How Atari is leveraging 50 years of nostalgia | Wade Rosen interview

Wade Rosen needs Atari to reach support support as one amongst the most precious gaming manufacturers. After all, there aren’t many 50-year-former sport firms.

Perfect year, the company started marking its anniversary with a bunch of traditional video games, and this might per chance doubtless get more because the modern Atari 2600 console video games all originate up turning 50. On top of that, the company has been making video games and doing licensing deals to salvage the label in entrance of latest audiences.

For a puny company with magnificent 30 folks, that’s somewhat about a work, Rosen mentioned in an interview at the Dice Summit. Rosen took over as CEO in April 2021, after outdated CEO Fred Chesnais moved on after taking Atarin into the cell video games market and blockchain. The corporate only these days launched the initiating of a brand fresh and improved MobyGames web pages, constructed from the bottom up.

Atari additionally partnered with Utomik to put up video games love RollerCoaster Prosperous individual 2: Triple Thrill Pack, Pong Quest, and Asteroids: Recharged on the cloud gaming service.


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And Atari handled the area start of Jeff Minter’s frenzied tube shooter sport Akka Arrh on the PC and consoles. Minter is a legendary arcade sport vogue designer who gave us classics love Tempest.

Right here’s an edited transcript of our interview.

Wade Rosen is the CEO of Atari.

GamesBeat: It appears to be like love a noteworthy year. You’ve got Atari’s Fiftieth anniversary. When did the overall occasion originate up?

Wade Rosen: It started at the starting of last year, however the jam was once that when I came on board, we didn’t get a gargantuan quantity of divulge. We needed to originate up by rebuilding the divulge. I explain the occasion in earnest started within the 2nd half of of the year, and it continues these days. We’re level-headed doing issues to celebrate the 50 years of Atari. The grand section is, within the approaching years there shall be 50-year anniversaries for somewhat about a important video games and milestones. The total arcade video games first, and then in a roundabout plan Chase and Yar’s and the overall 2600 titles shall be aware within the support of. It’s good. We’d esteem to manufacture a rolling anniversary of Atari.

GamesBeat: Is there anything else in particular that stands out to you as one thing that it’s seemingly you will get to pour improvement sources into for the anniversary?

Rosen: Atari 50 was once our noteworthy carrying out. Nonetheless the excellent thing about that carrying out is—the response has been so universally obvious. It’s one thing the group truly loves. We doubtlessly desire to manufacture more with 50. We mediate there’s more that can even be performed there, more that can even be constructed upon. As sizable of a bunch as that is, it’s truly magnificent the tip of the iceberg by formulation of the history of Atari. We’re persevering with to assemble that and flesh that out. After which having a uncover about at no topic titles get one thing discovering the bend, attempting to to find unprecedented and bright programs to strengthen that. Once in a whereas that’s software. Once in a whereas that is liable to be hardware. Once in a whereas it’s a combination of those.

GamesBeat: How many persons are at Atari now?

Rosen: We repeatedly joke that it’s a 50-year startup. It’s level-headed pretty puny. There are about 30 of us. Nonetheless we additionally command handiest outsourced improvement, so it’s doubtlessly a chunk bigger than that. The 30 is magnificent the core group. Then we get somewhat about a our outsourced improvement that we work with across a preference of sizable firms. It’s very grand a scrappy, nimble company. The grand section about that is all of us salvage to salvage up every day and get the chance to push issues forward. All people can get a tangible distinction in an organization of that dimension.

GamesBeat: Are your remakes level-headed in progress? The place aside you’re making command of the ragged IP.

Rosen: The Recharged titles? We roughly run down two paths. We select to get the whole lot we manufacture get that core ingredient of straightforward to be taught, complex to grasp. We magnificent had a release earlier this week, Akka Arrh, which is a sport from Jeff Minter in line with a famously unreleased Atari arcade sport. That’s a sizable instance of a extremely frigid, innovative, intelligent title. It’s seemingly you’ll per chance per chance put it to use up and you’ll salvage it forward of too prolonged. Nonetheless as you’re having fun with it the mastery comes slowly. There’s no talent gating to it. It’s seemingly you’ll per chance per chance put it to use up and can get to that it’s seemingly you will get the talent, it’s seemingly you’ll per chance manufacture amazing issues from jump. Nonetheless it’s truly building that up.

