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back to article Atari promises it won't suck this time

Atari is quite simply a brand with too much history to let die, despite it rarely being more than a financial sinkhole since the video game crash of 1983. Invariably, there's a company eager to dig up Atari's corpse and resurrect the namesake in order to use its notoriety as an arcade, game console, and home computer pioneer …

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Anonymous Coward

Ahem...

"...it will release 14 games in 2009 under the Atari brand, most of which tap into Hollywood movie licenses..."

This is like buying the Bugatti brand and resurrecting it by selling station wagons.

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Anonymous Coward

To big to die?

C=

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Flame

The Atari brand

They want to revive what people remember about the Atari brand?

Why not cut out the middle man and just send the games directly to a landfill in New Mexico?

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World's smallest violin...

"Major plays in the MMO space also follow Atari's recent public venting about the used game market - which the company said is "extremely painful" for the video game publishing industry."

If your market no longer provides the profitability that you want, change your profession. It's called capitalism. Get over yourselves. Fuckers.

But seriously, if you want to change the basic rights of people to resell property that they own because your company keeps going bankrupt, maybe you're just shit at what you are doing and should STFU and get a new job.

(Maybe I should apply for a job writing Fail and You........)

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Black Helicopters

Deja-vu

Hasn't this happened before some time last century?

Black helicopters. Because they know I know they're experimenting with time travel.

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Necrophilia

extends to the world of Videogame branding.

urgh. this is like digging up marilyn monroe and arranging her corpse on the hood of a car. its just not sexy anymore. it makes me sad. I want to associate atari with Best-quality retrogaming... not clunky, abortive movie-tie-in games. Chronicles of riddick? really? a game on a movie franchise that died an apocryphal death 4 years ago and is, ironically, also due to be exhumed and puppeted around in 2009. Good idea, I mean, escape from butcher bay was a massive success in sales and quality, right?... oh, wait. maybe it was epic fail. sorry.

I think the MMO thing isnt a great idea either. many companies keep shooting the moon on this one looking for success and fail. Guildwars eventually got sucked under by free-to-play, and Big, massively-established brands arent exactly banking it : LOTRO online was a terrible implementation for massive investment, D&D online is frankly a joke, even amongst RPG nerds. EVE survives on a small, incredibly loyal fanbase, Blizzard owns the rest, and people left over tend to play Browser-based stuff, or optional payment, casual worlds like runescape and PuzzlePirates. To use Penny-arcades words : you would sign up, but who with? everyones raiding tonight.

and opening with a star-trek mmo? the people most likely to jump ship because omgitsstartrek!e also going to be impossible nerds to please, probably worse than the Fallout fanbase, if thats at all possible.

I cant help but feel that anyone who thinks using Ataris name is going to give them the "edge" with their product doesnt have a product thats going to compet in the marketplace. Straight @david, first comment out of the bag : bugatti owners wont buy it because they know its a station wagon, and please, if you're gonna buy a station wagon, you're gonna buy a saturn or a volvo, you know?

thumbs down, because theres no Epic Fail icon.

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Happy

logo

I have thought for a while, with that logo they should sell dildos. super 10 inch USB powered.

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Anonymous Coward

A decent burial?

Maybe when the brand fails this time, they'll give it a decent burial.

Best thing Atari released in the last decade was Rollercoaster Tycoon 2, and even that was a buggy p.o.s . . .

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Unhappy

Poor Cryptic...

After so much hype around their "we will publish the games ourselves.... no wait, we'll use Take 2..... ah...." talk, it now looks like Champions Online (which is looking (if some closed beta testers are to be believed) to be a second rate copy of their original MMO City Of Heroes and Star Trek Online (surely as big a licence as can be found in the MMO world?) will now be screwed over by the money men demanded the release before its ready.

Granted, the only way to make a profit on a PC game these days is to make it an MMO (with a subscription model), but all too often these are released well in advance of being ready, with the users being paying beta testers.

I miss the days of Carmack and Romero saying "When it's done!"

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Re:Ahem...

I was thinking along those very lines. Games released off the back of films are "almost" without exception, shit. I'm actually struggling to think of one that was good, although I'm sure that somebody will be happy to point a couple out.

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Stop

Why?

Why bother?

Atari, Commode, Amiga, etc., they're gone. Dead. Let them go. Move on people!

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Stop

great publicity eh

Is this the same Atari brand that has been suing customers through Davenport Lyons?

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ignore them

They sue kids, feck em.

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Monthly charges for MMOs

Personal aside: I like adventure games but point blank refuse to pay monthly playing fees for any online MMOs.

OK, that aside I can't think of a worse business model for 2009: Sell an expensive game and expect people to shell out (hopefully after an initial free period) every month to play. I can grok that people may continue to buy video games as an escape from the misery that is the current recession, but I can't believe that those same people will happily shell out what is in effect a monthly rental.

