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Atari returns as production company for digital games, online gambling and more

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Atari Interactive is changing its business focus from being a developer and publisher of video games: It is now an "interactive entertainment production company," with a focus on digital games, online gambling, licensing and more, the company announced today.

Freshly emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Atari will continue extending the franchises it still has left — classic arcade titles including Asteroids, Centipede and Pong — to digital platforms such as mobile devices and PCs, as opposed to consoles. Earlier this year, the company brought back the RollerCoaster Tycoon series with RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile on iOS; Android and Windows PC versions are set for release later this year. And a new Asteroids game is coming to mobile and digital platforms "in the coming months," according to a press release from Atari.

In addition to reviving old-school brands, Atari will produce real-money gambling titles for online casinos. This past March, the company unveiled a partnership with FlowPlay to deliver Atari Casino, a suite of games that can be played for virtual currency. And in April, Atari announced a collaboration with Pariplay, which is part of a joint venture with Majesco Entertainment, to bring Atari's classic gaming franchises to the real-money online gambling space.

Another part of Atari's new strategy is to "aim at capitalizing on other rapidly growing markets and reaching out to new audiences." That includes YouTube users, who will see "exclusive video content," and LGBT individuals, although it's unclear what that specifically means. And Atari will keep licensing out its brands for hardware, such as gamified hardware and wearable devices.

"Atari is more than a game publishing company; it's an iconic brand that has established a passionate and timeless culture," said Atari CEO Fred Chesnais. "We are leading a rebuilding exercise in a highly volatile industry, so at the same time we are also aware of the challenges that lay ahead."

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