Atari has announced that it will be putting a greater focus on developing “higher value-added premium games,” for consoles and PC while shifting some focus away from its free-to-play games. As a result of this change in direction for the company, five free-to-play games will be either discontinued or sold off. These include RCT Stories, Crystal Castles, Castles & Catapults, Ninja Golf, and Atari Combat: Tank Fury. Atari will not be completely abandoning the free-to-play model, however. Atari says that “successful games with a loyal user base will not be affected.” In a press release, Atari SA CEO Wade J. Rosen addressed the new direction.
“Our intent with any gaming experience is to provide accessible and joyful moments of meaningful play. That’s the core of Atari and what binds our history with our future. To that end, we feel that premium gaming is better representative of this type of gaming experience and the Atari DNA. Despite this new focus on premium gaming, we remain committed to growing and expanding our successful free-to-play games that we have in the market. These changes will impact our 2020/21 financials and will generate a 5 million euro write-off for the financial year ending March 31st 2021. This reorientation will give Atari a unique opportunity to be the bridge between the past and the future of video games and I look forward to driving these changes.
Apparently, the first of these premium games are now in development, and will release in the 2021/22 financial year. Gamers can expect to see these titles “on all platforms,” including the company’s Atari VCS. At this time, the company has not revealed which games are in development, but it plans to “leverage its catalog of 200 proprietary games to build a strong pipeline of premium games.” The company currently owns the rights to games like Asteroids, Centipede, and Pong.
It will be interesting to see what impact this new direction might have! Several old-school gamers have fond memories of these brands, but bringing them into the modern era could pose a significant challenge. Hopefully, the resulting games will prove enjoyable for old-school gamers and newcomers alike.
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