.
After years of troubled results, which saw the company selling of many of its most prominent intellectual properties and internal studios, Atari, Inc. has seen a change in fortunes in recent weeks since the appointment of new CEO David Gardner, and the recent hiring of ex-Sony stalwart Phil Harrison.
Infogrames intends to acquire all outstanding common stock which it or its affiliates does not already own for a per share cash amount of $1.68, in an attempt to unite the company under David Gardner and Phil Harrison's leadership.
Atari, Inc.’s board of directors have said only that they and their advisors will undertake a “thorough evaluation of the proposal”.
Since the offer is non-binding, there is no guarantee that the move will go ahead, despite Infogrames’ close relation with the company.
Tuesday - November 20, 2007
Atari - Latest Financial Woes @ gamesindustry.biz
The dire financial situation of Atari US has been in the news quite a bit lately.
This article examines the latest statement from the struggling company in response to yesterday's announcement of "a second quarter net loss of USD 7.7 million, with net revenue down from USD 28.6 million to USD 13.3 million." As stated below, one source of possible additional funding includes the company's licensed and owned IP's :
With the company unlikely to receive funding from parent Infogrames, it is considering suspending current development projects, laying off more staff and selling its remaining intellectual property...
..."We continue to explore various alternatives to improve our financial position and secure other sources of financing which could include raising equity, forming both operational and financial strategic partnerships, entering into new arrangements to license intellectual property, and selling, licensing or sub-licensing selected owned intellectual property and licensed rights," said the publisher.
Thursday - November 15, 2007
Atari - Clarification PR
Atari sent out a clarification to say their recent announcement only affects Atari Inc - the US-based operation - and not Inforgrames. I think we all knew this, so here's a short snip:
For Infogrames Entertainment’s game development and production, the Group’s publishing division relies on its own Eden Games studio and on partnerships with a worldwide network of independent studios.
The recent decisions by Atari, Inc. are consistent with this corporate strategy and do not undermine the Infogrames Group’s ability to carry out its video game development program and to continue selling products under the Atari brand name.
Wednesday - November 14, 2007
Atari - Ceases Game Development
GameDaily has news that Atari (US) will exit the game development business and focus only on publishing and distribution, losing their CEO in the process and licensing Test Drive back to parent company Infogrames for funds. In the end, this probably has little impact on areas of our interest other than the general ongoing impact of Atari's finances. Here's a snip:
According to the release, Atari's operations going forward "will involve title acquisition, sales and marketing, and physical distribution of products from [Infogrames] IESA, its 51% shareholder, and other selected partners."
Atari has agreed in principle to terminate its Production Services Agreement with IESA in the near future. The company is planning to transfer certain employees and contract other staff on a project basis for a limited period of time. Unfortunately for Atari's employees, this restructuring initiative will also reduce the company's current workforce "in order to re-align the Company's cost structure with its on-going business base."
Along with the withdrawal from production, Atari CEO David Pierce has also announced his resignation. Curtis G. Solsvig III, Chief Restructuring Officer, has been appointed interim CEO and will assume Pierce's responsibilities for now. Atari said that an executive search for a new CEO has already been started.
Wednesday - November 07, 2007
The History of Atari @ Gamasutra
Our interest in Atari comes mostly from their modern relationship with D&D, so this article detailing the early history of the real/original Atari is off topic but fascinating. In a lengthy 20 pages, Gamasutra looks at 1971 - 1977:
Instead, it hit them one day to go in the opposite direction and simplify their design to cut costs as much as possible. The pair decided that they did not need thousands of dollars in hardware to make their dream come to life, instead choosing a much simpler solution. They crafted a working game using TTL (Transistor To Transistor Logic)vii to create a computer whose sole purpose was to play Computer Space. While this might have seemed like a step-back technology wise, it was a huge leap forward for creating a commercial game. With a black and white G.E. TV and $100 worth of electronic parts, they created the first viable, commercial video game.
“I worked it out and the economics were overwhelming."viii - Nolan Bushnell
This seemingly simple decision towards simplification fueled the entire video game industry for most of the 1970’s.
Friday - September 07, 2007
Atari - NA Digital Distribution Deal @ Gamebanshee
Gamebanshee lets us know that Atari and GamersGate have signed a digital distribution agreement for some of Atari, Inc.'s North American releases, including the Witcher:
Atari plans to release some of its PC portfolio through GamersGate, giving gamers access to old back-catalogue favorites such as Masters of Orion® 3, Act of War: High Treason and Desperados® 2 in addition to new and popular games like The Witcher™. .
"Digital distribution is a huge growth area globally, and for Atari Inc., in particular," said Nizzi Renaud, vice president of web development and content, Atari, Inc."We are particularly excited by the chance to make some of our PC titles available on GamersGate and to cement our relationship with their gaming audience."
Saturday - August 11, 2007
Atari - Gen Con Indy Lineup
RPG fans who can make it to Gen Con Indy might be pleasantly surprised by Atari:
Consumers will be able to get their hands-on brand new playable demos of:
The Witcher. Returning to the roots of the role-playing genre with a fresh and modern approach, The Witcher emphasizes story and character development in a vibrant world, while incorporating tactically-deep real-time combat like no game before it.
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of Betrayer. Set in harsh, spirit-rich Rashemen, near the powerful nation of Thay, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer presents players with an exciting new 20-30+ hour campaign filled with meaningful choices, rich characters and surprising outcomes as an expansion to the top-rated NWN2.
