47 Facts About Atari Inc


Atari, Inc was an American video game developer and home computer company founded in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney.

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Atari Inc was a key player in the formation of the video arcade and video game industry.

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From 1978 through 1982, Atari Inc continued to expand at a great pace and was the leading company in the growing video game industry.

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Atari Inc had ventured into the home computer market with their first 8-bit computers, but their products did not fare as well as their competitors'.

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The once-profitable Atari Inc began a string of quarters of losses throughout 1983, with the company losing more than over 1983.

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Atari Inc watched customers play and helped maintain the machinery, while learning how it worked and developing his understanding of how the game business operates.

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Atari Inc shipped their first commercial Pong unit in November 1972.

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Under legal counsel's advice, Bushnell opted to have Atari Inc settle out of court with Magnavox by June 1976, agreeing to pay in eight installments for a perpetual license for Baer's patents and to share technical information and grant a license to use the technology found in all current Atari Inc products and any new products announced between June 1, 1976, and June 1, 1977.

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Opperman was later hired directly into Atari Inc to establish the company's own art and design division in 1976.

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In mid-1973, Atari Inc acquired Cyan Engineering, a computer engineering firm founded by Steve Mayer and Larry Emmons, following a consulting contract with Atari Inc.

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Atari Inc secretly spawned a "competitor" called Kee Games in September 1973, headed by Bushnell's next door neighbor Joe Keenan, to circumvent pinball distributors' insistence on exclusive distribution deals; both Atari Inc and Kee could market the same game to different distributors, with each getting an "exclusive" deal.

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In 1974, Atari Inc began to see financial struggles and Bushnell was forced to lay off half the staff.

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Gordon further suggested that Atari Inc merge Kee Games into Atari Inc in September 1974, just ahead of the release of Tank in November 1974.

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Tank was a success in the arcade, and Atari Inc was able to reestablish its financial stability by the end of the year.

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Atari Inc struggled to find a distributor for the console but eventually arranged a deal with Sears to make 150, 000 units by the end of 1975 for the holiday season.

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Atari Inc was able to meet Sears' order with additional investments during 1975.

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Atari Inc hired Joe Decuir and Jay Miner to develop the hardware and custom Television Interface Adaptor for this new console.

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Ahead of entering the home console market, Atari Inc recognized they needed additional capital to support this market, and though they had acquired smaller investments through 1975, they needed a larger infusion of funds.

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Instead, after at least six months of negotiations in 1976, Atari Inc took an acquisition offer from Warner Communications for that was completed in November 1976, of which Bushnell received.

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Atari Inc made around 400, 000 Atari VCS units for the 1977 holiday season, most which were sold but the company had lost around due to production problems that caused some units to be delivered late to retailers.

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Atari Inc continued its arcade game line as it built up its consumer division.

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Atari Inc exported a limited number of units to Namco via its prior Atari Inc Japan venture, and led Namco to create its own clone of the game to meet demand in Japan, and helped to establish Namco as a major company in the Japanese video game industry.

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Subsequently, Atari Inc moved to microprocessors for its arcade games such as Cops 'N Robbers, Sprint 2, Tank 8, and Night Driver.

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Around 1976, Atari Inc had been concerned that arcade operators were getting nervous on the prospects of future arcade games, and thus launched their own pinball machines to accompany their arcade games.

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Atari Inc hired in more programmers after releasing the VCS to start a second wave of games for release in 1978.

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Warner's Manny Gerard, who oversaw Atari Inc, brought in Ray Kassar, formerly a vice president at Burlington Industries, to help market Atari Inc's products.

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Kassar's influence on Atari Inc grew throughout 1978, leading to conflict between Bushnell and Warner Communications.

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Kassar had expressed some frustration with the programmers at Atari Inc, and was known to have called them "spoiled brats" and "prima donnas" at times.

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Changes in management style led to rising tensions from the game developers at Atari Inc who had been used to freedom in developing their titles.

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Atari Inc produced over 70, 000 Asteroids cabinets, and made an estimated from sales.

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Atari Inc had promoted the game at the 1981 CES, but following Alcorn's departure in 1981, opted not to follow through on making it and closed down the Electronics division.

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Atari Inc took action against Activision starting 1980, first by trying to tarnish the company's reputation, then by taking legal action accusing the four programmers of stealing trade secrets and violating non-disclosure agreements.

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Atari Inc was able to secure an exclusive deal with Namco to be able to convert Pac-Man to home arcade systems, starting with the Atari Inc VCS version.

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Atari Inc's management believed that the game would be a sure-fire hit in the same manner as Space Invaders.

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However, because of the poor technical implementation, Pac-Man caused consumers to become more cautious on rushing to purchase new games in the future, and tarnished Atari Inc's image given that the company was trying to compete against low-quality third-party titles that were starting to flood the market.

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Atari Inc discovered in 1981 that General Computer Corporation had developed hardware that could be installed onto arcade games to give operators additional options to modify the game, such as their Super Missile Attack board that modified Atari Inc's Missile Command.

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Atari Inc initially filed suit to stop GCC's products but as they learned more about their products, recognized that GCC had talented engineers, as one of their other products, a modification board for Pac-Man was sold back to Midway and eventually became the basis of Ms.

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Atari Inc settled with GCC out of court and brought the company on in a consulting position.

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GCC developed arcade and VCS games for Atari Inc, and programmed most of the games for the upcoming Atari Inc 5200 system.

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Atari Inc launched its second major programmable console, the Atari Inc 5200, in late 1982.

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Atari Inc had more than fifty facilities in the Silicon Valley area.

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Kassar was furious, as Atari Inc owned the rights to publish Donkey Kong for computers, which he accused Nintendo of violating.

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Coleco had legal grounds to challenge the claim though since Atari had only purchased the floppy disk rights to the game, while the Adam version was cartridge-based.

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In 1983, the company set up a partnership with MCA Videogames, a division of MCA Atari Inc to set up a joint venture Studio Games, whereas the venture gave them access to properties handled by MCA's sister studio Universal Pictures.

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Atari Inc discreetly buried more 700, 000 units of its unsold stock in a landfill near Alamogordo, New Mexico in September 1983, though this had become an urban legend that millions of unsold cartridges were buried there.

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In October 1983, Atari created its Atarisoft division, producing software from its own library to work on its rival systems including for computers from Commodore, Apple, Texas Instruments, and IBM, as well as console games for Colecovision.

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The Atari Inc 7800 was later introduced under the Atari Inc Corporation branding in May 1986.

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