present-day atari

Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

Hi. First-time poster here.


Why does the media keep thinking Atari still exists? Isn't present-day
Atari really Infogrames?

The following article doesn't seem to make a distinction between
present-day Atari and old Atari.


Sorry if the link doesn't come out right.

http://money.cnn.com/2005/06/16/commentary/game_over/column_gaming/index.htm?cnn=yes
23 answers Last reply
More about present day atari
  1. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    I don't know the full details on how Infogrames acquired the name. But,
    if it bought the names and at least some of the software properties, is
    it really Atari if none of the programmers and personnel or any of the
    development houses from the old Atari were not brought along?

    If Activision decided to buy the Sega name and properties, but it
    didn't bring along the development houses or any of the people, would
    Activision be Sega? Imagine Activision farming out a project to some
    company and sticking the Sega name on the product. Is that a Sega
    product?
  2. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    Your points are valid. I'm aware that companies farm out projects.
    That's part of the reason names don't matter to me that much anymore.
    Using Activision again as an example, I don't think of them as being
    the same company that created the Atari boxing game I enjoyed so long
    ago.

    The thing about Infogrames/Atari is that I can totally picture one or
    more marketing guys suggesting the name change just for name
    recognition alone. It's as if they couldn't build a reputation based on
    the quality of their games. They have to rely on a name (at least
    partially).

    Hey, I could buy Tom Cruise's house, clothing, cars, etc. and change my
    name to Tom Cruise, if I were rich enough. None of that stuff will make
    me Tom Cruise. (Sorry, bad analogy)
  3. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    pi wrote:

    > Why does the media keep thinking Atari still exists? Isn't present-day
    > Atari really Infogrames?

    The probably don't. Infogrames changed their name to Atari after they
    acquired all of the Atari properties.


    --
    Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall
    pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend,
    oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of
    liberty. This much we pledge—and more.

    - President John F. Kennedy, Jan. 20, 1961
  4. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    >
    >Why does the media keep thinking Atari still exists? Isn't present-day
    >Atari really Infogrames?
    >The following article doesn't seem to make a distinction between
    >present-day Atari and old Atari.

    Well, he references the Atari 2600, but it's not really important to the
    article. The article pretty much reserves it's reporting for recent
    "Infogrames" news.

    Sort of related: I don't really understand why some many people keep
    saying Infogrames isn't "really" Atari. Atari hasn't "really" been Atari
    since Nolan Bushnell left. If you can accept Ray Kasser Atari and Tramiel
    Atari as legitimate Ataris, that I can't see why Infogrames Atari isn't
    legitimate. I'm just glad the name is back in the hands of a videogame
    company. They've even produced some good games under the name.

    --
    Jim Leek
    jrleek@soda.berkeley.edu
  5. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    >I don't know the full details on how Infogrames acquired the name. But,
    >if it bought the names and at least some of the software properties, is
    >it really Atari if none of the programmers and personnel or any of the
    >development houses from the old Atari were not brought along?

    The changes were similar when the Tramiels took over Atari, although, of
    course, some of the programmers and holdings came through the immediate
    move (and were instead replaced in the long term) It basically comes down
    to this question: Abraham has a boat. Over the course of owning the boat,
    every single piece of the boat wears out or breaks and is replaces. Now,
    does Abraham have the same boat he started with, or not?

    Sure, the Infogrames change (or, more accurately, the changes leading up
    to Infogrames' acquisition) was rather large and sudden, but it's still
    basically the same question. Nearly everything about Atari changed when
    the Tramiels took over, why was that a "valid" Atari, and Infogrames Atari
    is not "valid?"

    >If Activision decided to buy the Sega name and properties, but it
    >didn't bring along the development houses or any of the people, would
    >Activision be Sega? Imagine Activision farming out a project to some
    >company and sticking the Sega name on the product. Is that a Sega
    >product?

    The initial question is the same as posed above. However, you do
    realize that farming out projects is VERY common in the videogame
    industry? The same question may be asked in the following form: if SEGA
    itself farms out a project to studio Vortex, then just stamps it's name on
    the product and sells it, is that product really a SEGA product?

    --
    Jim Leek
    jrleek@soda.berkeley.edu
  6. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    In article <d8urqa$3k7$1@agate.berkeley.edu>,
    jrleek@soda.csua.berkeley.edu (James Robert Leek) wrote:

    > If you can accept Ray Kasser Atari and Tramiel
    > Atari as legitimate Ataris, that I can't see why Infogrames
    > Atari isn't legitimate.

