Atari acquires AtariAge
AtariAge, an online community and store for retro gaming enthusiasts, has been acquired by Atari.
The founder of AtariAge, Al Yarusso, has also become a full-time employee of Atari. The move is seen as a way for Atari to expand its retro-related intellectual property and hardware and software offerings. Yarusso will continue to run the AtariAge website, including the forums and store, and will also be working on updating the games database and releasing new games. The acquisition opens up new opportunities for homebrew developers, as original games created by the AtariAge community will have a broader audience.
The AtariAge Store will continue to offer physical copies of homebrew games with beautiful packaging. Yarusso reassures the community that nothing will change in the short term and that Atari will not have access to personal conversations or remove any content from the forums.
I see it as an interesting turn of events, but also with a little bit of mixed feelings. On one hand it can be seen as the work done around 8-bit legacy (most notably publishing new games for them) is not as niche as it seems, on the other – it’s the publisher/seller (and not always the authors) that gets the most out of it, and it’s built around the same thing as remaking 80s movie hits – appealing to nostalgia in a particular generation in order to, well, maximize profit. Everyone tries to do it, of course, but there are companies that shouldn’t have to, and they also used to be the innovators. What do you think?