back to article Will Christmas sound the death knell for Atari?

There is increasing concern that the Atari brand is finally on the verge of disappearing, as it concluded a quarter where its losses are bigger than its revenues, which have crashed to just $10.4m. Three years ago, Atari amassed sales of $343m, which fell to $206m last year and $122m for the year just gone. Its belated …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    sad, but inevitable..

    another great name bites the dust, but I'm amazed that Atari lasted this long and were profitable until fairly recently, even if they weren't the power in the land that they once were. It's sad to see them go, though, I've had many many hours of inane childish fun over the years thanks to them.

    I'm choosing Paris Hilton as my icon because she provides me with inane mindless fun too.

  2. Joe K
    Flame

    Good riddance

    They were doomed from the start, being a nearly-deceased company that was reborn still using the bloated US corporate management structure that brought it down the first time round.

    CEO's? Boards? NASDAQ?

    Delusions of grandeur, they were just a name, but had more managers on 6-figure salaries than programmers, and ate up all the budget.

    Morons.

    And the only people who cared about the name are misty-eyed 30-somethings. Everyone else just remembers them as the twats who came up with Driver3 and paid off certain magazines to give it high ratings, dooming the printed games magazine while they were at it too.

  3. Allan Rutland
    Unhappy

    Very sad

    It is a huge shame. At this rate there will only be the big Japanese companies, MS and the still insane size of swalling up all before it EA. Shame thought to see such a great label slip into history.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    No tears from me!

    I have always seen them as a big corporate entity. Never bought one of their consoles. The games I have bought, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, Crashday & GT Legends, were all bugged and showed signs of release before they were ready. Support was poor and their website is useless (IMHO).

    I consider even faceless entities like Microsoft to be more customer friendly.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Kitaro

    Well, at least they outlasted dread rivals Commodore. I think. This is complicated by the fact that there were two Ataris (the arcade manufacturer, which was absorbed and killed off a while back, and the computer company), and of course the Atari of today is not really Atari at all, and Commodore itself my still exist on a balance sheet somewhere. Perhaps they could concentrate on t-shirts. The name and logo are still very attractive. Jack and Sam Tramiel are still alive.

    Was it the first example of a US company adopting a Japanese-sounding name in order to make people think that its products were reliable, well-made, and good? E.g. like Matsui and Saisho in the UK. I know it's from the game of Go, but the association can't have been too onerous.

    I choose Paris Hilton as my avatar, because she is used to breathing life back into flaccid matter.

  6. alphaxion

    you're forgetting a continent

    nice to see people ignoring the european game development houses.. once again, europe is the forgotten man of gaming!

    *shakes fist*

  7. Tawakalna
    Go

    @Joe K..

    wrong! I'm a misty-eyed 40-something! :)

  8. John Stag
    Alien

    What happened to Atari?

    The answer is buried in a Mexican desert:

    http://www.snopes.com/business/market/atari.asp

  9. Benjamin Lukoff
    Paris Hilton

    Atari still exists?

    Who knew?

  10. Silvergunner
    Alert

    Dead Company Walking

    Looks like its time for the second big fall of Atari, and they are going exactly the same way with Senior Management running the company into the ground by using company name rather than Quality Software as their stance. Same method the Tramiels used to send Atari into the ground the first time around with that Jaguar thing Atari made, which had almost nothing but terrible games available for.

    Atari in their second incarnation really was just a showname for some of Infogrames' developer teams. They never were about making games in the first place - think of it like sticking "Sainsburys" on a Tennis Game, or "Wanadoo Broadband" on a Platform Game (Oh wait, they did that with Castleween).

    Infogrames will probably withdraw all the dev teams etc. from Atari, and let the Managers drive the company into the ground. Judging by Atari's devolution over the years (even after the Jaguar their new incarnation got worse), their next product will probably be a Game disc with no game at all on it. Or... they might BRANCH OUT INTO OTHER PRODUCTS!!!

    What products? Either PCs, MP3 Players or a 'distributed content service' aka Phantom. I can't see Atari making Phones or Vacuum Cleaners however. Or toilet seats, although the Jaguar case would work in that field...

  11. Danny Thompson
    Dead Vulture

    Atari should be remembered....

    ... for what they did in their time. Nothing lasts forever, and Atari is well past its sell-by date. But it did bring to the masses affordable computing when the likes of the BBC Acorn were priced out of the average Joe's pocket (state-funded over-priced computer project, sound familiar?). Their games consoles were, in their time, groundbreaking if not utterly quaint by today's standards.

    Those that were not even in existence then should doff their caps in deference to one of the founding companies of pretty much all that we take for granted today in computing and gaming. In 20 years time where will your current icons of technology be?

    The dead vulture is quite appropriate methinks.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Atari or Atari Inc ?

    This article seems to mix Atari, Atari Inc and Infogrames. These are three different firms. Then it mixes the future of these firms with the future of the brand Atari, which has already survived many ailing firms. I don't have a clear idea about the future of these three firms and this brand. But I have one about the quality of this article.