That’s one thing we’ve found is deeply good. After which additionally finding programs to give a universal myth for the overall Atari video games. Or I shouldn’t pronounce a universal myth, but finding programs to loop them together. Even can get to you’re having fun with video games that are historically myth-light, having Centipede expose to Missile Divulge and Missile Divulge expose to Asteroids, that’s one thing we’ll manufacture more of within the approaching years too. Pulling all of it together into one bigger Atari universe.

Atari Centipede Recharged
Atari Centipede Recharged

GamesBeat: Is there anything else that you just’d pronounce you’re making your glorious bet on? One thing you’re doubling down on? Below Fred the company looked to be entering into many directions. More firms loyal now seem to be specializing in fewer issues.

Rosen: Factual, focusing in preference to spreading to somewhat about a issues. The question we on the overall quiz ourselves is, “What is going to we truly feel we can manufacture better than anybody else?” Depending on what you explore at, that changes. For software, it’s that uncomplicated to be taught, complex to grasp, holistic Atari universe—those are unprecedented issues that we mediate we can form out. For hardware we mediate that there’s a sturdy stutter we can sever out in retro gaming. That’s an underserved market from a hardware standpoint. With licensing and what we manufacture in pop custom, there’s somewhat about a opportunity to steal with fans in a bunch of latest and bright programs.

In terms of what we desire to accommodate, I mediate it’s miles—we’re having a uncover about at one of the most sizable video games we can assign out that might per chance amplify, that utilize what folks esteem and grow it. If you happen to explore at the franchises that tumble under that, there’s the noteworthy ones love Asteroids, Missile Divulge, Centipede, Breakout. Nonetheless there’s additionally Rollercoaster Prosperous individual, which is one thing somewhat about a folks esteem. It’s strategy and dear to our hearts. We’ll doubtlessly be specializing in some pretty frigid, innovative programs to explore at those collection.

GamesBeat: On the licensing aspect, is there anything else that’s specifically spicy or seeing more middle of attention as effectively? Things love the hotel licensing or varied styles of licensing opportunities. What’s level-headed obtainable for you?

Rosen: I mediate the glorious licensing opportunity that we haven’t pursued—we manufacture get somewhat about a latest licensing initiatives that we’re working on, but doubtlessly the glorious is round media. Film, tv, animation, documentaries, sport reveals, all of those issues. We magnificent launched a partnership with APA. They’ll be representing us in both scripted and non-scripted. Having a uncover about at opportunities in that location is doubtlessly the glorious piece of the licensing puzzle that we haven’t assign in yet. They’ve been amazing.

GamesBeat: Are one of the most outdated licensing initiatives love the accommodations going forward?

Rosen: There’s level-headed a accommodations license that’s active. The initiatives are level-headed being pursued there. The group is primarily primarily based totally out of Phoenix. They’re amazing. They preserve me updated on what they’re doing. Fingers crossed on that. I truly get to defer to them on the place aside they’re with their plans, but I manufacture hope that one thing gets launched with that. It’s frigid.

Jeff Minter’s latest title Akka Arrh on the PC.

GamesBeat: And the blockchain stuff is level-headed an totally separate company?

Rosen: We manufacture get blockchain initiatives. One of the significant former initiatives don’t seem to be any longer section of Atari. They’re totally separate, fully aside from what we manufacture. A form of what we manufacture now in web3 is centered on neighborhood-building and initiatives that enable folks to steal and manufacture stress-free issues together. What that industry is intriguing far flung from very hasty is anything else that felt—it’s intriguing toward more of a collaborative, neighborhood-driven, procedure-driven industry. Much less of a financially-driven initiative. It has to in mutter for it to outlive. More utility, more fleshed-out initiatives, deeper initiatives.

Gaming is one section of that. Nonetheless I mediate the place aside we’ve seen the glorious enhance, and the place aside we’re doing somewhat about a issues, is magnificent in programs to enable folks to get interplay as a neighborhood. Fundamentally it feels love web2. To the user it truly doesn’t truly feel any varied than web2. The deeper section is more in regards to the companions it’s seemingly you’ll per chance integrate with. Web3 lets in for somewhat about a spicy integrations with the larger neighborhood of companions. That’s doubtlessly the glorious shift I gaze. It’s a shift from web3 being very centered on, “Howdy, right here’s the overall issues that customers would desire,” to, “This lets in us to integrate in a meaningful formulation with our companions. Let’s get it truly feel as straightforward and uncomplicated and user-friendly to folks as we can.” Factual now that’s on the overall a web2 experience for the customer.

