Eurogamer.net

Atari turns to the community

New online initiative revealed.

Atari has revealed to Eurogamer it is working on a new online initiative that aims to "spawn" a creative global gaming community.

It's been in development for roughly a year and will provide PC users with a hub to generate and share smaller, casual games.

"We are seeing a new generation of game experiences emerging that leverages community, user generated content and casual or short session games," Chris Bergstresser, senior VP of online entertainment at Atari, told Eurogamer. "Atari Online is centrally positioned in this evolution."

It's a familiar concept, one we've seen spring to life recently in PS3 Home and LittleBigPlanet. However, Bergstresser insists it's a completely fresh and unique service, one that he believes can be viewed as Atari going back to its roots.

"That's a flattering comparison, but Atari Online is a completely different product and offering," said Bergstresser. "In the early days of Atari, the company encouraged 2600 fans to build their own games; to this day, that community still exists."

"So in a sense, this initiative can be viewed as going back to our roots while simultaneously moving forward and establishing a modern legacy for the company."

Atari will be working both in and out of house to develop this new service for a range of operating systems and configurations, which will eventually allow us to have enough freedom to create a variety of experiences with the tools.

Bergstresser was clearly holding some of the specifics back for announcement at a later date, but his enthusiasm for the new service was infectious.

Atari Online will be introduced into the US first, and elsewhere in the world at a later date. It's a bold move by the company and we'll be watching it every step of the way.

"Atari has always been about innovation and entrepreneurship," Bergstresser concluded. "We believe what Atari Online will accomplish will have global appeal."

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