From Centipede, Asteroids, and Pong to Roller Coaster Tycoon, Atari has a long and somewhat sordid history in gaming. As one of the original video game brands, starting in 1972, it has had decades of ups and downs. And each one is as memorable as the last. Now, the old giant is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022 and looking for a new lease on life.
That new beginning apparently starts with a new CEO. Wade Rosen took over the company in March 2021 and immediately began to redirect the company away from strange path Atari was traveling over the past few years. Buying hotels, casinos, being involved in movie productions and most recently, cryptocurrency, is a far cry from its early days of games and consoles.
Rosen wants to reclaim the glory of those days and started with announcing the company would be coming back to video game production. Atari gave their fans a possible reason to trust it by releasing “Recharged” versions of some classic titles, including Black Widow, and plans to add more throughout 2022.
Is Atari the comeback king?
Right now, Rosen has said the company will focus on upgrading their retro game catalogue and will come back to game publishing in the near future. Of course, at the moment, this is a lofty dream, as Atari only employs around 25 people. But “start small and dream big,” right?
As far as Atari’s previous holdings, those will continue with the company’s support. “We’re not just like, OK, here it is — buy it, and we’re hands off. We’ll provide support, but we’re not hotel experts,” Rosen said.
For those worried the new CEO will make drastic changes to what made Atari great, Rosen assures fans he isn’t in it for financial gains. “I didn’t target Atari because I saw it as this great financial opportunity,” he said. “More, because it’s one of the iconic names in video games. I just looked at it and I thought, OK, that could bring me joy.” However, it should be noted that Atari is investing in NFTs, “releasing digital 3D models of classic Atari 2600 cartridges,” as a way to make money. Hopefully they will rethink that as the gaming community continues to speak out against NFTs.
It would absolutely bring us joy to see Atari make a comeback. For more on Atari’s past and future, check out the full interview with Rosen in Polygon.