GamesBeat: Raise out that it’s seemingly you will get more contact this model day with Nolan Bushnell?

Rosen: Yeah, definitely. I gaze Nolan pretty normally. He’s a strategic consultant at Atari now too. He was once within the stutter of business. We get been doing our all-fingers about a weeks ago and he swung by for that. We salvage to work with and get interplay with Nolan. He’s a sizable guy. Anybody who meets Nolan, they repeatedly creep away deeply impressed and impressed with how staunch and concerned he is.

GamesBeat: There was once a partnership with one amongst his sons too, loyal?

Rosen: Yeah, Tyler Bushnell, with Polycade. That’s persevering with. That’s an instance of a extremely frigid web3-primarily primarily based totally carrying out. There’s a extremely sturdy, tangible, physical presence. The web3 piece is magnificent additional functionality that people can command and steal with within the occasion that they need, but they don’t get to. Tyler’s performed a real job of showing what a brand fresh form of web3 utility looks love.

Polycade's arcade machine can hang on a wall. Right here's a obvious Polycade Limiteds dusky model.
Polycade’s arcade machine can hang on a wall. Right here’s a obvious Polycade Limiteds dusky model.

GamesBeat: Is the board in loads of programs varied than it normal to be?

Rosen: The board has been moderately consistent. We had one swap this past year, when Jessica joined. Nonetheless the board is sizable. They’re deeply the turnaround of Atari, the renaissance myth there. They’re an awesome board. I’m lucky to get them.

GamesBeat: Raise out that it’s seemingly you will get more video games coming this year than in outdated years?

Rosen: Yeah, yeah. We’ve been increasing the amount of video games yearly somewhat a chunk. The first year, because we get been magnificent striking most of our video games in improvement, we handiest had a pair that we get been ready to salvage out. Perfect year I mediate we carried out with seven. We’re taking pictures for 11 this year. Some are smaller titles, love the Recharged line, which are truly for the fans, obvious remasters of sizable video games. There are a pair of surprises within the Recharged line, too. About a deep cuts and some fan favorites that aren’t necessarily concept to be Atari, but are now wrapping in. These shall be frigid surprises. Now we get some bigger video games as effectively, across the overall spectrum. I mediate folks can ask to explore some pretty frigid divulge from us that’s no longer magnificent on consoles. We’re doing a puny bit innovative stuff on the game aspect.

One thing that people can dwell up for is Atari doing issues as a more unified label going forward. Whether or no longer they’re interacting with us on the software aspect or on the hardware aspect or they’re magnificent shopping for a T-shirt from, truly any of the initiatives we’re doing, we desire it to truly feel to find it irresistible comes from a single Atari. Now not that these are magnificent initiatives we determined to manufacture because they get been opportunistic in nature, but that they get been strategic and section of a bigger imaginative and prescient for the company.

Atari is are residing on the Utomik cloud gaming service.

The one who’s laborious to listing, but that we manufacture truly feel goes to originate up this year, is pulling the whole lot together and allowing it to are residing under a single banner, a “one Atari” form of program. That’s one thing for people to remain up for, specifically deep Atari fans. These are the styles of issues that they’re soliciting for. We desire to give that for them. Deeper neighborhood engagement overall. For Atari it magnificent comes support to that. With any of these lasting manufacturers, it’s about how you steal with the neighborhood. It’s no longer as headline-catching as a brand fresh sport release, but it no doubt’s one thing we assign somewhat about a time and vitality into. We work on it every day.

The more than just a few thing could be some fresh hardware initiatives we’ll be announcing later within the year. A form of goes to be associated to the VCS. As we looked at the VCS to give more utility, one amongst the programs that we mediate that can even be performed effectively is to amplify the hardware capabilities of the VCS. It’s a gorgeous frigid hardware initiative that I mediate is unprecedented for the industry. It’s seemingly you’ll per chance per chance ask that, moreover to quite loads of others we’ll be working on and introducing with companions.

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