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In brief: Several decades ago, Atari was the biggest name in the video game business. That's not the case these days, but the company now says it wants to focus less on mobile and free-to-play titles and move into making premium games for PCs and consoles.
Atari in April announced that it would be splitting into two divisions: Atari Gaming and Atari Blockchain. The former concentrating on retro gaming through mobile games, the crowdfunded VCS console, and licensing.
However, the company has decided to shift focus from mobile to "a strong pipeline of premium games" for PC and console. GI.biz reports that it will continue to operate successful FTP titles with a large userbase, but the likes of Roller Coaster Tycoon Stories, Crystal Castles, Castles & Catapults, Ninja Golf, and Atari Combat: Tank Fury will either be shut down or sold off.
The first of these new PC/console games are in development and will release during the current financial year that ends April 2022. Atari said it "intends to leverage its catalog of 200 proprietary games," and some are said to bolster the lineup of the VCS.
"Our intent with any gaming experience is to provide accessible and joyful moments of meaningful play," Atari CEO Wade J. Rosen said in a statement. "That's the core of Atari and what binds our history with our future. To that end, we feel that premium gaming is better representative of this type of gaming experience and the Atari DNA. Despite this new focus on premium gaming, we remain committed to growing and expanding our successful free-to-play games that we have in the market."
Additionally, the company said it will be exiting its Atari Casino business in Africa and writing down its efforts to get into TV show production.
The last decade hasn't been Atari's best. The Pong and Asteroids creator filed for bankruptcy protection in 2013, while the $299 VCS ($399 with controllers) had a protracted, often controversial crowdfunding campaign before launching recently to some scathing reviews. The company released new Alone in the Dark and Haunted House games in 2015, but they were very forgettable, and there was the experiment with hotels and crypto.
Will the move to premium gaming help turn around the company's fortunes? With the new strategy expected to result in a $5.9 million impairment loss, Atari will hope the shift in focus proves fruitful.