Pong creator Atari files for bankruptcy

U.S. arm of iconic company hopes to "break free" and set up shop as a mobile and digital publisher.

The long-troubled U.S. arm of Pong, Breakout and Asteroids creator Atari has filed a petition for bankruptcy.

Reported by the L.A. Times, Atari Inc. and three affiliates filed petitions for Chapter 11 reorganisation in New York's U.S. Bankruptcy Court late on Sunday. The move is an attempt to break free from its French parent Atari S.A. and refocus the company to make digital and mobile titles, according to an anonymous "knowledgeable" source.

While many of its iconic properties will be instantly recognisable, Atari is not in rude health: its revenue plummeted 34% in fiscal year 2012 and 43% the year before that. The L.A. Times even points out that licensing the famous Atari logo for use in other products now makes for 17% of the company's revenue.

Another problem for the U.S. chunk of the company is "near total reliance" on London financial company BlueBay Asset Management, an arrangement which lapsed on Dec 31 and means the company lacks the funds to release any of its games currently in the works, one of which is the money-gobbling Atari Casino. Last year the company teamed up with Zynga to produce the in-app purchase fueled Breakout spin-off Super Bunny Breakout.

Atari's share price has also tumbled from 11 Euros to less than one Euro since 2008.

Today's Atari bears little similarity to the iconic publisher that shaped the direction of gaming in the 70s and 80s. French publisher Infogrames licensed the Atari name in 2003 and and in 2008 acquired all the gaming pioneer's American assets.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

martingaston

Martin Gaston

Hi! I'm Martin, for some reason or another I have managed to convince the people who run GameSpot that I am actually wor
92 comments
Micropixel
Micropixel

I still hold 4-player Warlords matches on my 2600.

JKjr86
JKjr86

In my opinion, the DBZ Budokai series was their biggest success in the current century. I still play the first three and even that cheap, pissy remake of Budokai 3, Infinite World.

ecurl143
ecurl143

How the mighty have fallen - this is sad but not entirely unexpected news in an industry where you can be top of the pile one year and insolvent the next.

Expect more of the same in the following months I fear.

farcorners
farcorners

they could always release an app of the E.T. game. Maybe not...

fredwv
fredwv

I always liked Intellivision better anyways.

steve4123456789
steve4123456789

How many times have they went bankrupt; they have been bankrupt like a 100 times.

sieg6529
sieg6529

They should have folded years ago.  They could have gone out with some grace, and instead they are shambling into the grave.

BravoOneActual
BravoOneActual

Mine makes it ninety comments about a founding father of gaming as we know it filing for bankruptcy and fighting for relevance, if not it's existence, even if only in name alone.

There are about fourteen hundred for the XBox 720 feature, all discussing the finer points of multi-cores, hyper threading, VRAM, clock speeds and why consoles are terrible & obsolete or PC users are arrogant & preachy.

I guess the world has passed me by.

00J
00J

... yup yup and yup...

Drummer4Life321
Drummer4Life321

They should have stuck to publishing DBZ games. The ones they published were much better than Namco Bandai's bullshit. 

SteveKurlanche
SteveKurlanche

Not surprised one bit to hear this news. How did they expect to survive when all they did in the past 10 years is produce those terrible flashback systems.

SteveKurlanche
SteveKurlanche

Not surprised one bit to hear this news. How did they expect to survive when all they did in the past 10 years is produce those terrible flashback systems.

dr_jashugan
dr_jashugan

Maybe they will come back after they made a remake of E.T. :-P

Ledah
Ledah

Atari died long time ago, I guess, I am happy for someone else to take D&D license and make something good out of it.

KBFloYd
KBFloYd

a shame...they still published a few decent games..

mtait01
mtait01

Atari today is not the Atari that you knew over 20 years ago... it is like comparing Sonic 3 and Knuckles to Sonic ´06

csward
csward

Yay! hopefully the D&D license will go to a better dev, among others.

Yuusha09
Yuusha09

The zombie is dead again!

