Atari Looks To Reinvent Itself As A Mobile Games Company; Hires Former iWON/Marvel Exec As EVP
Founded in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, Atari played a central role in the early history of video games, going on to create what are still some of the most recognizable arcade games on the planet, like Pac-Man and Pong, to name a few. Not to mention the fact that its joystick-controlled Atari 2600 console was pretty much synonymous with ?video games? in the 1980s.
Although Atari remains a recognizable brand around the globe, the company struggled through the video games crash of 1983, financial issues, and various assets have fallen under a number of different ownership and leadership regimes, including Warner Communications and Hasbro ? among many others.
Today, Atari is a 65-person company, with headquarters in New York and France. The company looks a lot different than it did two decades ago, but the current leadership team is focused on leveraging Atari?s assets, its strong brand recognition and global distribution, to reinvent it as a mobile and social games company.
But doing so is no easy task. EA, one of the largest and most recognizable video games companies, also has the benefit of strong brand recognition and a number of successful and popular titles, like Battlefield, Need for Speed, Mass Effect, FIFA and Madden, to name a few. EA has recognized that it can?t hope to compete with the likes of Zynga simply by remaining a console company and pumping out sequels to popular titles. Over the last few years, EA has gotten busy porting its flagship games into social and mobile channels. Of course, even that?s not enough. (More here.)
As Atari CEO Jim Wilson said, the key to success for any company is creating quality, original products. ?There?s no other way to maintain long-term viability?, he said. ?Atari can?t rest on its laurels, we have to stay relevant?.
In refocusing on mobile and social as the two-headed future of gaming, Atari released ?Greatest Hits? for iOS back in April, which is an 18-title sample course of Atari?s classic games. Earlier this month, Atar