Atari moves away from free-to-play and mobile to focus on premium PC and console games

Atari’s gaming division has announced a significant re-jig of its strategy, moving away from free-to-play and mobile games in favour of premium PC and console games.

Five of Atari’s free-to-play games will be discontinued or sold, it said. These are RollerCoaster Tycoon Stories, Crystal Castles, Castles & Catapults, Ninja Golf, and Atari Combat: Tank Fury.

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“Successful” games with a “loyal user base” are not affected, Atari insisted.

The company said it intends to use its catalog of 200 games to “build a strong pipeline” of premium games on all platforms. The first of these are currently in development.

The news comes hot on the heels of Atari’s launch of its VCS console. Atari said its new strategy will benefit the VCS in the long-term.

Atari is also ditching its Atari Casino business in Africa. As for its TV show business, Atari said its new focus is on licensing agreements, and not on shows it produces itself. Atari said this significant refocus means a write-off of around five million euros for the financial year.

“Our intent with any gaming experience is to provide accessible and joyful moments of meaningful play,” CEO Wade J. Rosen said in a statement.

“That’s the core of Atari and what binds our history with our future. To that end, we feel that premium gaming is better representative of this type of gaming experience and the Atari DNA.

“Despite this new focus on premium gaming, we remain committed to growing and expanding our successful free-to-play games that we have in the market.”

The Atari of today is not the Atari of old, of course. While it retains ownership over the likes of Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command and Pong, its focus in recent years was on mobile phones and licensing. It will be interesting to see what Atari’s first new premium PC and console game turns out to be.

Meanwhile, Atari also has a division focused on blockchain, which is developing the Atari Token cryptocurrency to use in Atari products and third-party apps. Yes, NFTs are being looked into.