September 19, 2017 // 11:22 a.m.
Atari has announced that it is turning to crowdfunding platform Fig for the cash it needs to develop and publish two new titles, including one based on entirely new intellectual property (IP).
A pioneer in video gaming, both in the arcade and in the home, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney's Atari is one of the best-known brands in gaming. Sadly, today's Atari is divorced from the company originally founded in 1971 as Syzygy Engineering: The market crash for video games in the 1980s put paid to the original Atari and a succession of takeovers and sales saw it pass through multiple hands - including those of Jack Tramiel after being ousted from the rival computer giant Commodore he himself had founded - before coming to rest with Infogrames prior to its bankruptcy filings. The modern Atari, having emerged from bankruptcy protection a year later, has been branching out into casino gaming and Internet of Things (IoT) projects, but the company hasn't forgotten where its name came from: On top of its impending console launch the company has announced a partnership with Fig to crowdfund two new games, one rebooting past Atari IP and the other fresh and new.
Atari, naturally, is positioning the deal as a means for fans to become more deeply involved in the production process rather than a means for the company to risk someone else's money on development. 'Fig is providing a model where gamers not only help to get the titles they are most passionate about funded, but also have the opportunity to share in the financial returns with developers and publishers,' explains Fred Chesnais, Atari chief executive, of Fig's dual-format product- and equity-based crowdfunding model. 'We're excited that Fig has opened up the vast potential of crowdfunding to IP holder and publisher alike by changing the narrative and allowing us to partner with our fans.'
'Atari is synonymous with video games. From the early 70s through today, they built the video game industry from the ground up through indelible franchises and groundbreaking consoles,' adds Fig chief executive Justin Bailey, quietly sidestepping the fact that he's talking about a very different Atari. 'The gamer community continues to play an ever-expanding role in helping publish games they are passionate about. At Fig, we refer to what we do as community publishing rather than crowdfunding, since a "crowd" is passive, and we’re about much more than just funding. With Fig, the community is active in selecting the public campaigns we run, participating in the funding, getting the word out, playing early builds, and now even profiting like the investors who supported Kingdoms and Castles. The community has become the centre of the publishing process, and this partnership provides the rare opportunity to engage with an industry legend in Atari to help publish two IPs, and share in the potential financial success of those games.'
Neither company, however, has detailed exactly what the two games will be. All Atari will say is that the first of the two games will be a reboot of something 'most beloved' from the company's IP vaults, which includes everything from Pong and Asteroids to RollerCoaster Tycoon, while the second will be based around entirely new IP. A launch date for neither has been announced.