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.