Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Atari files for bankruptcy. Another world class brand that ignored digital.

Anybody who grew up in universities in the 1980's, as I did, knows Atari very well, which started in 1972. Between lectures or just not attending them, pool tables and Atari games filled the gap. Asteroids was genius, played on gaming machines that consumed money, never mind Pong.

This was the cool and dominant games company that started gaming. We wore their logo on T-shirts.

The 40 year old company has now filed for bankruptcy in the US - although in part, to draw a distinction from its French parent. The French company bought Atari in 2008 and has seen a 50% share price collapse.

The US company only employing about 40 people, has moved more into digital and mobile gaming and it's seeking protection from creditors. It intends to sell off its assets, its brands, which are so recognisable.

The collapse of Atari is the familiar story of the demise of companies like HMV, all the music brands that let Itunes kill them, Blockbuster, Borders, Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and all the dominant brands who let digital get past them. Brand leaders that just ignored the web.

Thought it was a "bit of a waste of time"...."Can't make money on the web" etc... and all the platitudes of old men that cost thousands of people their jobs. Families ruined by a lack of foresight from middle aged men earning millions.

And they're still around.

Atari could have owned online gaming.
They now could be bigger than Znyga.

Oh ye, of little faith.