Dungeons & Dragons: Tactics (PSP) offers an original storyline, filled with intrigue, set in a newly created D&D world. Alignment is critical, as it affects the end of the story and allows players to change from good to evil, or the other way around, depending on which quests they choose.
Gen Con: Thursday, August 16th - Sunday, July 29th
Booth, # 329
Indiana Convention Center
100 South Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46225
Friday - July 20, 2007
Atari - D&D rights extended to 2017
Atari announced a couple of days ago that they have signed a deal with Hasbro to extend their D&D rights to 2017, while selling back the rights to nine other properties:
New Strategic Agreement With Hasbro Concerning The Dungeons & Dragons Franchise
DIGITAL GAMING RIGHTS TO BE SOLD BACK TO HASBRO FOR 19.5 MILLION US DOLLARS
Lyon, France, July 18, 2007 – As part of the relaunch strategy announced by the Group on June 21 and the Group’s plan to focus its investment on major franchises with significant potential, Infogrames Entertainment SA (Euronext 5257) today announced the signing of a new agreement with Hasbro concerning:
- the extension until 2017 of the exploitation of the intellectual property rights to the Dungeons & Dragons universe, under an exclusive license covering all interactive formats, including online and wireless.
The agreement covers all current and future products that are part of this universe, including NeverWinter Nights, Baldur’s Gate, etc.
Two new games have already been announced for fiscal 2007-2008: NeverWinter Nights 2 Expansion Pack for PC and Dungeons & Dragons Tactics for PSP.
- the purchase by Hasbro of digital gaming rights (online and wireless) to nine franchises (Monopoly, Scrabble, Risk, Game of Life, Clue, Yahtzee, Battleship, Boggle and Simon), for 19.5 million dollars (*). This sale will have no significant impact on revenue for the current fiscal year.
“This agreement represents a reaffirmation of our partnership with Hasbro. It is an important step in our business strategy that will allow us to keep and strengthen a franchise with significant potential, while giving the Group additional resources to invest in the relaunch of its publishing business. Dungeons & Dragons is one of the Group’s historic intellectual properties on which we plan to expand our business, relying on one of the largest and most active gamer communities in the world of video games,” commented Patrick Leleu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
(*) of which, 4 million dollars shall be paid to Atari Inc
Wednesday - April 25, 2007
Atari - Signs 1C Titles
Atari has announced a deal to bring Russian publisher 1C's lineup to North America:
NEW YORK, April 24: Atari, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATAR), one of the world's most recognized brands and a third-party video game publisher, today announced the company has entered into a long-term exclusive distribution agreement with 1C Company, the leading publisher and distributor of computer games in Russia, Eastern and Central Europe.
Under this new agreement, Atari has the exclusive first rights to distribute and co-publish upcoming 1C titles throughout North America, including online distribution. The deal applies to all video game platforms including personal computers, home gaming consoles, handheld game systems, online formats, and mobile devices. The first games to be brought to the US market will be released later this year.
"Developers in Russia and Eastern Europe market are burgeoning with a slew of innovative and engaging games. 1C has demonstrated the special ability to source, develop and nurture these products," said Robert Stevenson, VP Business Development and Third Party at Atari. "Leveraging our strength in software distribution and our relationship with 1C, we believe that we will offer our retail partners a wider-array of products that appeal to the broad tastes of gamers in North America."
Courtesy of ActionTrip comes this list of actual games initially included, with Dawn of Magic and King's Bounty of interest to us:
Here's a full list of additional announcements for the PC, each linking to a screenshot gallery (we've also disclosed the genres and preliminary release dates):
- Cryostasis, FPS (Q4 2007) - Action Forms
- Dawn of Magic, RPG (2007) - SkyFallen Entertainment
- Death to Spies, action game (2007) - Haggard Games
- Fantasy Wars, turn-based strategy (2007) - Ino-Co
- King's Bounty: The Legend, strategy/RPG (2007) - Katauri Interactive
- Rig'n'Roll, trucker sim (2007) - SoftLab
- The Tomorrow War, space sim/RPG (2007) - CrioLand
- Theatre of War, RTS (April 19, 2007) - 1C Company
- XIII Century: Death or Glory, RTS (2007) - Unicorn Games
- You Are Empty, FPS (2007) - Digital Spray
Friday - February 09, 2007
Atari - Q3 Results
It's a little quiet today so we may as well look at Atari's latest results with their Q3 financials just released. This last quarter (ending December '06) still saw a net loss of $700k but that represents a huge improvement from the loss of $4.8M in the same period last year. There's no specific figures but NWN2 is quoted as meeting their "targets":
"Atari continues to focus on improving product quality and is committed to growing shareholder value. Specifically, Never Winter Nights 2, Dragon Ball Z(R): Budokai Tenkaichi 2 and Test Drive Unlimited achieved our targets of quality and market place acceptance on a global basis," stated David Pierce, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atari.
It's interesting to note their platform mix shows their PC sales rose around 10% over the last year to 31.5% - not that far behind the PS2 at 39.8%.
Thursday - June 15, 2006
Atari's sales sink @ GameSpot
Neither the swashbuckling street sense of a Mark Ecko nor the charismatic powers of Neo could keep Atari Inc. from becoming unhinged this past year.
And unhinged it came. Atari today reported that over the past year ending March 31, 2006, it lost $67.1 million. Total revenues for the year were $218.7 million. Both figures are dramatically worse than what the company reported the previous year--then, Atari posted $407.8 in revenues and walked away with a profit on the year of $5.7 million.