Last we heard from Atari, the storied video game maker that’s been floundering for years, it seemed likely that the company was in the process of winding itself down/selling itself of for spare parts.
It still looks that way to us: According to its most recent 10-Q, the company is bleeding red ink, is in default of debt covenants, is running out of assets to sell off, etc. We don’t really understand the end-game here, since there doesn’t seem to be much of a market for a wounded games company that has sold off much of its IP and no longer makes new games of its own.
But Infogrames, the French game company that owns 51% of Atari (ATAR), says it wants to keep it around on life-support. At least that’s what we think based on two interviews with new Infogrames CEO David Gardner. In the first, he says his company’s relationship with its U.S. unit “hasn’t proven to be ideal” but says the company is “moving in the right direction.” And he’s slightly more enthusiastic in the second, where he says Atari shouldn’t have sold off many of its titles for cash, but that the ones it has kept are worth… something:
“The good news is that we have a massive catalogue of properties. We have the DNA of every major company through gaming history – the Ocean, GT Interactive, Gremlin, Accolade factory of products, it’s a long genetic history.”
Anyone understand what’s going on here? We’d love to know — as would Atari’s beleaguered shareholders.