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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.

The second question, once you've looked at how you do it, is what do you want to do? So we had examples, such as watches, such as consoles with the Atari 2600 and the Atari Flashback. There are many opportunities down the road. We'll take our time. Think about, in general, gamified products — meaning a product combining the brand, some gamification, and a product that is really useful to our audience. We have no plans for this year — this is for the very long run. But I think we can be relevant with some very well-selected hardware products.

Again, this relies on capitalizing on Atari's name, right? Even though Atari now is a very different company than, say, thirty years ago?

FC: It's different because of course the world is different. Every piece of this is different than it was thirty or forty years ago. But yeah, we take advantage of the brand. There's a difference between trying to make a new company and a new game without any name, or saying "Hey, we're relaunching Rollercoaster Tycoon. Hey, the next installment of Asteroids will be here in six to eight months."

We're very motivated and excited to work on that, and hopefully the combination will provide an audience. If you look at Rollercoaster Tycoon — people have tried to make some rollercoaster games, but I don't think they've been very successful so far. Because we have that in our DNA, we love the franchise, I hope that everyone will say "Wow, they were able to find the right team, put the right features, at the right time and deliver that to the market."

It's difficult to make a game, I can tell you. People think you just wake up and put a bunch of programmers in a room. It's a little bit more complex than that.

It's a great ride. We're all passionate about the brand. All the guys have more than ten years with the brand. But that doesn't mean we don't make mistakes. We all make mistakes. We all try to learn from that. But I think we'll make sure we stay relevant on PC. That's the best way to interact with the audience, listen to the audience, and deliver modifications, upgrades, and corrections very rapidly.

What kept everyone at Atari for ten years even through the downswing?

TS: Pure love of the brand, in my case. And I think certainly for others. We believe in this. We believe in this font of creativity that it's been, and it has been consistently. Even through some of those lows, there were some very good things happening. It was just a changing time in the industry.

 

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