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Bushnell: Atari abused by shareholders

"It was just a case of them paying themselves large salaries and nursing the brand"

Outspoken Atari founder Nolan Bushnell has accused the company's shareholders of milking the brand for financial gain, and ignoring the content side of the business.

"Atari has been really abused by a succession of shareholders who were really just interested in the royalty streams associated with the IP, but not really interested in the game business," he told VG247. He added those shareholders had lost sight of making innovative or interesting content.

"It was just a case of them paying themselves large salaries and nursing the brand. I mean the brand took in $10 million in royalties every year just from t-shirts and sheets and peripherals and stuff like that, because the logo was strong. That didn't mean the company had anything, it was just historical with no attempt to bring it into today."

He later compared the company to the goose that laid the golden egg.

Bushnell founded Atari Inc in 1972 with Ted Dabney. Since then it has gone through a number of different forms, most recently becoming Atari Interactive, a subsidiary of French publisher Atari.

The company is currently seeking $22.2 million for its assets through a bankruptcy auction after filing for Chapter 11in January.

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Rachel Weber avatar
Rachel Weber: Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.
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