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In a nutshell: Atari in a surprise move has entered into an agreement to acquire Washington-based developer Nightdive Studios. The gaming pioneer is paying $10 million for Nightdive, half in cash and half in newly issued Atari shares. There is also an option for an additional $10 million payable in cash over the next three years based on Nightdive reaching future performance milestones.
Nightdive was founded by Stephen Kick and his wife Alix in 2012. The firm specializes in obtaining the rights to older video games, sprucing them up and re-releasing them on modern platforms. To date, the studio has published more than 100 games including well-known titles like Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition, Forsaken Remastered, Doom 64, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and System Shock: Enhanced Edition.
Its most recent project, a remake of the 1994 classic System Shock, is nearly complete. The game is available to pre-order for $39.99 ahead of its planned launch on May 30, 2023. Interested parties can take the demo for a spin to see if it lives up to expectations.
Atari and Nightdive have a long history of working together. In fact, Atari CEO Wade Rosen already owns 13 percent of Nightdive.
With the acquisition, Atari will gain access to Nightdive's library of owned IP as well as its proprietary KEX engine, which is used to help make classic games playable on modern hardware. Atari will also be able to use Nightdive's publishing arm to support its own retro growth strategy.
Last December, Atari announced it was suspending direct hardware manufacturing relationships which led some to speculate that its Atari VCS system might be on the way out. Further fueling the fire was a price cut for the base system, from $199.99 down to $159.99.
Checking back on the system, Atari has reinstated the original $199.99 price tag so perhaps the console could be sticking around for a bit longer.
Atari's board members have already unanimously approved the acquisition, and expect it to be wrapped up sometime in April 2023.