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    Atari Is Not Forgotten, Stay Tuned
Infogrames developing publishing strategy for Atari brand,
new games expected for this holiday season.
                          By Brian C. Rittmeyer

What is it that makes an  Atari  game an "Atari" game? What  should  Atari, the
grandfather of today's home video game industry, be in the 21st Century? That's
what Infogrames, the new owner of the  legendary video  game name, is trying to
figure out.

Infogrames, which acquired Atari in its 100 million dollars purchase of Hasbro
Interactive in a deal finalized  in January, expects to  complete a publishing
strategy for Atari within 30 to 60 days and release games under the brand this
holiday season, Paul  Rinde, senior vice  president of  Infogrames, Inc., said
June 15.

"There's a lot of exciting new opportunities out there both for the traditional
franchises as well as some  new franchises  we can put  under the brand," Rinde
said. "Once  that gets  finalized and  locked down, you are  going to  see more
things happening and we will get more pro-active in letting the world know what
our plans are  for Atari. "We have a  lot more  aggressive plans  for the brand
than the previous owner."

Hasbro Interactive had bought  Atari from  hard drive  maker JTS Corp. for five
million  dollars  in  March  1998. Recognizing the  interest in "retro-gaming,"
Hasbro Interactive used Atari and its famous  fuji logo for a number of updated
classics, such as Frogger, Centipede, Missile Command  and Pong, as well as for
new titles, including Nerf Arena Blast and Glover.

Infogrames' agreement with Hasbro includes three main elements:

1. Infogrames' acquisition of all of Hasbro Interactive's assets, including
   Atari and MicroProse.
2. Acquisition of the Web site
3. A 15-year licensing agreement with Hasbro, Inc. giving  Infogrames exclusive
   rights to  develop  and  publish  games  based on  current and future Hasbro
   properties including  the  games Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, Risk and Boggle ;
   children's games  and toys including  Mr. Potato Head, Tonka  Trucks, Action
   Man, My Little Pony and Candyland; and the game Dungeons and Dragons. Hasbro
   received an annual guarantee from  Infogrames based on  sales generated from
   the licensing agreement, which includes  an option for a five-year extension
   based on performance.

Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Rinde, 42, joined  Infogrames when it bought a 70%
interest  in  his  former  employer, GT  Interactive, in  late  1999. An  Atari
enthusiast, he volunteered early to help with Infogrames' planning for Atari in
the United  States ; similar  research is  underway in the  European market and
Infogrames plans to use Atari on a global basis.

Rinde said Atari was a "key asset" Infogrames saw in Hasbro Interactive that
Infogrames believes has been underutilized.

"It's a brand that's been kicked around for a number of years. We think it has
a  lot of  potential," he said. "We  are trying  to research  what everybody's
impressions of the brand are and what the brand means  to different audiences,
if anything. There's  certainly a core audience out  there that for many years
has been very loyal to the brand. What we are trying  to do is figure out what
types of games  really  fit within  that brand  and  what  the brand  means to

What Atari means to a person may relate directly to his or her age, as Atari's
identity has changed over time, Rinde said.

"There's a fair amount of younger people out there running around wearing Atari
T-shirts and what  not," he said. "I don't know if it  means the same things to
them as to  people that grew up  and were gaming  when those systems first came

Rinde said Infogrames is looking not only at updating classic Atari titles, as
Hasbro Interactive had done, but is looking at the style of play that made the
classics appealing and developing entire  new franchises under the Atari brand
that retain  the "feel" of an  Atari game - addictive  games  that are easy to
learn and hard to master.

"We strongly feel we'd like  to breathe  some new life  from a game standpoint
onto the Atari brand with some new games outside the traditional catalogue but
will still be true to the core gaming aspects the Atari brand means," he said.

"We've started to  identify the  core attributes  to those types of games to be
under a brand like Atari," he said. "We're also looking at the entire catalogue
to see if there  are some  really  old  games that  are  viable  to  be totally
revamped to be played in a modern gaming environment, versus being a retro game
on a new system which has been done and done and done."

