The American division of Atari has filed for bankruptcy, report the LA Times. The US business hopes to cut itself loose from debts owed by its French parent company.
It’s a bit confusing, this. But the tl;dr is that it’s time to forget about Atari as a major publisher.
The company is run via a complex structure which the Times describes as “essentially an American business with a French public stock listing”. Its CEO, Jim Wilson, is based in New York. And while the French Atari S.A. has been struggling under its various debts, the US company – Atari Inc. – has become quietly profitable, something Atari hasn’t been in about a decade.
Wilson employs only 40 staff, but Atari Inc. have in recent years begun to release games for browsers and smartphones based on the company’s best-known titles, including a new Pong. It’s this Atari which has secured a promise for $5.25m in funding to continue operations and release games post-bankruptcy.
The newly-private US Atari, according to an anonymous source of the LA Times, will “grow a modest business focused on digital and mobile platforms”.
If all goes to plan, it’ll be a different Atari to the publisher which funded some of the best RPGs of the last decade, including the Neverwinter Nights series and The Witcher. And it’ll be a different Atari again to the ‘80s clan that spawned Asteroids. Modern-day Atari merely bears its name, having bought out the company wholesale in 2008.
No – modern-day Atari used to be Infogrames:
What’s the word? Entertainment. What’s the word? Infogrames.