    I think a lot of people like to consider Atari the great Martyr of video
    games. The one time greatest giant of the hobby, now a ghost of a
    beloved past. That the Infogrames Atari doesn't make hardware anymore
    also belies a legitimacy in many minds, also.

    I would think that some would reject a resurrected Coleco should someone
    revive that name and start developing games, also.

    jt
  7. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    In article <1119024982.756120.71060@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
    "pi" <personaincognito@yahoo.com> wrote:

    > I don't know the full details on how Infogrames acquired the name. But,
    > if it bought the names and at least some of the software properties, is
    > it really Atari if none of the programmers and personnel or any of the
    > development houses from the old Atari were not brought along?

    Well, considering that many , most or possibly even all original Atari
    developers are in the retirement age, and perhaps more telling is that
    to the best of my personal awareness on the subject, none of them are
    involved in developing games today for other entities, I would have to
    say that the above quoted requirement may not be possible to fulfill.

    I would also counter that if Atari had not gone belly up, but continued
    to thrive, but in the course of these 30 plus years of successful
    existence, everyone who had been working there up to the 7800 project
    had either moved on or retired, would that make today's Atari any less
    legitimate?

    Atari today retains the software rights, patents and other intellectual
    properties of the Atari of old, and as such, is just as legitimate today
    as it always was. It just went into hibernation for a few years.

    jt
  8. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    In article <1119029542.663758.152320@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
    "pi" <personaincognito@yahoo.com> wrote:


    > Hey, I could buy Tom Cruise's house, clothing, cars, etc. and change my
    > name to Tom Cruise, if I were rich enough. None of that stuff will make
    > me Tom Cruise. (Sorry, bad analogy)

    Actually a good analogy. It makes your point quite well.

    However, let me counter.

    You go to a McDonalds. You learn that the one you are at is actually a
    holding of Davis Marketing Services, LLC, and that company has pruchased
    franchise agreements for their 32 fast food restaurants, and they are
    only using the name McDonalds, and all its recipes, logos and relevant
    intellectual properties by liscense. Does that make it any less a
    McDonalds in your mind?

    If somebody won the grand prize on the latest War or the Worlds /
    McDonalds sweepstakes at this particular McDonalds you were eating in,
    the local media would have a feature story about the dude who won the
    big prize at the neighborhood McDonalds, not the neighborhood Davis
    Marketing, LLC hamburger joint.

    jt
  9. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    "James Robert Leek" <jrleek@soda.csua.berkeley.edu> wrote in message
    news:d8uvla$5ep$1@agate.berkeley.edu...
    > >I don't know the full details on how Infogrames acquired the name. But,
    >>if it bought the names and at least some of the software properties, is
    >>it really Atari if none of the programmers and personnel or any of the
    >>development houses from the old Atari were not brought along?
    >
    > The changes were similar when the Tramiels took over Atari, although, of
    > course, some of the programmers and holdings came through the immediate
    > move (and were instead replaced in the long term) It basically comes down
    > to this question: Abraham has a boat. Over the course of owning the boat,
    > every single piece of the boat wears out or breaks and is replaces. Now,
    > does Abraham have the same boat he started with, or not?
    >
    > Sure, the Infogrames change (or, more accurately, the changes leading up
    > to Infogrames' acquisition) was rather large and sudden, but it's still
    > basically the same question. Nearly everything about Atari changed when
    > the Tramiels took over, why was that a "valid" Atari, and Infogrames Atari
    > is not "valid?"
    >
    >>If Activision decided to buy the Sega name and properties, but it
    >>didn't bring along the development houses or any of the people, would
    >>Activision be Sega? Imagine Activision farming out a project to some
    >>company and sticking the Sega name on the product. Is that a Sega
    >>product?
    >

    The contrast would be with nintendo. Noone asks if Nintendo is still
    Nintendo because, regardless of what low-level staff changes have happened,
    Nintendo still has a reasonably consistent ethos and consistency towards
    what games and consoles they produce.
  10. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    >You go to a McDonalds. You learn that the one you are at is actually a
    >holding of Davis Marketing Services, LLC, and that company has pruchased
    >franchise agreements for their 32 fast food restaurants, and they are
    >only using the name McDonalds, and all its recipes, logos and relevant
    >intellectual properties by liscense. Does that make it any less a
    >McDonalds in your mind?

