Anyone at least in their mid-30’s may have fond memories of the break-out (pun intended) video game manufacturer, Atari. The Japanese electronic gaming company was responsible for the video gaming revolution in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, but was quickly swept to the wayside by bigger and better competitors. While Atari seemed to fall into the impenetrable shadows for the next two decades, the company never disappeared completely and is now re-emerging as a social casino gaming operator with plans for real money mobile and online blackjack games in the near future.
A brief History: Where did Atari go?
By the time Atari’s superior rival, Nintendo, released its first NES console in North America, the former leader was already having financial problems. Unable to keep up with the video gaming industry at that point, Atari switched gears in 1984 and began developing computer gaming systems (Atari ST, Atari XE, Atari Lynx, Jaguar). In 1996, the company merged with JTS Inc, which sold the brand to Hasbro two years later. Infrogames then bought Hasbro Interactive in 2000, eventually rebranding itself Arati, Inc. A few gaming releases, acquisitions and partnerships later, Atari announced that “social casino, real money gambling, and YouTube” were the future of its new corporate strategy.
Having partnered in June with Pariplay, a long-standing interactive games developer with expertise in foxed-odds technology, Atari launched its first social gambling experience last month, called Atari Jackpots. The social casino games were able to hit a global market, as well as the niche market for sentimental fans of the old-school Atari games. The graphics are phenomenally better than the original 2-16 bit imagery of old, but the look and feel of the gameplay is remarkably similar, having been converted to incorporate many of today’s most popular social and gambling amusements like slots, blackjack, video poker, bingo and even solitaire.
One of Atari’s featured games is Asteroids Slots, based on one of the brand’s most popular releases of decades ago. Other popular titles the 35+ age range may recognize include Break Out, Centipede, Crystal Castles, and my personal favorite as a kid, Missile Command. Launched just under a month ago on the Pariplay platform, Atari Jackpot on Facebook hasn’t exactly drawn the masses just yet, judging by the modest number of just 35 “Likes”, but there’s still plenty of time for growth in that market.
Atari has many more plans in the works for the future, including converting its interactive casino games to real-money mobile and online casino gambling. Games like blackjack and bingo are said to be on the horizon in single-player and multi-player versions. Online slots, video poker and solitaire are also on the way for real-money bettors, including a Centipede-branded variation of the classic card game, solitaire.
While the veracity of the Atari company may be relatively uncertain at this point, having entered into one of the gambling industry’s most lucrative genres rather late in the game, one thing is all but guaranteed. The founding father of the video gaming industry is nowhere near throwing in the proverbial towel.