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Editorial - Atari Announces New Direction

by Thomas Wilde on Aug. 13, 2006 @ 12:23 a.m. PDT

Earlier this week Atari not only released its quarterly results but also held its annual gamers day in Las Vegas where it presented an updated look at the lineup for this coming holiday season, and beyond. While preview coverage is scheduled for later next week, the event opened with a rather candid speech ...

At the Atari Spotlight conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, Atari showed off several games in its new lineup, and discussed their plans to reinvent the company in the months to come. Among their more surprising points of discussion was the surprising admission that they knew Driver 3 sucked (the phrase that was used was “half-baked”), saying that it represented the “old Atari” while Test Drive Unlimited represented the “new Atari.” Towards that end, there’s been a major personnel turnover; Atari closed their offices in Santa Monica and Beverly, put an end to all internal game development, and have made a “pretty massive investment in human resources.”

Chris Bergstresser, senior vice president of Atari Online, spoke on how they’re “expanding the consumer experience.” Atari will be bringing many of their classic games in a reinvented format to Xbox Live Arcade just in time for his holiday season; the goal, by Bergstresser, is to update the games’ look to modern standards while keeping the classic gameplay intact. Atari also intends to debut the beta form of a large online community in the spring or summer of 2007.

Atari will not have any launch titles for the PlayStation 3 or Wii consoles. However, they displayed many other titles, such as Neverwinter Nights II (PC), Age of Pirates (PC), Dungeons & Dragons Tactics (PSP; if you’re planning to attend GenCon, look for it there), Pat Sajak’s Lucky Letters (PC), Bullet Witch (X360), HOTPXL (PSP), and both DS and PS2 versions of a game based on the upcoming film Arthur and the Invisibles.

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