    This analogy doesn't really fly because pretty much every McDonalds is
    franchise restaurants. I don't know if there is even such thing as a
    corporate McDonalds restaurant, so it may be argued that Atari is a
    different case.

    --
    Jim Leek
    jrleek@soda.berkeley.edu
  11. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    "James Robert Leek" <jrleek@soda.csua.berkeley.edu> wrote in message
    news:d91hpd$17ke$1@agate.berkeley.edu...
    > >You go to a McDonalds. You learn that the one you are at is actually a
    > >holding of Davis Marketing Services, LLC, and that company has pruchased
    > >franchise agreements for their 32 fast food restaurants, and they are
    > >only using the name McDonalds, and all its recipes, logos and relevant
    > >intellectual properties by liscense. Does that make it any less a
    > >McDonalds in your mind?
    >
    > This analogy doesn't really fly because pretty much every McDonalds is
    > franchise restaurants. I don't know if there is even such thing as a
    > corporate McDonalds restaurant, so it may be argued that Atari is a
    > different case.
    >

    There are corporately owned McDonald's restaurants.

    Dane.
  12. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    In article <d91hpd$17ke$1@agate.berkeley.edu>,
    jrleek@soda.csua.berkeley.edu (James Robert Leek) wrote:

    > >You go to a McDonalds. You learn that the one you are at is actually a
    > >holding of Davis Marketing Services, LLC, and that company has pruchased
    > >franchise agreements for their 32 fast food restaurants, and they are
    > >only using the name McDonalds, and all its recipes, logos and relevant
    > >intellectual properties by liscense. Does that make it any less a
    > >McDonalds in your mind?
    >
    > This analogy doesn't really fly because pretty much every McDonalds is
    > franchise restaurants. I don't know if there is even such thing as a
    > corporate McDonalds restaurant, so it may be argued that Atari is a
    > different case.

    I can assure you that there are a sizable number of corporate own McD's
    around the company. It varies from roughy 25% to 40%. The corporation
    will own and operate in markets where they want to maintain market
    placement but cannot attract franchise operators for whatever given
    reasons. The business why's are too complex and too off-topic to go
    into here, but I know a gentleman who owns some franchise units here in
    StL, and he explained to me several things I never realized about McD's,
    including much about franchising vs. corporate owned units.

    jt
  13. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    It doesn't matter, to me anyway, how many owners (corporate or
    otherwise) that McDonalds has had. That site has been delivering the
    same service, at the same quality (good or bad) for many years. I can
    eat one of their products in a blindfold test and tell you where it
    came from. There is a distinctive quality to their product. Something
    has been passed along to each encarnation of the place (recipes and I
    don't know what else).

    A restaurant owner can't just open up a hamburger place, put a
    McDonalds sign on the roof, and say, "We are McDonalds."

    To me, Infogrames is that restaurant owner, who opens up a hamburger
    place, buys the McDonalds name to put it on the roof, without actually
    inheriting anything from the old McDonalds. The only real connection
    between the old restaurant and the new one is a few, old, hamburgers
    that were left in the fridge.
  14. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    On 17 Jun 2005 09:16:22 -0700, "pi" <personaincognito@yahoo.com>
    wrote:

    >I don't know the full details on how Infogrames acquired the name. But,
    >if it bought the names and at least some of the software properties, is
    >it really Atari if none of the programmers and personnel or any of the
    >development houses from the old Atari were not brought along?


    Atari didnt have much developement in the end. I think it consisted
    mainly of Jeff Minter and a couple other guys. Like the OP said, the
    original Atari was started by Nolan Bushnell. When Warner Brothers
    purchased Atari most of the original people left (some went on to form
    Activision, Amiga, and Imagic) so was the Warner brothers Atari the
    real Atari? When Atari went to the Tramiels it was yet again a
    completely different Atari... The one thing that stayed the same was
    selling hardware and the HQ was in Sunnyvalle CA. When IG bought
    Atari they created a subsidy compay called Atari (whose headquarters
    are in New York) and they are only a publisher of software, the only
    hardware they have is the Flashback systems... but still they are
    "Atari"

