A look at Atari 360°
Atari has become a struggling company in the past few years, nearing bankruptcy in 2013, even after various mergers and acquisitions. Atari SA is still not in the best place but it has relaunched with the Atari Casino, which marked the company’s entrance in the social casino games industry. The platform is being developed alongside FlowPlay studio and promises a first class interactive experience in social casinos. The Atari Casino has stirred up enough interest in gamblers and will probably be launched sometime this Fall.
The social casino project is not the only thing Atari has in mind, though. The new CEO of the company who has agreed to tackle the company’s extensive financial and re-branding issues, Todd Shallbetter, said he wanted to push the company past last year’s revenue by targeting the markets many other companies tend to ignore: gambling enthusiasts and homosexual individuals. He thought right when saying these demographics are being ignored by tech companies, since most online casinos and poker portals for example are of infinitely inferior quality than farming platforms for example, I’d say they still are at the level of Facebook game development, sadly. Pokerstars is the top player so far, in my opinion, when it comes to design and versatility on PC and mobile as well, but FullTilt, Bet360 and the likes are far behind the specs and characteristics Pokerstars has incorporated in its interface. Thus, I would say that, by choosing the casino approach, Atari did hit the spot, it remains to be seen whether Shallbetter will accurately estimate what gambling enthusiasts want from a social casino today.
Shallbetter has declared that Pridefest will be released by December this year, a mobile city-building game which focuses on homosexual, bisexual and transgender – LGBT community, as another attempt at getting back in the saddle by Atari. The fact that they are radically changing their approach to gaming shows not only the signs of desperation in the company, but signs of loyalty and ambition, not wanting to let the once-giant video game company go to waste like so much hardware did in the New Mexico desert.
Measures had to be taken by the company in order to catch up with the tech and stock of the times, and this need for profit shows through its new endeavors, but the targeted audience won’t mind that they are being exploited: exploitation is better than being ignored or excluded altogether. The fact that the LGBT community will have another game that was designed with only their community in mind weighs in on the image Atari is building for itself. Matt Conn, CEO of Midboss, the organizer of the yearly GaymerX convention, said that Pridefest was a step forward for Atari and will reap rewards (at least a little).