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The had better not..

screw up Star Trek Online. Seriously. There are quite enough swords and goblins and not enough space stuff. EVE Online and Jumpgate (old or new) are all that I can think of.

I'm sick of playing "a hero" I just want to be a part of somethign larger with the occasional and random opportunity to be a hero.

And blow spaceships up.

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Hmm

Bring back Commodre and the Amiga brand while there at it lol

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Black Helicopters

Kill'em off ...

... and even killing the Atari brand, which by now has become synonymous with crap releases, broken promises, lack of patches, overdue projects (they were supposed to release an adventure pack for Neverwinter Nights 2 OVER A YEAR AGO (It was developed and built by an independent studio which has delivered it to Atari on time and on budget ...) - but have held it up because they can't find/create a DRM system painful and invasive enough to satisfy management that it will create enough sales - by now everyone has moved on .... and from rumors I heard, this apparently is rule rather than exception ... go figure)

And if they hope pay-to-play MMO's will save them, I think they're in for a rude awakening; with the economy tightening and the geriatric 800-pound, denture and walking stick wielding WoW still dominating that market (and unlikely to go away as people begin creating more and more private servers) I don't think, that apart from a few small niche markets which probably won't be enough to satisfy the bean counters, that there's much money to be had.

Thank you Atari, it wasn't good to know you - now put the other foot in the grave too ...

Posting anon because I knows too much :)

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Stop

The Bugatti analogy

I remember when Atari and Bugatti were alive, but the '80s bugatti was crap too.

VAG (i think) bought the brand quietly and produced the Veyron...brilliant, no one knew much until it was a working prototype. So many buy an old brand, hype what they're gonna do to tempt money, then fail misserably after the directors pocket all the investment cash.

They were trying to do it with Commodore, Norton, Triumph (cars) etc.....get a working product BEFORE you shout about the brand you bought to make money out of.

I can imagine that the group who bought MG WONT be making Allegro's, Marina's etc next time round

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Hmm...

I'll take them seriously when they bring back their operating system. TOS wasn't it?

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Anonymous Coward

The Atari name is already tarnished...

.. by Infogrames.

I wouldn't touch their products with a bargepole!

Atari should be allowed to die with dignity, so we can remember the good old days when it was a decent brand, not this floundering mess we have now.

Hope they die soon. Infogrames deserves nothing less.

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Glad to see

Cryptic produce superb MMO's, but they recently split from NCSoft, so I'm glad they've no found a new backer.

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Old school

Forget Star Trek, we want Dungeon Master updated properly.

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@Andy Worth

Ummm, Robocop 3 (the Digital Image Design one) maybe? That's all I can think of.

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Stop

Pathetic, please die.

Passion for what you're making == Good Games (good anything really)

Where is the passion in a gaming globocorp buying bullshit rights and labels from other globocorps?

Then slapping it on shovelware?

HOW DID PEOPLE THIS SUPID BECOME THIS RICH?

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Paris Hilton

Yes because WoW is obviously a major commercial disaster...

Gulfie writes: "OK, that aside I can't think of a worse business model for 2009: Sell an expensive game and expect people to shell out (hopefully after an initial free period) every month to play."

Absolutely. I mean look at Blizzard, World of Warcraft is such a money pit for them it's probably going to drag the entire company under.

Oh... wait... no it isn't, it's a wildly profitable business.

Because even Paris Hilton could see that.

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Phil Harrison...

...name rings a bell from my Uru playing days...

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jon
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forget star trek and dungeon master

we want test drive unlimited updated properly!

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HowTo fix this

* Take one well known brand with some kudos behind it

* Get together the guys from a respected team with known hits (Black Isle, I'm looking at you!)

* Give them money, coffee, and time (and gadgets, we like gadgets)

* Do not tie their hands with product tie-ins, let them write games they want to write.

* Get rid of the salesmen, PHBs and all the corporate marketing drek

Atari have fecked up the last two points. I believe a common Internet phrase would be along the lines of "Epic Failure", if I have been translating "Please provide me with a cheese burger" idiot script back into English correctly.

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Coat

StarTrekOnline should be Elite

IMO Atari produced one of the all time best games in Elite (simple, accessible, focus on gameplay not hardware sapping graphics that I ignore after the first few sessions)

If they used that as a model, any space MMO would work for me. Single ships for solo play, larger craft that players could work together as a crew. Trading, fighting, spinning space stations that are impossible to dock in without hours of practice. What more could anyone ask for.

Mine's the one with the Fer de Lance in the pocket.

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The second hand market

This is another company moaning about the second hand market. There was a rant published by some guy at Epic (as in the UT Epic) about how the second hand market was bad and how the PC market was worse etc etc. You ended up just wanting to punch the f****r! Basically stating that all PC gamers, ALL of them, were the enemy and not good enough to spit on blah blah blah. Miserable bugger! I happen to have bought many Epic games including Gears of War and UT3 recently.

