This article comes from the M! 357 (June 2023).
PARIS / NEW YORK • The company that founded the game industry half a century ago has had three turbulent decades behind it. Atari changes hands constantly, a few hundred games, brands and IPs sometimes belong to Time Warner, sometimes to Hasbro, sometimes to Midway. Atari is rebooted countless times, sometimes French, sometimes American – and is currently both. Last year, Wad Rosen took over management and adjusted Atari’s strategy (see M! 356). The primary goal is to revive and remarket classic 8-, 16- and 32-bit games – classics, not only from Atari, but also from other oldie manufacturers. In addition, Rosen bought the “All Games in the World” database Mobygames, and in March the brands of the 1980s slot machine manufacturer Stern (Berzerk) and a few weeks ago the US studio Nightdive, which specializes in remasters and enhanced modernizations. Just a few days later, Rosen & Co. announced their next investment and acquired remnants of the US companies Accolade, MicroProse and GT Interactive for an undisclosed sum.
A typical Atari business: The companies mentioned and their IPs belonged to the Atari Holding after the merger of GT Interactive and Infogrames (1999), and then briefly to the small US company Tommo after bankruptcy. Now the US classic collection is sailing again under the legendary Fuji logo. Rosen speaks of “over 100 PC and console titles from the 1980s and 1990s”. “A rich catalog of groundbreaking and award-winning games.” That the press release B and C league stars like Bubsy, Hardball andDemolition Racer as the outstanding names of the transaction (and in relation to the former military games market leader MicroProse, the flight simulations 1942: Pacific Air War and F-117A) suggests that not everything that was once MicroProse/GTI/Infogrames is now going to Rosen’s Atari company. Prominent brands such as Accolades Test Drive belong to other companies for a long time; also Sid Meier cult like Pirates, Railroad Tycoon or Civilization the message does not mention.
Taken together, all of the companies mentioned have been liquidated, sold, broken up and merged countless times, so that even hardened copyright professionals can no longer see through it and Wikipedia is stuttering. Atari’s new management has set itself the task of sifting through the huge IP pool of the former gaming superpowers Atari, MicroProse, Infogrames and GTI, merging it and marketing it both physically and digitally.