After spending years aligning itself with the blockchain, weird TV spin-offs, that weird crypto casino spin-off, and shoehorning classic IP into free-to-play shovelware, Atari has announced that, actually, it’s going to make “premium” video games again.
The announcement came Tuesday morning Australian time, which is only really notable because it’s the day after Independence Day in the United States, one of the quietest days imaginable in the gaming calendar. In their official release, Atari announced they would “exit its direct operations of Atari Casino in Africa” to ensure it had the resources to “build a strong pipeline of premium games on all platforms”.
“The first titles are currently in development and the first releases are planned for the financial year 2021/22,” Atari said, adding the new games would “progressively strengthen the content offered on the Atari VCS“.
Atari also announced it would shut down or sell 5 free-to-play games in possibly the most disparaging of ways. Here’s the direct quote from the release:
While the competitive and marketing environment is weighing on the free-to-play business model, five free-to-play games will be discontinued or sold (RCT Stories, Crystal Castles, Castles & Catapults, Ninja Golf, Atari Combat: Tank Fury). Successful games with a loyal user base are not affected.
Atari added it would “write down the assets corresponding to TV shows” it produced. No mention was made of Atari’s expansion into the hotel business with ICICB Group, whereby Atari would recoup 5 percent of the revenue from Atari-branded hotels.
The agreement includes Australia and New Zealand according to an announcement in March. There’s no new hotels being built in the ANZ region yet — but the official Atari Hotels Instagram account has been posting a whole lot of fanfiction in the meantime.
The shift in strategy will cost Atari about 5 million euros, or $7.86 million at the current exchange rate.