Aug 17, 2021 - Technology

Atari reports losses, 45% decline in licensing revenue


An Atari video game console and joystick. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The newest version of legendary gaming company Atari is in the red for the year, reporting a loss of €5.2 million ($6 million) for the past year.

Why it matters: The current Atari announced an eyebrow-raising restructuring this spring, and signs of success are still a long way off.

  • The company says its drop in annual revenues came in part from a 45% decline in licensing revenue blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a “slowdown in the video game division.”

Between the lines: As of April, Atari said it’s focusing on two approaches: a gaming division and a division to sell Atari goods via blockchain.

  • On the gaming front, it now sells a new version of the Atari VCS system, is planning an early 2022 release of a new version of the classic Atari game “Food Fight” and says it will release more of its classics on major game consoles.
  • Its blockchain business involves support for an Atari Token cryptocurrency and the sale of NFTs, which it says have grossed $1 million.
  • Defending the Atari trademark is its own viable revenue stream, netting the company $2.8 million in cash settlements over the past three years, the company notes.

The Atari that is doing all this is a distant relation from the classic American company of the 1970s and '80s that produced “Pong,” “Asteroids” and “Missile Command.”

  • Numerous buyouts, bankruptcies and brand handovers have led to the current Atari, headquartered in France.
  • Restructurings and revival attempts are common for a brand still known for its increasingly distant past.

What’s next: Atari turns 50 next year.

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