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Deep-dive Q&A: How Atari's new bosses plan to bring the company back from the brink

Hayden Dingman | Sept. 12, 2014
Atari is still a name that everyone--even those outside of the games industry--seems to know.

In games we try to be really relevant. We create new IPs. We also try to reinvent existing IPs... [like] Alone in the Dark. You will hear a lot more about Asteroids in the next few weeks. It's a PC game. It's going to be a survival game on the asteroids. There's also a lot of survival games for PC. In the games space we try to be very relevant.

We also try to go outside of games. Clearly gambling, Atari Casino, is outside of games and a way for us to reach out to a new audience. I can tell you the audience playing casino games is not the same as the audience playing Alone in the Dark. There's some overlap always, but it's not the same. We try to go outside of games, but it's not a hit-and-run project. We're going to be here for some time.

For the moment what we try to do is come back, be relevant, make sure we have the best games.

TS: And I would also add to that too, these developers we're working with are using Unreal 4, Unity 5 shortly. Using these technologies and these tools to create next-gen sort of quality in these games. Just the distribution schema, there's not the box, manufacturing, all that stuff. We're going direct to the consumer and coming right into their boxes on their desks. That's very important. We're blessed with all these fans, and they're really connected fans. We exploit that.

FC: Back to the business model and why I personally love PC games: You launch a game — take any game on Steam — you take the game on the day of release, you take the game one year later, two years later, it's not the same game.

I've been involved with games released two years ago, I can tell you the game today is still the same but it's not the same. The great thing about PC games is you can really engage with the community, you can listen to the community, you can fix your game overnight because we all make mistakes. There are always bugs in games, not because the developers are bad but because you simply can't replicate a situation in the studio where you have thousands of computers. We're creating highly sophisticated games, so we'll always have bugs.

But to stay relevant in the business, when you have a great franchise, keep working on it. World of WarCraft is what, ten years old? When they released the game, who would've known ten years later it'd still be receiving updates and patches with new features? That's the amazing thing about PC games. You start, and if you make a mistake you correct it. Sometimes you have to stop it because clearly there's no market and no one loves your game. Okay, too bad, let's move on to the next one.

 

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