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ATARI FORMS ATARI INTERACTIVE TO DEVELOP MULTI-PLATFORM GAMES

LAS VEGAS Jan. 2, 1996 Atari Corp., founder of America's video game industry, has broadened its business with the formation of Atari Interactive, a new division dedicated to the development and distribution of multi-platform interactive entertainment.

Ted Hoff, president, Atari USA, formally announced the company's new division this week.

"With the formation of Atari Interactive, we are creating a new division to address the worldwide PC market," Hoff stated, adding, "Atari Interactive will allow consumers to receive our entertainment products on a variety of formats, from existing platforms and consoles such as our own Jaguar system, to PC, Mac, the Internet and Web sites."

Over the past 25 years, Atari's creativity and vision have led to the development of exciting and successful games such as "Tempest," "Missile Command" and "Crystal Castles." Now, the company will continue its tradition of innovation, combined with its concern for meeting consumer needs, by developing entertaining, multi-platform software.

Atari Interactive software will feature Atari's classic arcade-style games updated to play on a number of gaming environments. Interactive software enthusiasts will be able to enjoy enhanced Atari classics such as "Tempest 2000," "Missile Command 3D" and "Return to Crystal Castles."

In addition, they can experience the robust, rich environments of Atari Interactive's new games, like the "Interactive Rocky Horror Show" and "Virtual War." Atari Interactive's games will be available to preview through the Atari Web site on the Internet (address: http://www.atari.com).

Four CD-ROM titles under the Atari Interactive name will be available in the first quarter. These premier entertainment software titles are:

"Tempest 2000": An American video game classic first developed by Atari in 1981 as an arcade game. The CD title features elaborate and enhanced 3-D graphics and animation, as well as a CD-quality techno-rave soundtrack. "Highlander": A new action-adventure CD-ROM title that allows players to become Quentin MacLeod, the last immortal, known as "The Highlander." As Quentin MacLeod, players encounter challenging and complex puzzles in their quest to defeat the evil Kortan.

"Baldies": As rulers of a fictitious world populated by builders, workers, soldiers and scientists (who are bald, of course), players must determine how best to employ their resources to safeguard their world while at the same time eliminate the enemy. "Baldies" has network capability, which allows up to four players to enjoy the game at once, delivering four times the fun!

"FlipOut!": Players maneuver their way through 14 different areas of The Cheese Planet while trying to solve increasingly difficult puzzles (levels range from Normal to Psychotic). Whether they are in Mt. Rushmore or the Sphorkle Diner, players need to keep an eye out for mischievous aliens who'll trip them up just for the fun of it.

The introduction of these games is only the beginning for Atari Interactive.

Additional titles currently under development will be available throughout 1996.

In discussing Atari Interactive's games, Hoff explained: "The introductory titles by Atari Interactive are designed to appeal to long-time fans of classic arcade games who want a different, or perhaps new medium in which to play those games, as well as novice players eager to test-drive this entertainment form on their PC.

"By offering game enthusiasts more access options to superior products, we have enhanced their opportunity for convenient, exciting and challenging entertainment."

Atari creates new software division

Article - (San Jose Mercury News)

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (Jan 2, 1996 - 18:11 EST)

Atari Corp., moving to diversify beyond a floundering video-game system called Jaguar, is starting a new business to deploy games for personal computers. In launching the business under a new division called Atari Interactive, the video-game pioneer said it will draw heavily on its library of 1980s-vintage video games such as Asteroids and Pac-Man.

Atari said it will update those games with three dimensional graphics and stereo sound to run on the latest generation of high-powered PCs. Atari launched the U.S. video game industry in about 1980, but lost the market to competitors such as Nintendo Co. and Sega Enterprises Ltd. "We have a 25-year library of video game titles and we want to put some of those games on the PC," Ted Hoff, president of Atari's North American operations, said in an interview.

The PC foray comes as Atari's advanced Jaguar player struggles against competing players by Nintendo, Sega, Sony Corp. and 3DO Co. Hobbled by a dearth of support from independent software developers, only about 200,000 of the Jaguars have been sold worldwide since the machine was launched in 1993.

By contrast, analysts estimate Sony sold about 500,000 of its new PlayStation machines since their launch in the United States last September. A recent report by Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co., a market research firm in New York, concludes that "Jaguar's prospects for success are quite bleak." Hoff said Atari continues to stand by Jaguar and added the player should benefit by a recent price cut to $99 from $149, as well as an expanded number of games to about 50 from four at the machine's launch.

By the end of the first quarter, Hoff said about 16 more Jaguar games will be out. Atari's real prospect for growth, Hoff added, is in producing games for PCs, which now reside in more than 10 million U.S. homes.

Of the first four PC games being released during the current quarter, Hoff said one is a remake of the old Atari game Tempest. The other three, Highlander, Baldies and FlipOut!, are new titles. A total of 17 PC games will be shipped this year, Hoff said. Atari plans PC games soon based on other of its old games, including Missile Command and Crystal Castles. Updated versions of Asteroids, Pac Man and Centipede will be available next year.

AEX Note: As part of the PR campaign for the new division, Atari Interactive promoted the PC Version of Tempest 2000 by offering a great playable demo on the front of various PC magazines, including Computer Shopper...

Click on the disk to download the demo (Zipped - 495Kb)

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