After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January of this year, Atari US has been attempting to sell its assets. By doing this, it hopes to separate itself from its French parent company Atari S.A., formally Infogrames, to gain independent capital and to raise a bit of cash to further pursue its current avenue of creating mobile games and digital licensing. As nobody came forward to purchase their game assets outright, setting the price of the Atari brand at $15 million, the company has decided to begin selling off its IPs individually.
What this basically means is that if you find yourself with $3.5 million burning a whole in your pocket, you could buy the rights to Rollercoaster Tycoon. The company has also priced the Test Drive name at $1.5 million, and Total Annihilation at $250k. Also, and most importantly, you can buy the iconic “Mt. Fuji” logo that has featured on so many t-shirts and tattoos in the past. 180 buyers were originally contacted about the sale as it then stood, the entire Atari brand for $15 million, and more than 90 responded. 18 eventually went on to make bids, all of which were rejected by Atari.
Atari hope to make $22.3 million from the individual sales, their bankruptcy papers adding:
The Debtors believe that this type of a targeted bidding process affords the Debtors the best opportunity to market the Assets and maximize the value thereof for the benefit of all stakeholders.
It’s sad when an icon takes a fall in this way. That Atari have been forced to sell up is unbelievable when you think of the massive part they’ve played in games history. Their most famous games – Pong, Centipede, Crystal Castles, Asteroids, Missile Command – were incredibly important to the development of an entire industry, and their pioneering consoles led the way in the emerging home gaming market.
Some bad business decisions meant that the company took a tumble in the mid-1980s, and the company was bought and sold by various larger corporations before settling with Infogrames in 2001, becoming Atari S.A. in 2009. Clearly, the Atari name has massive brand recognition, it just doesn’t have the IP to back it up. It’s a difficult situation, and hopefully they’ll find an interested buyer who is willing to make the brand great again.