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Atari CEO: "I didn't buy the company to make T-shirts"

By Matthew Handrahan

Atari CEO: "I didn't buy the company to make T-shirts"

Mon 19 May 2014 9:25am GMT / 5:25am EDT / 2:25am PDT

Frederic Chesnais sees a future where Atari will be, "a hardware brand"

Atari CEO Frederic Chesnais has hinted at plans to position the resurgent company as, "more than a software brand."

In an interview with VentureBeat, Chesnais discussed the difficulties of leading a world famous brand that, after years of mismanagement, has lost its identity. "There was kind of, uh ... no 'real' Atari," Chesnais said of the company he took over after it filed for bankruptcy last year.

According to Chesnais, Atari is now a 10-person operation focused on finding partners to create products based on its huge stable of IP. However, Chesnais noted that, "I didn't buy the company to make T-shirts and stuff like that. We are way, way, way beyond that."

While Atari is committed to making new games, Chesnais also said that he also thinks of the company as, "a hardware brand."

"With new licensing with the right partners we build the brand not only in the software space but also in the hardware space," he said, claiming that the company would "carefully announce" its plans over the next few years. In the meantime, Chesnais offered one potential product as an example of what the new Atari might offer.

"I'm not talking about a new console ... but, like, a watch. A gamified watch. It's not what we are going to do, but think about [something like] that," he said.

"[Atari is] a generational brand... It's a lifestyle brand. You could never do that with a brand like THQ. I mean, back in the heydays, THQ was never a lifestyle brand."

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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

438 1,189 2.7
Considering the complete unmitigated disaster that was the 'new' Atari's handling of Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile, I seriously wonder if there will be any goodwill left towards Atari's old brands by the time they've finished with them.

Posted:2 years ago


Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve

371 354 1.0
With their recent history all I can think of when they say 'hardware' is them just releasing yet another Android microconsole. I hope it turns out to be something much more interesting though.

Posted:2 years ago


Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

517 1,307 2.5
@Robin, I was going to say the exact same thing. They have this incredible franchise with RCT, and yet they did nothing with it for years, and now they dabble and come out with the halfhearted mess that is RCT mobile. So so much could be done with Rollercoaster Tycoon its just a shame, perhaps they should stick to selling tshirts if this is any indication of what they plan to do with their classics

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 20th May 2014 12:33am

Posted:2 years ago


Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,606 1,681 0.6
They can make a mint selling those dug-up E.T. carts, I bet... ;^P

Posted:2 years ago


Roberto Dillon Associate Professor, James Cook University

56 40 0.7
@Thomas: a well thought-out android microconsole with the Atari brand (including, for example, a set of both legacy and modern wireless controllers for playing games of all different generations) would be a very interesting proposition, IMHO. Surely more than a "gamified" watch or whatever gimmick that may count my steps and how many calories I am burning.
Personally, I'd buy the first right away while I'd never even look at the second.

Posted:2 years ago


Eyal Teler Programmer

119 160 1.3
@Thomas Dolby, read the original interview. He also talked about a jacket that can charge your phone, not game related at all. So I don't really expect anything exciting.

Posted:2 years ago


Eyal Teler Programmer

119 160 1.3
Does anyone know what IP the new Atari has left? Rollercoaster Tycoon of course, but what else? I'm just wondering what they're going to ruin next. Well, actually I wonder what they can add to a microconsole that other companies can't.

Posted:2 years ago


Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,606 1,681 0.6
I'd bet they COULD have made a mint by doing Space Lords as a F2P and or console game experience. That game (which hasn't ever been emulated properly, so you'll need to buy an arcade cabinet to play it) was too much addictive fun back in arcades and I'm surprised it's been ignored into oblivion. Oh well. How much for an E.T. cart and commemorative T-shirt again? :D

Oh, and a "gamified watch"??? No thanks. My eyes are bad enough as it is at this age and I don't want to go blinder playing Combat on a 2-inch screen.

Posted:2 years ago


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