  13. James Summerson
    Go

    Atari's legacy

    I wonder how many sub-professional music studios still have Atari machines in them due to the MIDI ports and Cubase? I understand that Fatboy Slim still uses an ST in his studio, though your mileage may vary on the kudos of that.

  14. MrT

    A founder that floundered...

    The 400/800 series is a classic, but then they got mired in trying to make their console OS morph into a computer - complete with ZX80/81-style touch keys. The cartridge idea is still valid these days, but what with all the IEEE waste regulations, they'd never be able to buldoze them into the ground if they turn out another turkey like ET. Still, that's the beauty of flash RAM over PROM - just recode the cartridge and slap on a new product sticker!

    @ Joe K: Driver3 - LOL! In fact the whole Driver series (as sideswiped by character dialogue in GTA San Andreas), though the original one wasn't that bad. And don't forget 'The Matrix' - buggy install from a multi-CD package, even when patched, and a gameplay that was sooooo linear that it could have been drawn with a ruler. Generally, throughout their various incarnations, Atari were too bothered about tying in with big bucks movie stuff, and in the end they forgot to make things interesting for the player...

    @ alphaxion: ;¬D - Code Monkeys is based a few hundred yards from me and they've decades of development for various platforms. There are loads more, including the infamous Rockstar, who have substantial Euro development teams.

  15. regadpellagru
    Paris Hilton

    De Profundis

    Rest in peace Atari. The positive thing is this iminent and much awaited death, might release the D&D licence they have, which no one is too happy to see captive of the bunch of morons that lead Atari into the wall.

    As others have said, loads of clueless managers and noone able to compile hello_world.c ...

    I didn't know about the ET story from the link below:

    http://www.snopes.com/business/market/atari.asp

    Interesting, and how does it compare with some recent disappointments. NeverWinter Nights 2, for example, crippled with performance problems and neverending bugs for one year now, because rushed for christmas 2006.

    Last time I checked the NWN2 forums (more in flames, by the way, than any plane in hell), there was a thread started by a dev of the title "What's the most buggy character class". Erm.

    And of course, to be sure to upset people, it's been found out the performance problems were largely due to ... Securom, the famous and extremely moronic DRM, for which only the editor (Atari) can be accountable, not the developper.

    See how they managed to have a one year running (and over 1600 posts) in a petition thread here, where many people claim to boycott the mark:

    http://www.ataricommunity.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=501

    PS: PH icon also for me, to illustrate the amount of stupidity of Atari mgrs.

  16. Chris Cheale

    Atari will never die

    ... if I remember rightly the Atari logo is pretty prominent on a rooftop in Blade Runnner - so the logo at least will live on in one form.

    However, Atari games, like Codemasters', used to be synonimous with rubbish; no-brainer arcade crap (or "movie" games *shudders*) that had a gaming life of maybe 10 hours. The problem is though, that since they were raised from the dead like some kind of Voodoo zombie, they've had their mits on one of the best PC titles around - the Neverwinter Nights games (and "The Witcher" which runs on the Aurora engine)... these are actually decent games.

    Now with EA owning BioWare (makers of the Aurora engine) and the magic holding the Atari corpse together disipating - I guess we're left twidding our thumbs waiting for the Creative Assembly or Valve to bring out the next decent PC title... although Valve have done very well out of the mod community (TF was originally a Quake mod, which granted was ID rather than Valve, but TFC was big as an HL mod and now TF2 on Source... and CS/CSS of course and so on). Smart move releasing modding tools and the SDK there.

  17. calagan

    Not that bad

    Just a few thoughts:

    First of, I'd say recent Atari games were not all that bad: I'm personally a big fan of Test Drive Unlimited, especially on the PSP.

    I think that if Atari was to be born again, it should relate more to classic gaming, which could be successful, seeing how well the Wii and its virtual console is doing.

    Back in 1983, as it was starting to decline, Atari entered into negociations with Nintendo to distribute the NES in North America, but unfortunately, the deal didn't go through.

    Without Atari, there probably would be no Apple, as Job made his debut as a programmer over there.

  18. Sam Therapy
    Jobs Horns

    I'm not surprised

    With Infogrames running the show, it was pretty much going to happen. I used to work for Infogrames so I know firsthand how they can screw up things in a right royal fashion.

  19. Ben
    Unhappy

    silent service

    It aint just "Fratboy Slum" still using the ST and Cubase , i know of two

    distinctly non- bedroom music studios who have Ataris running , clocking the

    entire system of Macs , Ibm clones, adat machines et all , simply because out

    of all the modern hardware running bloatware apps , the atari still knows what

    TIME it is ( accurate master oscillator? pc's , hah divn't make me laugh ).

    Compared to the Mickintosh of the time ,. the ST was the DON in EVERY

    respect . Pity they didn't have the good sense to concentrate on what they

    were good at , c'est la vie . Still , we now have an unparalleled choice of

    cheap sparkly shite to choose from , progress as explained by Parkinsons Law .

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