Atari has announced the creation of a dedicated gaming division, as well as a change of leadership at the company.
Atari is one of the most recognisable names from the early games industry. Since its 80s heyday, the company name has lived on through various owners, most recently emerging from a 2013 bankruptcy into its current form.
For a company that, seven years ago, had just 10 employees, it’s taking on some fairly ambitious projects. In recent years the company has announced plans to launch a cryptocurrency, licensed its name for a chain of hotels, and crowdfunded the Atari VCS retro console.
On Tuesday, the company announced it would be restructuring its operation into two separate divisions: Atari Gaming and Atari Blockchain. In addition, current CEO Frédéric Chesnais will step down to focus on the Blockchain business, replaced by Chairman of the Board Wade J. Rosen.
Atari’s Gaming Division will focus on retro gaming, the company said, specifically through mobile games, the VCS console and licensing.
Atari will continue to operate and develop free-to-play mobile games, it said. In addition, new development will be shifted to console and PC, with an emphasis on “revitalizing classic Atari intellectual property for the modern era”.
It said: “These new releases will share the classics’ instant enjoyability, while introducing a meaningful single-player campaign, couch co-op/multiplayer, and online play.”
On the VCS console, which has already shipped to Indiegogo backers and will go on sale publicly in “Spring 2021”, Atari said it would continue to support the console through “meaningful” third-party content and exclusive first-party content.
It also said it would release tools that will give creators the ability to “design their own classic Atari games,” beginning with the Atari 2600, with an eventual goal of “making it easier to create, share and play retro gaming content in the modern era”.
Finally, Atari said it would continue to license its IPs for both gaming and non-gaming fields, such as hotels and casinos. Recently, the company licensed Atari related brands for use in NFTs.
On its Blockchain Division, the company said it would focus on “the immense possibilities of crypto and blockchain-enabled games.” This includes the ability for users to use Atari Tokens to purchase digital goods on VCS.