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Atari are shifting focus to "premium games" on PC and consoles

Are we going to take bets on Pong Royale?

Go on and write down Atari as the latest company with renewed interest in PC gaming. Atari have now outlined plans to shift focus away from free-to-play mobile games and put future development efforts into PC and console games. New games currently in development will have "an emphasis on revitalizing classic Atari intellectual property for the modern era," they've said. The first of those are planned to launch in their financial year 2021/2022.

The Atari of old has been long gone while now, with their modern incarnation chasing business plans such as hotel chains and block chains. Both of those are sticking around, it sounds, but on the game development side they'll be moving from free-to-play mobile games (including such reheated classics as RollerCoaster Tycoon Story and Atari Combat: Tank Fury) to paid-for games on PC and consoles.

Recently-appointed CEO Wade J. Rosen has this to say about their plans for the future:

"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."

Atari did recently restructure, splitting into gaming and blockchain divisions in April. Rosen was named CEO at that time, and announced that the gaming division would be shifting to console and PC releases. Today's announcement specifically adds the "premium" element. It also mentions areas Atari will be moving out of in order to "efficiently allocate its resources to the success of this new strategy". Five free-to-play games are being discontinued or sold (sorry, RC Tycoon Story). Atari are also stepping out of direct operations for their Atari Casino in Africa and will focus on licensing instead of production where TV shows are concerned.

On what kind of premium stuff we can expect in the future, Atari say that their plan is to "leverage its catalog of 200 proprietary games to build a strong pipeline of premium games on all platforms." Back in April, they also mentioned that new releases would be "introducing a meaningful single-player campaign, couch co-op/multiplayer, and online play," to their classic games. They've said that the first releases of games in development are planned to launch in their financial year 2021/2022.

Ta, GamesIndustry.biz.

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Lauren Morton