Atari today launched a new initiative called "Atari GO" (short for "Atari Games Online"), which is designed to leverage the company's current and future catalog across a number of platforms, including consoles, mobile, social and online gaming.
Joystiq spoke with Atari Executive VP of Online and Mobile Gaming Thom Kozik, who said that the new program aims to use Atari's catalog and partnered indie developers to "not only move Atari more aggressively into providing casual online and social games, but leverage that well of experience and creativity that all of these independent developers have."
Kozik reiterated that Atari has slowly built and acquired a large infrastructure for online and social gaming, and the company is now opening up that infrastructure to both developers interested in creating new Atari titles and online affiliates that can embed and host Atari's games. Through Atari GO, Kozik said he hopes to turn sites that are currently hosting unofficial versions of Atari's oldies into new sources of income. "Take that unofficial version down, replace it with our official version," he suggested, "and you'll be able to share in the revenue."
Kozik revealed that some of the Atari GO games will be tied into the company's core games. For example, a Facebook tie-in game might unlock extra content in the upcoming console racer Test Drive Unlimited 2
. "So we're able to wire together, for a particular player, their virtual goods, their experiences and what they'll be able to share, back and forth," he explained. Additionally, Atari plans to "reinvent" some of its historic games within a social gaming context. Both Asteroids Online
and Deer Hunter Online
are due out by the end of the year and serve as "new reimaginings of those IPs in a socialized context," according to Kozik, "with microtransactions and a broader narrative."