David Gardner, new CEO of Atari parent company Infogrames, has told our sister site GamesIndustry.biz that he intends to move the business into online gaming, setting his sights on business models such as secure server-based gaming and the free-to-play market.
The former Electronic Arts veteran also said the company has a rich portfolio of titles from acquired companies such as Gremlin, GT Interactive, Ocean Software and Accolade - to name a few - that it can call on to reinvent if the market demands it.
"The business and the industry is moving online on a global basis. It's moving at different speeds in different countries, but it's pretty clear to me that the whole way that people are going to want to buy their games, play their games, interface with their games is network-centric," said Gardner in an exclusive interview to be published tomorrow.
"That's where we need to get a lot smarter, a lot quicker, and use this famous brand."
Gardner acknowledged that to be successful online the company must be able to offer multiple games and experiences, and all must offer instant gratification for the consumer.
"Personally I'm in the category of not having to wait for downloads that take hours and hours," he said. "I think that frankly, it's quicker to go into GAME and buy a boxed copy off a shelf."
"For me, the future is in creating very high quality games that are using technology with games playing on a server. Not worrying about configurations and all those performance issues.
"All that stuff should be seamless like a phone service - you pick up the phone and you get a dial tone and that's it. You should be able to go to the computer and get some game time," he added.
Gardner conceded that Atari selling off its IP in the past - such as the racing brands Driver and Stuntman - wasn't a very good business move, but he was confident that the company still has a rich catalogue of titles it can use for future projects.
"I'm a pretty firm believer that the value of the company is built through the properties that it owns.
"The good news is that we have a massive catalogue of properties. We have the DNA of every major company through gaming history - the Ocean, GT Interactive, Gremlin, Accolade factory of products, it's a long genetic history.
"It's not going to be hard to bring well-known properties to market, it's going to be hard to make sure they are relevant and good in today's terms. We're not just going to re-release 1980s classics untouched - that would be a mistake," he offered.
The full interview with David Gardner, where he discusses in detail turnaround plans for Infogrames and the Atari brand, will be published on GamesIndustry.biz tomorrow.