Rinde said Infogrames won't abandon the practice of updating classic games, but
that it won't be the company's entire strategy.

"What we're trying to do is identify some new games under the brand or some of
the catalogue that hasn't been  done yet but that  might be viable now," Rinde
added. "We think there's legs to continue to  revamp some of the catalogue and
do them in new ways on  new platforms  without losing  the traditional feel of
what made the game really fun and  appealing to a fairly broad audience over a
long period of time."

Rinde  said consumers  can expect  to see  low-scale Atari  activity  for this
holiday season beginning in September or October, with titles for the personal
computer and PlayStation 1 platforms. Rinde said Infogrames  will identify the
titles scheduled to be released under the Atari brand during the next 12-to-18
months, as well as the platforms they will be for when the publishing strategy
is completed.

Rinde said consumers can expect to see "significantly scaled up and revived up"
marketing of  Atari  products  for all  next  generation  console  and handheld
platforms, and other forms such as wireless, in 2002.

So far Infogrames' only  use  of the  Atari brand to date  was on bottled water
distributed at the  Electronics  Entertainment  Expo, known as E3, held  in Los
Angeles in May. Rinde said it was a "very low key way" to  keep the name in the
public eye.

"We did not  really  have  anything  new to  show from  a product standpoint or
anything like that. We were not ready to  talk to retailers or  the rest of the
world about what our plan is," he said. "It was just our way of saying Atari is
still around. It's not forgotten, stay tuned."

Rinde said Infogrames  is aware  of the  rumor, believed to  have originated in
Europe and spread via the Internet, that Infogrames is considering changing its
name to Atari. He would not comment on the  matter. "It's certainly something I
don't where they got it," he said.

Said Nancy Bushkin, vice  president of  corporate communications for Infogrames
in New York City, "We don't comment on rumors or speculation." When it comes to
possible Atari  hardware, such as  a new  game console, Infogrames' position is
the same as Hasbro Interactive: "We are a software publisher. We are not in the
hardware business," Rinde  said. "I would be  very surprised to see us get into
that type of business. That would be an uphill battle for anybody."

However, Rinde said Infogrames is aware of and is impressed by the grass-roots
activity on the  hardware side, such as the  development of a  portable  Atari
2600. He said the company is keeping an eye on such development.

"We're looking at what that is and what that means and for any opportunities to
partner with somebody or endorse somebody if it's the right situation and could
potentially be good for the brand," he said. "It's at a very early stage."

Infogrames now owns all that Hasbro Interactive had of Atari, including one or
more warehouses  of Atari  products. He  said the items include  2600 and 7800
cartridges, systems, boards  and  engineering  specifications. "That  stuff is
still out there  and it  is probably in a  warehouse. Nobody has  sat down and
catalogued it to see what we have," he said.

Rinde said he doesn't know  what  Infogrames will  do with the  contents of the
warehouses, which would be an Atari fan's dream to dig through. "Maybe some day
there will be an Atari museum  built," he said. "It would be a shame to discard
it. It is history as far as the video game business is concerned."

Noting that the Tramiel family, which had bought Atari's home computer and home
video game divisions from Warner Communications in 1984 and sold it to JTS in a
"reverse  merger" in  1996, was  never  big  on  Atari's  history, Rinde  said,
"Whatever was there was  there  by luck  or never  got discarded. I don't think
they cared about that aspect of it."

Ultimately, Rinde said fans of Atari will be a lot happier with its ownership
under Infogrames than under Hasbro.

"The amazing thing is there's a lot  of people out there rooting for this brand
to make a  return and  become a  meaningful  gaming  brand  again," he said. "I
happen to share that enthusiasm. There's a lot of support within Infogrames for
that to happen."

Is this the 3rd coming for the venerable Atari brand?

Alive 3