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Atari Gaming walks away from free-to-play games to refocus on console and PC

Atari Gaming is pivoting away from its free-to-play mobile game business to instead refocus on premium games for console and PC, and in turn create more titles for its recently-released Atari VCS console.

Atari Gaming is pivoting away from its free-to-play mobile game business to instead refocus on premium games for console and PC, and in turn create more titles for its recently-released Atari VCS console.

Atari announced the shift this week, noting that it will continue to support any "successful games with a loyal user base" on mobile but that it currently plans to sell off or discontinue at least five games from its current lineup.

"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," reads a statement from Wade J. Rosen, Atari's recently appointed CEO.

The press release provided alongside that statement mentions that RCT Stories, Crystal Castles, Castles & Catapults, Ninja Golf, and Atari Combat: Tank Fury will all be either sold or shut down due to the shift.

With a new focus on premium console and PC games in its sights, Atari aims to hit the ground running. Development on those first titles is currently underway, with the initial few planned to release during the current 2021/22 fiscal year.

”Our intent with any gaming experience is to provide accessible and joyful moments of meaningful play," continues Rosen. "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."

Atari plans to leverage its past, particularly a catalog of 200 proprietary games, to charge back into the premium game space. Much of this push seems angled as a way to bolster the Atari VCS, the PC/console hybrid Atari launched in June, a console that, in Atari's words, is currently ramping up its commercial rollout. However language from the press release suggests Atari is planning to bring these games to other consoles and platforms in addition to its own $299 to $399 game hardware.

The significant refocus also comes with a price. Atari now expects this change and other changes to non-core activities to cause an impairment loss of around 5 million Euros for the financial year ending March 31, 2021. With that additional impact, what Atari once forecasted as a positive year in terms of consolidated net income will now likely dip into the red, but we'll know for sure when those full results are published between now and July 31.

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