So yes, the second hand games market is not necessarily good for publishers but not one of them has tried to make it interesting for customers. So how about this: instead of moaning about it and trying to kill it off; why not get involved and make it valuable to customers!! Allow trade-ins of your old games for new e.g. already own GTA 3, GTA:VC or GTA:SA then send it in and get a £5-10 discount on GTA4 on <insert platform here> or something similar. That way, the publisher could re-sell the original game while the customer gets something in return for supporting them. And it could work on Steam too, something similar to: "finished playing <game>; why not trade in for <X> and save an additional $YY".

I think that everyone could win there; customer gets a discount and a new game and the publisher gets a new sale. Not entirely sure how it could work out, but it's possible!

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@Andy Worth

Good game of a shite movie- Max Payne... which was a game 7 years before it was turned into a movie. So it probably doesn't count, but it's as close as you'll get!

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Linux

@Andy Worth

One of the Disney platformers on the MegaDrive, Aladdin I think (or The Lion King) was good

Tux, I'll hide behind him from the shame of my comment

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In memory

I remember when an Atari console was almost as desirable as a record player. Back when even the tuff guys thought football was more important than sex.

The last thing I bought from Atari was a Star Trek game, programmed in 8000 characters burned onto a rom cartidge. It was too complex to explain to most of my friends, who had to have the narrative of 'Defender' explained to them real-time, but it engrossed me for months.

Who writes engrossing games in 8k now ? Of course the earlier programmers were smarter. They knew less and they did more.

The continued exploitation of a deceased brand by companies seeking to cash in on nostalgia is pitiiful and unlilkely to be endorsed by many people who appreciated Atari at the time.

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Coat

Umm...

"I miss the days of Carmack and Romero saying "When it's done!""

Arnt they still saying that?

On a side note Im going to miss Cryptic. Its only a matter of time till the sinking ship that is ST:O takes them down. Not to mention their new affiliation with Atari and that POS company Infocrap.

/mines the one with the Arachnos emblem on the back

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Paris Hilton

bail them out too...

If they go "Tango Uniform", just petition the US congress for some cash... they'll bail you out. We're bailing everyone else out.

Paris, because her bail out didn't cost me a dime...

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Anonymous Coward

Memories

"I remember when an Atari console was almost as desirable as a record player"

I have my Atari VCS and Atari 800 in working condition. Alas, the "memory" of how good the games were is better than the reality (we really thought the graphics were good). That said, I can't find many games as interesting as the memory of Star Raiders used to be - imagine an modern online version with graphics levels of the PS3 (loading up the old version I now can't understand why it seemed so great). I guess most El Reg readers will have had Spectrums or BBCs or Commodore 64s (perhaps, the Atari ST).

Atari will need tens of millions in investment if it's to compete with EA, Ubisoft and the like - I can't see that happening. The brand will die completely. Brands trade on memories - look at Grundig etc.

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The kids don't know this brand

Too young and even the 30 - 40 years old casual gamers were too young or uninterested. So, where's the public for this revival ?

It's like the Mpman brand, people consider it as a sub-brand for supermarket.

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Stop

Re :StarTrekOnline should be Elite

IMO Atari produced one of the all time best games in Elite (simple, accessible, focus on gameplay not hardware sapping graphics that I ignore after the first few sessions)....

.

Hmm no they didn't... They licenced and COPIED a game from the Acorn BBC version....so you cant use that as a example of Atari producing innovative gameplay....

It doesnt matter what the recent history of Atari is it still has a good historic name. In an age where brand names alone are worth millions, companies will continue to buy old names and trademarks to re-hash them for current content as it is basically a cheap method (Compared with throwing millions on advertising) of lifting product placement in the market

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@Martin Lyne blow up spaceships

It sounds like what you need is real life. What about getting a job at NASA, working on something mundane like O-rings or tile grouting?

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Rest in peace

"Major plays in the MMO space also follow Atari's recent public venting about the used game market - which the company said is "extremely painful" for the video game publishing industry."

That means company execs are totally out of touch with the market and players and know they can't play with competition, including their own products from the past. Retrogaming is here to fuel competition by still having old products to compete with, and ensure new games will bring something.

And some companies do business with it: look at Nintendo with the WII ! Are their old products so painfull to their market ? No way, they're reselling them in Wii shop !

"Atari is also now betting big money on the success of massive multiplayer online (MMO) games."

Yeah, "betting" is the right word, here, and after the next fall, they'll buy lotery tickets, as the sole way of geting back into business. The truth is you need talented people and not a legion of DRM-obsessed fuckfits that have killed more brands (NeverWinter nights, don't even start me on this one) than they have created, to have the slightest chance to earn money from a MMO. It takes more than the n00b new prez's speech to turn this long undead company into a Blizzard competitor, I'm afraid.

Atari, do the gaming world a favor, unplug the life support, and rest in peace.

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