Atari’s Shambling, Zombie Corpse Is As soon as Once more In Bother

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The peculiar polygonal Atari X horse stands in front of the fires of doom.

Picture: Atari / Kotaku / Theerasak Tammachuen (Shutterstock)

Is it that point already? Atari, no matter that identify really means, is as soon as once more asserting it’s having a monetary wobble. You could possibly set your watch by how frequently this happens. Who might have thought that launching a console nobody wished, whereas investing in crypto grifts, wasn’t the trail to riches for a flailing firm with nothing up its sleeve however a once-respected model identify?

Atari died in 1984. Ever since, its cursed pores and skin has been loosely and uncomfortably wriggled into by a sequence of firms, every falling to its bedeviled blight, solely freed when it methods one other company into donning the rotting skin-suit. Even the model of the corporate that launched the Atari ST within the mid-80s was the results of monetary collapses, divisions, rebrandings, and part-ownership by many companies. Its historical past of being purchased and offered is bewildering, the identify being variously owned by Namco, Warner, Mitsubishi, JTS Corp, WMS Industries, Hasbro Interactive, and Infogrames. This ship of Theseus has been sinking for many years.

The most recent firm ghoulishly pretending to be Atari is sort of unimaginable to establish, however type of started as a rebranding of Infogrames, virtually getting purchased by Namco Bandai, at one level using a reported whole of 10 folks, earlier than going by means of yet one more chapter, an try at being a on line casino video games firm, and not too long ago, the embarrassing mess that’s the Atari VCS: a console it appears only a few need. After which it found crypto.

The (trendy) VCS was supposed to be this retro love-in, a PC-based console produced by that identify you keep in mind your dad loving within the early ‘80s, styled to seem like it time-traveled from the Reagan years. Raising funds via IndieGoGo, the clearly doomed challenge in some way pulled in over $3 million from backers, though this considerably fell wanting its deranged goal of $100m. It then lastly got here out in 2020, after a number of delays, simply after the PS5 and Xbox Collection X, paling compared to each. In response to financial reports released this week, it’s…not gone too nicely.

The Atari VCS, its old-school joystick, and a more modern controller.

Picture: Atari

As Tom’s Hardware noticed, the half-year earnings present that whereas 2021’s equal {hardware} income was $4.65 million, this yr’s have been solely $212,466. That’s a whopping 92 p.c drop, and the report itself identifies the issue as “underperformance by the VCS.”

Consequently, no matter Atari really is in the mean time says it has devoted the primary half of the monetary yr to the (deep breath) “reorganization of the {Hardware} line of enterprise which incorporates the suspension of direct {hardware} manufacturing relationships, notably almost about the Atari VCS, for which a brand new industrial technique has been carried out as of the top of the calendar yr 2022 and that may proceed in calendar yr 2023.” I hope nobody needed to learn that sentence out loud.

Nevertheless, Atari isn’t abandoning the console no youngster ever wrote to Santa for. The report continues, “In parallel, Atari is contemplating creating new {hardware} complementary to the Atari VCS with companions beneath licensing contracts.” It additionally insisted to Tom’s {Hardware} that “Atari stays dedicated to the VCS platform,” explaining extra assist for builders has been added, extra outdated video games included, and the intention to “develop the VCS ecosystem and create extra utility for customers.”

"Atari X: Building a Web3 Future" is written over an imagined Atari building.

Screenshot: Atari / Kotaku

You realize what else it’s remaining devoted to? Crypto bullshit! The report boldly declares that “the primary half of the interval was primarily centered on laying the inspiration of Atari X which included collaborations and partnerships with Web3 companions in addition to the implementation of NFT gross sales that have been profitable, regardless of unfavorable market situations for blockchain-related actions.”

Is Atari X the identical because the Atari Token, the corporate’s 2020 crypto nonsense? I simply couldn’t care much less, however have nonetheless found it’s not. The corporate launched the Token in partnership with the ICICB Group, a company it’s simply introduced it’s performed with. This week’s report mentions “licensing contracts that by no means materialized” almost about ICICB, saying that every one licensing agreements between the 2 have been “terminated efficient April 18, 2022,” writing off €11m ($11.6m) from its accounting information. The part provides, “Atari introduced its intent to create a brand new token with a concentrate on gaming, neighborhood, and utility.”

When you’re questioning what ICICB is, so am I, and that’s after studying the corporate’s “About” web page. I swear that is actual and never a spoof I wrote:

Based mostly on an general technique for worth creation from group integration and the applying of “choice and focus” assessments to companies in addition to synergy creation from integrating enterprise administration capabilities, and modern instruments & know-how, the ICICB Group demonstrates important development within the banking and monetary sector.

So sure, after the roaring success of Atari Token, Atari “reaffirms its dedication to blockchain enterprise” by launching Atari X as an alternative, including that this additionally proves its “perception that blockchain may very well be an vital factor of Atari’s enterprise and technique.”

“Might be”!

As Eurogamer adds, all this dedication and dedication has resulted in Atari reporting “a liquidity shortfall and extra financing necessities.” In different phrases, it wants more cash. Not surprisingly, given an general lack of €5.4 million ($5.7m), considerably worse than final yr’s lack of €3.5 million ($3.7m).

We’ve reached out to Atari to ask if it’s nonetheless tied up in Atari Token, and why it’s planning to proceed to put money into the VCS after its apparent flop. We additionally requested if its lodge ventures with ICICB are nonetheless going forward following that break up, as a result of, yup, it was constructing resorts. We’ll replace if we hear again.

With a bit of luck, 2023 would be the yr that making an attempt to depend on nostalgia for the video games of 40 years in the past and investing in crypto will lastly repay for Atari!

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