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

I feel as if this Atari isn't the pong creator, more like a distant cousin, slightly related, but it got the same name and now everyone thinks its the same person.

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

Well this was a long time coming, at least they didn't take 90% of the industry with them this time.

Saketume
Saketume

Ok here it is. Atari died in 1996 when they were sold to JTS Inc.

After that they have lived on in name only. First with JTS as mentioned then sold to Hasbro 1998.

Infogrames 2001.


So what are we mourning here today anyway?

TrueGB
TrueGB

Bankrupt? Again?

starfox15
starfox15

Move to where the money is. I'm surprised they didn't do this sooner. Atari arcade classics are a perfect fit on android and ios and the ip's could be condensed fairly easily if given the appropriate care. 

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

This iteration of Atari has 0% to do with the Atari of the 80s.  So in essence, the US arm of Infograms is filing for bankruptcy - the real Atari died a few decades ago.

craigprime
craigprime

They weren't dead yet? Ah, whatever. Hope they do a better job on the crappy games for non-gamers market.

hobotech64
hobotech64

How many times has Atari died now?

Savior4Life
Savior4Life

Gonna go the way of Square-Enix and defile their name further with PTW and freeware games I see.

digitaltiger
digitaltiger

Actually I though Atari was toast a long time ago, so this is a surprise.

digitaltiger
digitaltiger

I guest Pong hasen't been selling well lately. :)

GGCrew_basic
GGCrew_basic

"Atari is not in rude health" - Surprising use of a British idiom on the US site.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Can Atari rise from the ashes? I would be surprised if they did.

KFHEWUI
KFHEWUI

That's a shame.

I really liked the reimagining of Centipede that WayForward developed, and I wish Atari would get WayForward to develop more new takes on their other arcade/2600 IP's.

nurnberg
nurnberg

Again?!?!  How many times have they gone bankrupt already?

obsequies
obsequies

this isn't even the same Atari that everyone knows anyways..this names been tossed all over the world like a dirty hat :/

blackrunie
blackrunie

i know Atari isn't the innovator it used to be and it hasn't released anything noteworthy, but this still makes me sad, to see the old giant fall; a pillar of gaming falls, but it's place in gaming history is guaranteed.

ScreamDream
ScreamDream

Atari needs a blockbuster. Ghostbusters for the Wii/360/PS3 didn't do it for me. I'd like to see a Road Blasters or something else.

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

BTW,  love the new comment posting features,  Gamespot!   

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

The Atari we once knew (just like Sega) doesn't even exist anymore.   Sad to see some of the pioneers in the industry are nothing more than weak publishers theses days on their death knell.   They only exist in name.

Suaron_x
Suaron_x

I hope this means the Dungeons and Dragons license they hold will have to be given up.  Atari has sat on this license and has done nothing with it for years. 

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

i don't remember seeing an atari published game this gen. hope they fare better in mobile and casual space where most of their old ip's would work

MAD_AI
MAD_AI

Does Atari hold any IP's? they published great games, but I don't think they own any of them.

Killer6b9
Killer6b9

Well I at least he is not getting sued yet for the creation of video games because they are so violent now a days....you all know it is his fault.....that square boxy ball resembles a bomb and if it gets past you.......lmmfo....I feel sorry for the man personally...

berserker66666
berserker66666

Atari had a good run. Also being able to make the first video game (Pong) is respect by it's own. Good luck to you guys.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

Well, they played a major role in the gaming industry, a colosal part I might say, but somewhere they f**ked up really bad. And that's a long time ago. Sad, but not surprising. I'm actually surprised how they managed to stay tall for so long with so many flops.

ilantis
ilantis

I honestly can't remember a decent game that Atari pulled off in recent years. I can only remeber their old games and all the merchandize linked to those

rlv217
rlv217

Not really surprised with this. They have restructured their business model in the past, and there were articles about their troubles dating back years. But, they have released some great games over the past 30+ years, and it always sucks when these companies go under, no matter how poorly ran they was.