In 1972 Atari was both founded by Nolan Bushnell and produced PONG, the arcade video game that established the industry. Since then, the Atari brand has bounced around more than the ball from its first game.
The latest iteration of the company was established in 2001, when Infrogrames Entertainment from France picked up the remains of Atari from the Hasbro bankruptcy proceedings, with the parent company eventually changing its name to Atari S.A. in 2009, the initials after the company name standing for “Societe Anonym”, the French equivalent of Ltd..
The new entity had some success with titles such as Rollercoaster Tycoon, some disasters with games like the remake of Alone In the Dark, and accrued a massive amount of debt in a seemingly endless series of acquisitions. In recent days, the U.S. division of Atari found its stride by abandoning the retail sector and concentrating on the hugely profitable, digitally distributed casual and mobile game markets. Therein lies the crux of this latest filing: detaching itself from the drowning-in-debt French holding company, and striking out on its own with renewed investment capital in order to exploit the new freemium gaming economy.
Expect Atari to bounce back.
For more information on the beginnings of the company that started it all, consult your local Dot Eaters article.