Atari has gone through something of a transformation over the past year, with executives at the company, including Phil Harrison and David Gardner, repeatedly emphasising the importance of online and social games to the company. Today, Atari finally cemented its plans around its future business strategy, as well as its distribution partnerships.
The cornerstone of the company's plan is to bring online games to retail. It will be bringing Telltale Games' Sam & Max: Season 2 to the Wii in physical form early next year. Publishing duties for the twosome's Wii adventures were previously handled in the region by JoWood, with Dreamcatcher and The Adventure Company doing the honours in the US when Season One was released earlier this year. Atari also confirmed a release date for its boxed compilation for the sci-fi massively multiplayer online game Eve Online, which will arrive in shops on March 12, 2009, to coincide with the release of the game’s next expansion.
The company has also inked a deal with Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Q! Entertainment to bring Rez HD, Lumines Live, and Every Extend Extra Extreme from Xbox Live into stores on the Xbox 360. The games, previously only available online, will be featured in a retail package called Q3 (pronounced "cubed") that will combine all games and their expansion packs for €30 (£26, $38) and that will be available sometime next year. Mizuguchi also announced a partnership between Q and Atari for a new Wii music game with the working title QJ, although no release date or further details were given by either company about the new project.
Finally, Atari confirmed that it has renewed its distribution deal with Namco Bandai. The two companies have formed a new firm for PAL and Asian territories, with Namco taking a 34 percent controlling stake. Atari will continue to distribute the Japanese publisher's games in Europe for now. Family Ski, Afro Samurai, and Tekken 6 are all coming through Atari to gamers in the region during 2009.
For previews of Atari's upcoming games, stay tuned to GameSpot over the coming days.