Founded in 1972, they were very popular in early video game development and are seen as one of the founding companies in the industry. They were a US manufacturer and were successful until the mid 1990’s Prior to this, Atari were also involved in PC Manufacturing with peak sales in 1988 of $452 Million. The next year they discontinued the pc component due to FBI investigations for violations of Japanese parts to US Import laws.
In 1989 atari lost a sales battle between their handheld device, Lynx, to the Nintendo Game Boy.
In 1998, amid the difficult situation of money in the bank but no marketable products, Atari was sold to Hasbro Interactive. Hasbro have released many popular household games, such as Monoply, Scrabble, Dungeons & Dragons, Game of Life, Battleship, Yahtzee, Risk, Boggle etc.
During the hasbro ownership, they released popular remakes of games like Centipede, Missile Command, Pong, Q*Bert, etc.
During the dot-com bubble in 2000, hasbro almost didn’t survive. They sold 100% to a french company IESA, who then was renamed to Atari Interactive, Inc. which was in turn owned by parent company Atari, SA.
Although in 2005, Hasbro bought back their digital gaming rights from Atari Interactive, Atari kept the rights to produce video games based on the above listed games for 10 years. (Monopoly, ….)
The change in name back to Atari Interactive, was part of a worldwide reorganization to focus on the use of the Atari brand. In 2008, Atari Inc. was merged into Infogrames, but Infogrames was renamed to Atari SA. At this point in time, Atari SA was the parent company of Atari Inc.
In 2013, Atari Inc, Atari Interactive and Humongous Inc, jointly filed for bankruptcy in the US. and began selling off game assets.
In 2014, the 3 companies emerged and entered the Social Casino Gaming Inustry with Atari Casino. At the time, they only consisted of 10 employees.
Over the next 4 years, they continued to sell off game assets to game developers.
In 2015 they announced a new strategy to re-release old atari games, with a focus on Download games, MMO games, Mobile games and licensing activities around traditional franchises.
In 2017, they confirmed the development of a new game console which was based on PC technology. Originally called the Ataribox, this was later renamed to the Atari VCS in 2018.
In late 2018, Atari SA was listed on the Nasdaq Intl and in 2019, began trading on Nasdaq Nordic. Atari SA currently has a market cap of $55 million.
The first spike in mid 2017, aligns with the announcement of the Atari VCS development. The next spike aligns with the rename announcement and start of pre-orders, as well as the announcement around their entry into crypto. The first day of pre-orders saw more than $2.25 Million in sales, exceeding the $100K sought to start production. On the VCS team, Rob Wyatt was announced in 2018, he was the system architect for the original Xbox and designer for Playstation 3’s graphics systems.
In late 2019, Rob resigned with non-payment as a key reason. They had also not been forthcoming about the VCS production status to the public. It was due for shipping in Q2 2019.
In Dec, the COO announced shipping will occur in March 2020, which has since been delayed due to the COVID19 situation. The console will ship with many retro games on it and allow users to download other games from websites.
In early 2018, they announced their involvement in blockchain with the future release of their Atari Token. They initially partnered with Infinity Networks to develop the crypto token as well as a decentralized platform giving access to multiple forms of digital entertainment, ranging from video games, to films and music. But due to progressing being slower than expected, they terminated that partnership. They then decided to separate the two products into different projects.
The Atari Token will be used for video game use cases with a special priority to online casinos. Together with ICICB Group, they will launch a crypto casino by Sep 30th, 2020. Last week (Mar 17th), Atari Group announced an equity round that raised 3.26 Million Euros which will also aid in the launch of new games and the Atari VCS console. According to their website, it looks like they might launch a new Crypto exchange too.
Although Atari has some way to go to compare with their age of success in the late 20th century. It is exciting to see the strong effort and desire for a prominent brand name and a publicly listed company to invest in blockchain technology.
List of games: https://www.atari.com/atari-games/
Investor website: https://www.atari-investisseurs.fr/en/