    Another thing IG's Atari has is commen with the previous Atari's, they
    are failing in the marketplace.
  15. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    "James Robert Leek" <jrleek@soda.csua.berkeley.edu> wrote in message
    news:d91hpd$17ke$1@agate.berkeley.edu...
    > >You go to a McDonalds. You learn that the one you are at is actually a
    >>holding of Davis Marketing Services, LLC, and that company has pruchased
    >>franchise agreements for their 32 fast food restaurants, and they are
    >>only using the name McDonalds, and all its recipes, logos and relevant
    >>intellectual properties by liscense. Does that make it any less a
    >>McDonalds in your mind?
    >
    > This analogy doesn't really fly because pretty much every McDonalds is
    > franchise restaurants. I don't know if there is even such thing as a
    > corporate McDonalds restaurant, so it may be argued that Atari is a
    > different case.
    >

    There's that McDougal's restaurant... very dodgy if you ask me.
  16. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    LOL.

    Yeah, I did say "good or bad". Haven't eaten a Mickey D burger in a
    very long time.
  17. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    >I can assure you that there are a sizable number of corporate own McD's
    >around the company. It varies from roughy 25% to 40%.

    Well, learn something new everyday.
    --
    Jim Leek
    jrleek@soda.berkeley.edu
  18. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    >To me, Infogrames is that restaurant owner, who opens up a hamburger
    >place, buys the McDonalds name to put it on the roof, without actually
    >inheriting anything from the old McDonalds. The only real connection
    >between the old restaurant and the new one is a few, old, hamburgers
    >that were left in the fridge.

    This could only be an improvement. :P
    --
    Jim Leek
    jrleek@soda.berkeley.edu
  19. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    Atari was incorporated in June of 1972, Nolan Bushnell and partner Ted
    Dabney formed the company for $1,000. Then they started hiring
    engineers. Pong was programmed largely on the strengths of Al Alcorn,
    Bushnell and company began production of these units in a converted
    skating rink. They conditioned Pong to run on a single chip and when
    prices came down, were able to afford the manufacturing costs to sneak
    into the home market. Once their marketing deal with Sears was secured
    in the Sporting Goods department, Atari quickly became a household
    name.

    In 1978 Warner purchased Atari from Bushnell, for approximately $35
    Million. They formed the "two Ataris" a coin-op exclusive division and
    the home console division. In 1982 they were riding high and posting
    record profits. Then the software plague reached critical mass in
    1983-84, and the market came to its knees. Atari was then sold to Jack
    Tramiel in the early-mid nineties.
    Poor management and a total misunderstanding of the marketplace, and
    botched product launches pretty much doomed them from there. In 1999
    the tramiels bailed out to JTS corporation, selling the once proud
    company for only a few million dollars.
    JTS didn't hold the property long, flipping it to Hasbro for a small
    profit several months later.
    Atari, for all intents and purposes died when it was "acquired" by JTS.
    There was no more innovation at that point and anyone who had ever
    worked at Sunnyvale or answered a phone for the old bosses ceased to be
    affiliated with the company. It existed as intellectual property, and
    was valuable in name recognition only.
    Hasbro software engineers released "remakes" of Pong, Centipede,
    Missile Command, etc. in the "spirit" of these old games, but only in
    the interest of making a profit off an established brand. Atari was
    theres, because they simply paid for the trademarks. After dismal
    sales and flagging interest, the brand was sold again to Infogrammes, a
    french software developer.
    In 2003, Infogrammes changed their name to "Atari" because legally they
    could. To their credit, IG has produced some fresh titles under the
    Atari brand, but they are starting to lose money like the bona-fide
    Atari did in the mid-eighties. Investors are getting a bit spooked and
    the CEO of "Atari" resigned last month. Their company is in decline
    and doing its best to "emulate" the old Wall Street Atari of old.
    It is important to note, however, that Atari exists merely as a brand
    property of a different company altogether, and may change hands again.
    The group of minds that created the games we love and remember are
    largely retired or on other projects and are not affiliated with Atari
    in any way.
    Atari today is like General Motors if it were consumed whole be Toyota,
    who began manufacturing the "classic" Studebaker on Japanese soil, from
    cast molding and fibreglass. Meaning, it ain't what she used to be.
    Anybody that claims Atari is alive and well is misguided or
    misinformed. It's nice to see the name out there, but it exists for
    the wrong reasons. Merely as a bright, blinking neon sign, begging you
    to buy a ticket to the peep-show.
    The days of Atari are now reserved for the museum and fond reflection.


