Atari steps back from mobile games to focus on ‘premium’ PC and console titles

As part of its latest turnaround strategy, Atari is shifting its focus away from free-to-play mobile games to PC and console titles. In a statement released on Monday, the company said its board of directors had approved the new plan on July 1st after conducting an in-depth review of the Atari Gaming division’s “assets and opportunities.” 

The reorientation comes less than a month after the release of the oft-delayed Atari VCS console, which acts as both a retro gaming machine and PC. Atari said it would reach into its its portfolio of 200 games and franchises — think Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command and Pong — to create new content for the VCS and other platforms. The first new releases are expected to arrive in the current fiscal year, which ends March 31st, 2022. 

At the same time, the reinvention spells trouble for some of its mobile games, several of which it plans to shutdown or sell off. Impacted titles include Roller Coaster Tycoon Stories, Crystal Castles, Castles & Catapults, Ninja Golf and Atari Combat: Tank Fury. Despite decrying the competitive nature of the free-to-play gaming market, the company isn’t giving up on those titles it deems successful. More broadly, it’s taking a more shrewd approach to free-to-play fare after diving into mobile games, along with MMOs, in conjunction with its turnaround plan in 2015. 

In addition, the company is also exiting its online Atari Casino in Africa — a social gambling play that included retro gaming-themed slots, poker and blackjack — and writing down its TV show assets with a renewed focus on licensing agreements.

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