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Atari: The potential of 35-60 year olds, and why children are "impossible"

CEO Frederic Chesnais explores finding a new audience for games

Atari CEO Frederic Chesnais has warned game developers that their products now need to compete against messaging apps, not just other forms of entertainment.

"We are not just fighting against the other publishers, the way I see it is we are fighting for the allocation of time and money," he said as part of his Game Monetization USA talk on the next generation of gamers.

"[Time] is only 24/7, maybe with multi-tasking it's 48/7 because we can do two things at the same time, but for me it's really a question of fighting for the the allocation of time. If you spend time on Snapchat you're not spending time on my game."

He also said that developers shouldn't just think of the next generation of gamers as young people, but as audiences that haven't yet been served by traditional games.

"I personally believe that today in our industry there's a kind of black hole between 35 and 60 years old," he said.

"People have money, they have time, they just don't necessarily play Call Of Duty or Fallout or these big games where you have to spend three or four hours."

He admitted that Atari still wasn't sure exactly which games would be most successful with this untapped audience; Atari has launched social casino titles, and Chesnais mentioned Clash Of Clans.

"It may be less glamorous for us to target that generation because everyone wants to be the next guy who is going to invent Call Of Duty but money wise, in terms of investment and trying to create a big entertainment property I think that there's an opportunity here."

In fact, as well as rooting for this older generation of gamers Chesnais was quick to dismiss children as a potential revenue stream, calling it impossible.

"They have no credit card, they are not online; if they are using their parent's iPhone to make the micro-transactions you know that you're going to get a complaint."

He also urged developers to cancel mobile games that were not working before they were released, rather than pushing forward and investing more and more in QA and marketing costs. He pointed to RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile which Atari released in April. Today it has 10 million downloads and is making money, but Chesnais said that the company had made some mistakes with the initial release and the game needed six or seven updates and half the features changed.

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Latest comments (6)

Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd6 years ago
This incarnation of Atari seems to be exploiting its IP in the most egregiously inefficient and short-sighted way possible short of having a literal fire sale, and are the last people anybody should be turning to for advice.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
Oh, good gravy. If Atari wants some decent revenue the need to get a studio with chops to reboot Space Lords on mobile and make it as fun as (or hell, MORE fun than) the original. That and maybe some of the old 2600 games like Combat, Air Sea Battle and others where MP action makes the games a necessity might do well with some of us old farts he's referring to. Just a thought.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
"It's not free because of greedy ass game developers... "
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Show all comments (6)
Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 6 years ago
It is easy to tell yourself that 35-60 is the real market, when everybody below that age never heard of you.
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Simon Tomlinson Programmer 6 years ago
I'm not sure 35-60 is a new market, there are plenty of gamers in that range that came through from the old fashioned arcade machines. I think it's more that there aren't enough games they want to play. I met a guy once, 50 year old airline pilot, lot of time on his hands and no shortage of cash. He told me there were very few games that interested him. What he wanted was games with some degree of strategic depth. Clash of Clans type games are overly contorted in order to apply the monetisation and the depth of the actual gameplay outside of resource management is limited. And Candy Crush Saga was just a no-no for him. I tend to agree. Make the right games, and they will come.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Simon Tomlinson on 6th December 2014 11:51am

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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
Sounds like he needs combat monsters :)
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