    Interestingly, Nolan Bushnell announced this month that his U-Wink
    "game machines" are going to be incorporated into hip "bistros" in an
    attempt to merge cuisine with the videogame, without animatronic rats.
    That might be closer to the Atari vibe than InfoGrammes will ever get.

    Jeff
  20. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    >1983-84, and the market came to its knees. Atari was then sold to Jack
    >Tramiel in the early-mid nineties.

    Try July 1984. I assume this was a typo.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari

    >Anybody that claims Atari is alive and well is misguided or
    >misinformed. It's nice to see the name out there, but it exists for

    Sheesh. I don't think anyone ever claimed this, but again, why is this
    Atari not valid, but the Tramiel Atari was valid?

    --
    Jim Leek
    jrleek@soda.berkeley.edu
  21. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    "James Robert Leek" <jrleek@soda.csua.berkeley.edu> wrote in message
    news:d9pqsb$2teq$1@agate.berkeley.edu...
    > >1983-84, and the market came to its knees. Atari was then sold to Jack
    > >Tramiel in the early-mid nineties.
    >
    > Try July 1984. I assume this was a typo.
    > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari
    >
    > >Anybody that claims Atari is alive and well is misguided or
    > >misinformed. It's nice to see the name out there, but it exists for
    >
    > Sheesh. I don't think anyone ever claimed this, but again, why is this
    > Atari not valid, but the Tramiel Atari was valid?

    Good point. I've always considered the ST nothing but Atari, despite the
    flipflop origin. Any of the more recent licensees frankly are just as much
    Atari as the Blue Sky Rangers are Intellivision. We've even seen new games,
    but not every game can be Adventure.
    Why does anyone consider JTS as being cursed too? They made a profit. Hardly
    the kind of curse that sends one quaking in their boots.
  22. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    JTS is cursed with their own anonymity. Who heard of them prior to
    their acquisition of Atari, and who's heard of them since? It was a
    shrewd move to pick up a label like they did and flip it for a quick
    profit. That's just good business.
    I'd say the Tramiel stewardship of Atari in its prime state of decline
    deserves more credibility than the current ownership simply because
    they continued to fund intellectual property. Patents, code, and
    consoles were all created. The company was still headquartered in
    California, in some of the same buildings in Milpitas as in the hey-day.
  23. Archived from groups: rec.games.video.classic (More info?)

    In article <1119944515.540363.267080@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com>,
    VectorGen <istolewhitesands@yahoo.com> wrote:
    >JTS is cursed with their own anonymity. Who heard of them prior to
    >their acquisition of Atari, and who's heard of them since? It was a
    >shrewd move to pick up a label like they did and flip it for a quick
    >profit. That's just good business.

    Ummm, not to meantion they got the $50 million Atari had in the bank.
    The reason no one has heard of JTS since is because they went bankrupt.
    JTS manufactured Harddrives, a very tough business. The Atari deal was
    more of a merger than anything else. Jack Tramiel wanted to get out of the
    videogame business and get into a business where he could sell blackboxs
    and compete solely on price. That sure describes hard drives, but JTS
    went under in 1998. Here's a little more info:

    "JTS were a fairly recent entrant into the hard drive market. Founded in
    1994 by ex-Seagate, Conner and IBM workers and based in the USA, they did
    their manufacturing in India. JTS desktop drives were fully sealed units,
    with slightly smaller platters than usual, and were designed for the
    entry-level market. They also made 3 inch notebook drives. Despite some
    surprisingly well-performed products, they closed up in 1998."

    >I'd say the Tramiel stewardship of Atari in its prime state of decline
    >deserves more credibility than the current ownership simply because
    >they continued to fund intellectual property. Patents, code, and
    >consoles were all created. The company was still headquartered in
    >California, in some of the same buildings in Milpitas as in the hey-day.

    I'll agree that one primary difference between Tramiel Atari and
    Infogrames Atari is that the Tramiels produced hardware. I think you'd be
    hard pressed to come up with evidence that Infogrames Atari doesn't
    produce code though.

    --
    Jim Leek
    jrleek@soda.berkeley.edu
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