Some of our older readers might remember playing Pong and Asteroids, amongst other games, on the Atari 2600 back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, Atari has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S., seeking to separate itself from its parent company and obtain independent funding. “Within the next 90 to 120 days, the companies expect to effectuate a sale of all, or substantially all, of their assets,” Atari said in a statement regarding the action.
Its parent company, France-based Atari SA (formerly known as Infogrames Entertainment, SA), has not made a profit since 1999, and significant losses were predicted for 2012-13. “The Chapter 11 process constitutes the most strategic option for Atari’s U.S. operations, as they look to preserve their inherent value and unlock revenue potential unrealized while under the control of Atari SA,” according to today’s statement. “During this period, the company expects to conduct its normal business operations.”
Atari owns or manages over 200 brands, some that have been present in the gaming world for several decades. Along with Pong and Asteroids, some of the other most popular games Atari owns or manages include Centipede, Missile Command and RollerCoaster Tycoon, all of which can be played online, on mobile devices or on consoles. Atari owes US$10 million to US$50 million to at least 200 creditors and possibly as many as 999 creditors. It reported assets of only US$1 million to US$10 million.
Atari was founded in 1972, establishing the home console market, but eventually exited the market in 1996 after the Atari Jaguar failed to catch on with consumers despite its massive marketing campaign and partnership with IBM. The Jaguar was the last home console made by an American company until Microsoft released the Xbox in 2002.