You know those friends that you used to hang out with all the time when you were kids, now just see every once in a while during the holidays? For some gamers on the console front that was Atari. Even though I still consider Fairchild’s Channel F as the “OG” of console gaming, in the late 70’s and early 80’s Atari was where it was at. And it’s a little rough to say that this old friend of ours, whose 2600 system gave us games like Asteroids and Space Invaders on, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy this past Monday in New York.
Atari SA is filing to separate from their French masters Infogrames after what can only be described as a troubled history over the last couple of decades. Through a lot of crazy mergers and acquisitions over that time, they were property of Time Warner, then Tramel, then to what could be considered their comeback under Hasbro’s flag before being picked up by Infogrames. Infogrames tried to turn the brand into mobile entertainment, casual games and digital downloads, which just didn’t seem to work out to well. Since their 2600 console, they’ve been almost a jinx for anyone who had them at the time. At this point they’re so far removed from their original bread and butter of console and old-school arcade games that they just can’t keep up with the big studio games dominating the market.
Now this doesn’t mean the Atari brand is going away. This is a strategic move to sell off some of their properties because they’re sorely strapped for cash, and owe a lot of creditors a lot of money. In a statement from Atari, “The Chapter 11 process constitutes the most strategic option for Atari’s U.S. operations, as they look to preserve their inherent value and unlock revenue potential unrealized while under the control of Atari SA (ATA). During this period, the company expects to conduct its normal business operations.”
OK. We’ll see how this works out.
Remember when a couple of guys named Steve worked at Atari before starting a little company called Apple? We sure are a far ways away from then. Oh and on another note, I’ve been hearing tell of an Asteroids movie, and now it’s even listed on IMDB for 2014. Maybe this was all part of the deal?
I’ll keep an eye on that rumor mill for you, kids.