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Atari the company


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The history of Atari as a company is very complicated. I just did a very cursory amount of research just now, but the current incarantion I think is called Atari SA, and I believe this European company has a market cap a little under $50 million. I also believe that this company is the one that owns all the intellectual property rights, source codes/etc. to all of the famous games we know and love.

 

Question: anyone care to guess why no company has made an offer to buy Atari?

 

I'm thinking maybe a retailer like Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon might be interested; it would be a cheap buy. Probably the best buyer would be Toys R Us. In all cases, my thinking is that, for a cheap price, a retailer could make Atari flashbacks and other devices pegged to the brand an exclusive offering. Toys R Us of course has a lot of debt and is not necessarily in a position to buy even something that is cheap, but the private equity companies that owns it might be able to. I even envision, after such a hypothetical acquisition, selling off everything except for the core classic Atari trademarks/programs/systems. I also wonder why Activision Blizzard hasn't bought the company.

 

Of course, maybe the market cap I looked at was incorrect, or maybe there is a lot of debt to the company (I tried to find out what the debt was and what the enterprise value was, but I unfortunately could not get that info; or I should say I could not confirm the info since I'm not an expert on reading financials of companies outside the U.S.). Anyway, wondering if anyone else has thought about this.

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Question: anyone care to guess why no company has made an offer to buy Atari?

 

There was that thread that touched on this, about releasing a potential new console with the Atari name. That thread focused on some bigger company buying it. Most people thought it wouldn't be worth it.

 

Atari, SA just went through bankruptcy a little while ago, in part because their business was failing, which isn't a recipe for attracting investors or buyers. I think that the fact that the business was failing was also treated as an indicator that the Atari name doesn't really have the cachet that it might have at one point, outside this little group of retro gamers. So even just buying them for the name is probably seen as a waste of money.

 

As for somebody like Activision buying the company, well that is exactly how we ended up with Atari, SA. Infogrames was one of the biggest third party developers in the world at the time they bought the Atari trademarks from Hasbro, and they ended up changing their name to Atari, SA. It's been all downhill from there. So also not really encouraging to other publishers. I just don't think the company really has anything anyone think is worth buying at this point. Making Flashbacks is all well and good, but even tiny little AtGames doesn't only rely on Atari for their business, and if Target or Wal-Mart were to take over the name, you know you're just going to start seeing stuff like Atari-branded cell phone cases and other cheap Chinese-made junk as they try to justify the purchase.

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I think Atari is doing awesome with Flashback consoles in production for 13 years and now releasing a tiny portable console that takes cartridges like bitd.

 

And btw Toys R' Us, BBB, Target, Walmart and popular Hobby stores carry their consoles now just like bitd.

 

What's next? Atari's think tank Cyan Engineering has created micro miniaturized Atari 2600 consoles the size and form factor of the Pacman watch; no doubt all those players will be lined up again to carry the new micro console.

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I think Atari is doing awesome with Flashback consoles in production for 13 years and now releasing a tiny portable console that takes cartridges like bitd.

 

Those are licensed. I don't have all of them and I'm not sure about the early ones (I know the first, at least, was not an AtGames product), but Atari, SA is not producing them. They're just letting someone else use the name. The Flashback Portable even uses the same case as the portable Genesis that AtGames also made.

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Those are licensed. I don't have all of them and I'm not sure about the early ones (I know the first, at least, was not an AtGames product), but Atari, SA is not producing them. They're just letting someone else use the name. The Flashback Portable even uses the same case as the portable Genesis that AtGames also made.

 

Guess it must have been a better business deal for Atari to outsource production.

 

Agree the portable has a portable form factor but the box looks very Atari with all the screenshots.

 

Hope the 2600 watch will sport a dpad like Nelsonic instead of touch screen controls.

post-30777-0-51254000-1489984523_thumb.png

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The history of Atari as a company is very complicated. I just did a very cursory amount of research just now, but the current incarantion I think is called Atari SA, and I believe this European company has a market cap a little under $50 million. I also believe that this company is the one that owns all the intellectual property rights, source codes/etc. to all of the famous games we know and love.

 

Question: anyone care to guess why no company has made an offer to buy Atari?

 

I'm thinking maybe a retailer like Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon might be interested; it would be a cheap buy. Probably the best buyer would be Toys R Us. In all cases, my thinking is that, for a cheap price, a retailer could make Atari flashbacks and other devices pegged to the brand an exclusive offering. Toys R Us of course has a lot of debt and is not necessarily in a position to buy even something that is cheap, but the private equity companies that owns it might be able to. I even envision, after such a hypothetical acquisition, selling off everything except for the core classic Atari trademarks/programs/systems. I also wonder why Activision Blizzard hasn't bought the company.

 

Of course, maybe the market cap I looked at was incorrect, or maybe there is a lot of debt to the company (I tried to find out what the debt was and what the enterprise value was, but I unfortunately could not get that info; or I should say I could not confirm the info since I'm not an expert on reading financials of companies outside the U.S.). Anyway, wondering if anyone else has thought about this.

 

I would love the irony of Activision buying Atari.:) Not that I think they'd do anything useful with it.

 

I would love the name to go to a company whose output suits it. Use it as a brand-name for new arcady-retro styled games. Games in the vein of Rocket League or Resogun would be a good fit for the brand, I think.

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Guess it must have been a better business deal for Atari to outsource production.

 

Atari didn't outsource the production of anything. The Flashback is an ATGames product, produced and distributed by ATGames. Just like the Intellivision and Colecovision Flashbacks. The only involvement Atari has is cashing the checks for using the Atari name and intellectual properties.

Edited by KaeruYojimbo
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Atari didn't outsource the production of anythihng. The Flashback is an ATGames product, produced and distributed by ATGames. Just like the Intellivision and Colecovision Flashbacks. The only involvement Atari has is cashing the checks for using the Atari name and intellectual properties.

 

I think Atari has more involvement because they could influence the design or switch manufacturers again as they've done with the Flashbacks in the past, or even produce their own consoles.

 

I wonder who will make the watchman console for Atari... would be cool if Delsonic is still around and has the original molds for the pacman watch.

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I don't see a retailer having any more success with the Atari name than a software company like Infogrames did. Instead, they would most likely just see it as an opportunity to make some easy money be doing more repackages of old games.

 

I think the problem is that no one really knows what to do with the Atari name. It seems like the only thing being produced are classic games, re-hashes of classic games and a few franchises that have survived from the Infogrames days. There doesn't seem to be any real push to do anything new. I like the idea of using the brand to sell new but retro-styled games, but it has become so attached to nostalgia that I don't know if anyone would be willing to take the chance of doing that.

Edited by KaeruYojimbo
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Innovation in a new form of art and leisure is what made Atari famous back in the day. I don't think that type of innovation would fit in today's hi-speed world of smartphones and social media. And what passes for innovation in today's world totally bores the hell out of vintage gaming enthusiasts.

 

I see more creativity coming from the individual hobbyist. Look at all the projects both hardware and software, that congregate around the simple message forum. Emulators, FPGA near-replicas, homebrew.. All that. In the old day Atari provided like-minded material, today we provide it ourselves.

 

I personally don't like retro-styled games. They're boring. And there's only so much you can do before you begin repeating and re-styling. That gets boring real fast.

Edited by Keatah
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