Happy 40 years, Atari
The legendary computer company and Atari video game turns 40 this month, now celebrating its creation in June 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. Set up their offices in Santa Clara, California, and prepared to launch Pong, a game of tennis in two dimensions, the first commercial success in history.
Atari, in large measure, is the first responsible for bringing the game into homes. Prior to Atari, video games but had only been available on mainframes than $ 120,000, and those who played were students who had access to these machines. Bushnell was one of those students at the University of Utah, who started playing a game called “Spacewar!” On a mainframe.
At first, along with Dabney thought to turn Spacewar! In a commercial product using a minicomputer that cost USD $3,995, but then raised the possibility of directly in hardware. Thus, games like Computer Space, Pong, Breakout and others had dedicated hardware for each game (arcade). There were computers running different games.
The first home version of a video game was Pong, released in a smaller console in 1975, sold for U.S. $98.95. A year later came the idea of having a “flexible command” that would run all the games of the company, which led to the creation of “Video Computer System” – better known as the Atari 2600.
It was a great challenge for the company and get funding for it was the cause of conflict. “No one perceived the game as a business, so it was hard to raise money,” Bushnell said in an interview with Time . In 1976, developing the product, Atari was sold to Warner Communications for $ 28 million.
Success and Fall
Although we now have money, things got complicated because Bushnell and Warner did not agree on the direction to take the company. Asked about whether the sale was a mistake, Bushnell said that “Warner made a series of errors that were not good for Atari,” illustrating that “we would make a video game network using telephone lines, but Warner could not understand why people want to play with other people who could not see. If we had done, could have been basically Internet, in private hands. It’s fun to think about being the owner of the Internet, “he said.
In 1978, Bushnell, Atari ended up being fired. And despite not own the Internet, the company was doing well. In 1982, sold 12 million Atari 2600, making USD $ 2,000 million in revenue. In this period also launched the Atari 800, 400 and 5200, and at its best, represented a third of all revenues from Warner. They also appeared games like Centipede, Asteroids, Space Invaders, and more.
However, in 1983 the company collapsed before the crisis of the game in America. The management of Warner did not help, since the divisions of computers, console and Arcade operated independently and did not cooperate with each other. Given the success of Atari, many companies began to engage in gaming, with price wars and fierce competition that brought down the firm. Executives have resigned, the stock price dropped from $ 60 to $ 20, and in Japan a company that had negotiated with Atari to release the Famicom decided to operate on its own: Nintendo.
The parts that remained after the crisis were collected by Jack Tramiel , founder of Commodore. It became Atari Corporation and Atari ST came out here, the XE series, 2600jr, 7800, and Lynx, a handheld color launched in 1989. However, the Nintendo Game Boy far exceeded what (despite being only in black and white).
Tramiel ended up selling the company after failing to make it grow, and the game was taken over by Hasbro. The brand changed hands until in 2000 reached the French company Infogrames.
Today, Atari is a company that publishes video games and is based in Paris. Produces games for PCs, consoles and mobile phones. In practice, nothing remains of the original company founded in 1972, however, is the most similar. In 2010, in fact, Bushnell was invited to join the company directory. “The brand still has strength and not just a retro thing. It has lots of important intellectual property, and many people still think of Atari as a company of innovation, “says Bushnell.
What will come forth to Atari do not know, but to celebrate 40 years of existence of the mark, there were some goodies on the internet, as these 100 games for IOS .
– Atari at 40: Catching Up With founder Nolan Bushnell (TIME)
– Atari’s Greatest Hits (Apple Store)