Atari, which was founded in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell, has seen its share of financial ups and downs during the past 41 years. The brand reached successful heights in the 1970s and 1980s with the development of the Atari 2600 in 1977 and the Atari 5200 SuperSystem in 1982. As other video game systems hit store shelves and the market became more competitive, the company focused less on games and consoles and became more of a holder for its properties. By the mid-1990s, Atari was no longer a household name.
The brand filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2013 in an attempt to detach from its parent company. Atari then tried to sell its intellectual-property rights – which included a library of over 200 games. The assets were originally priced at $22.2 million. However, The Wall Street Journal reported that only 15 preliminary bids were made and none were considered “acceptable” to the brand, which ended up selling its IPs separately.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Judge James Peck made the decision yesterday to approve the plan, which was supported by the brand’s unsecured creditors, whom are owed a total of $10.3 million. Peck, whose office is located in lower Manhattan, called the case a “difficult” one.
The corporation will be asked to return the entire $3.8 million owed to lender Alden Global Capital, a midtown-based privately-owned hedge fund sponser in NYC. Atari will then use its remaining funds to pay $560,000 per year for the next two years to its lenders. During the third year, Atari will pay off the remaining amount of $630,000.
Atari will always remain a nostalgic source of entertainment for gamers born in the 1970s and 1980s. The brand was responsible for classic titles like "Pitfall," "Millipede," "Pac-man" and "Joust." Will the company be able to reinvent itself? What was your favorite Atari game?