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Atari Goes to Hasbro

JTS Corp. sells off its Atari assets to Hasbro - and we have an idea what Hasbro is up to.


When Atari merged with JTS Corporation, maker of disk drives and other computer-related peripherals, everyone thought is was the end of Atari as we knew it. However, a document filed with the SEC on March 9 states that JTS has sold all of its Atari assets to Hasbro Interactive for US$5 million. An interesting sideshow to this is the fact that Hasbro recently bought Tiger for $335 million.

The SEC document relating to the sale reads as follows:

"On February 23, 1998, JTS Corporation (the "Company") sold substantially all of the assets of the Company's Atari Division, consisting primarily of Atari home computer games and the intellectual property rights and license agreements associated with such games (the "Atari Assets"), to HIACXI, Corp. ("HIAC"), a wholly owned subsidiary of Hasbro Interactive, Inc., for $5,000,000 in cash. The purchase price was determined based upon arm's-length negotiations between the Company and HIAC."

Hasbro Interactive and JTS Corp. could not be reached for comment at press time.

This news presents a number of plausible scenarios, all pointing to the likely reappearance of Atari's home gaming legacy. With the success of Hasbro Interactive's Frogger title on the PlayStation, revamping classic games may be something Hasbro wants to pursue. What better way than to buy the licenses to all of Atari's previous home games? (A new "adventure" perhaps?)

In fact, information in the document filed with the SEC hints at this possibility, naming items that are specifically sold to Hasbro as "Key Marks," including: "Atari, the Fuji logo, Asteroids, Battlezone, Breakout, Centipede, Combat, Crystal Castles, Millipede, Missile Command, Night Driver, Pong, Ultra Pong, Tempest, Warlords, and Yar's Revenge."

Another scenario might be that after Hasbro's purchase of Tiger, it is looking to expand the library to include Atari classics, or, better yet, use Atari technologies and patents in a new incarnation of the system.

Yet another possibility is that Hasbro, longing to enter the home console business itself after several failed attempts with a VCR video game machine (the Nemo, which Night Trap was developed for) and virtual reality, will use the weight of Atari's brand name to try this course yet again.

When GameSpot News knows the real reason behind Hasbro's purchase, we'll let you know.

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