PARIS: Atari Inc. announced today that Wade J. Rosen, currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of Atari, will become Chief Executive Officer effective April 6, 2021.
The Company also announced the creation of 2 divisions, Atari Gaming and Atari Blockchain. Frédéric Chesnais, current CEO, will focus on Licensing and Atari Blockchain.
“I’m honored to be a steward of something as iconic and legendary as Atari. I would also like to thank Fred Chesnais for turning around the company, which is now well positioned for such incredible long-term success. When Fred stepped into the role of Chief Executive Officer, he inherited a situation burdened with debt. Since then, he has eliminated debt and enacted a meaningful turnaround,” said Wade J. Rosen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Atari, S.A.
“He had the foresight to push Atari into cutting edge markets like Blockchain, the VCS, and the Atari Hotels. It’s because of him that the company is at its strongest valuation in seven years. We thank Fred for his leadership and are excited to continue working with Fred as he focuses on Licensing for the entire group and the development and growth of the exciting Blockchain Division created today,” said Wade J. Rosen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Atari, S.A”.
For Frédéric Chesnais, current CEO and a significant shareholder of Atari: “8 years ago, when I came back, the brand was given for dead. This spectacular turnaround is the result of solid teamwork and support from the shareholders, and I would like to thank each and every one of these individuals. We can all be proud of this outcome. The Atari brand is alive, more than ever, and this organization in two divisions will help us adapt to the changes in our business line.”.
The Gaming Division of Atari, which will include all assets not included in the Blockchain Division, will be focused on gaming, and specifically the expanding market of retro gaming. Financially, Atari will prioritize incremental long-term growth and sustainable cashflow. To do this Atari will focus on three key pillars for the Gaming Division: Gaming, the VCS, and Licensing.
Gaming: Atari will continue to operate and develop its successful free-to-play mobile games. In addition, new development will be shifted to console and PC, with an emphasis on revitalizing classic Atari intellectual property for the modern era. These new releases will share the classics’ instant enjoyability, while introducing a meaningful single-player campaign, couch co-op/multiplayer, and online play.
VCS: Atari will continue to support the Atari VCS through meaningful third-party content and exclusive first-party content. The VCS community has shown an ingenuity and creativity in adapting the system, and Atari will work to support this by releasing tools that will allow creators the ability to design their own classic Atari games (beginning with the Atari 2600). With an eventual goal of making it easier to create, share and play retro gaming content in the modern era.
Licensing: Atari, and its catalogue of classic games, continues to be some of the most recognizable brands in the world. Atari will continue to leverage this notoriety in both gaming and non-gaming related fields (including hotels and casinos). Most recently, Atari has seen a tremendous amount of success in licensing the Atari related brands for the use in NFTs. We anticipate this playing an even larger part of our licensing strategy in the coming years.
All products and services related to the Blockchain business will be grouped into a division of Atari, to focus on the immense possibilities of crypto and blockchain enabled games. Given the launch of the Atari Token, the primary goal of this division will be the continued development of the Atari Token through further use cases and integration into the Atari ecosystem (as payment for digital goods within the VCS, within Atari games on the blockchain, and within 3rd party games or applications such as opensea.io, Sandbox or Decentraland).
Atari will also continue to evaluate opportunities in blockchain gaming, NFTs, and blockchain based online worlds. The creation of this division will take effect as of April 1, 2021.
As part of this venture, Atari is exploring, among several options, the potential structuring of this division as an autonomous entity with a view to a possible spin-off to Atari shareholders by listing of this new entity.
As of the date hereof, there is no assurance any such potential spin-off will occur, which would otherwise require continued business case analysis, approval of stock market regulators, approval by Atari shareholders in a general meeting, as well as confirmation that the demerger favorable regime (“régime de faveur”) would apply and, depending on a number of technical aspects, at least 12 months of additional work.
The Group confirms his objective of a positive net income for the financial year 2020-2021 despite the delays in the licensing activities and of the launch of the VCS caused by the global pandemic.
Atari, comprised of Atari SA and its subsidiaries, is a global interactive entertainment and multiplatform licensing group. The true innovator of the video game, founded in 1972, Atari owns and/or manages a portfolio of more than 200 games and franchises. www.atari.com