Atari Returns to Ring (Aug.19,1993)

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 02/19/94-08:37:57 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Atari Returns to Ring (Aug.19,1993)
Date: Sat Feb 19 20:37:57 1994

From: (Robert keng)
Subject: Atari: Jaguar article in Mercury News (not long)
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1993 22:13:39 GMT
Lines: 108

Hi all:

Below is taken directly from SJ Mercury News, Morning Edition. It
included a picture of the Jaguar (which looked like an oversized DiscMan) with
what seemed like a 17 button joypad. The game being played is unknown because
it only had an Jaguar logo on it. It was taken from the Business section so
expect some corporate profile(s).

BTW, what's with all the nastiness and imature posts lately? Freshmen here
early this year, eh?

All spelling errors are mine :-)

---------------------------------Cut Here-------------------------------------

Atari returns to the ring
Video game maker pins hope on Jaguar.

Atari Corp., the Sunnyvale company that invented the video games and became 
one of Silicon Valley's legendary boom and bust stories, is making one last
David Vs. Goliath bid to regain a profitable piece of the huge market it

At a news conference Wednesday, Atari touted its new $200 Jaguar home video
game system due on store shelves in November.

The Jaguar is built around a 64-bit microprocessor, four times the size of the
16-bit chips that power today's best-selling SNES and Sega Genesis, allowing
bigger animated figures on screen and providing more detailed graphics.

But Atari is cought in the position of a beleagured video game character, with
only a few lives remaining in which to fend off hordes of enemies.

Sales have crumbled from $452 million in 1988 to $127 million last year, 
resulting in a loss of $74 million. In the first quarter of 1993, sales sank 
to $10 million from $44 million a year earlier, resulting in a $2 million 

The deteriorating financial picture has critics wondering if Atari, which gets 
most of it's revenue today from selling personal computers in Europe, has the 
muscle to compete in a $6 billion market dominated by Nintendo and Sega, 
immensely profitable competitors Nintendo and Sega.

Sam Tramiel, Atari's president, called the news conference to challenge those 
critics - especially Trip Hawkins, chairman of rival 3DO Co. in Redwood City, 
which is unveiling a new 32 bit game system in October.

Hawkins, Tramiel said, has recently told securities analysts and industry 
newsletters that Jaguar is a souped-up 32-bit system, rather than a true 
64-bit machine, and won't click with game players.

"For some reason, 3DO is picking on us, and we don't like that," Tramiel said. 
"We want to show people we are here, and we are serious about this business."

In a telephone interview, Hawkins didn't back down.

"I don't think they have a prayer of selling it," he said. "They've pretty 
much run out of credibility."

Hawkins pointed to the poor performance of Atari under the ownership of 
Tramiel and his father, Jack, as well as their track record at Commodore 
International, a now struggling computer company they owned before buying 
Atari in 1984.

"Retailers have been burned quite a few times by these guys," Hawkins said, 
adding that he is still owed money by the Tramiels.

Atari started in 1972 when entrepreneur Nolan Bushnell developed an idea for 
a video game called "Pong" and gave birth to a new industry. At it's peak in 
the early 1980s, Atari had an annual sales of $2 billion and 10,000 employees.
The market crashed in 1983 - only to be revived three years later by Nintendo.

On Wednesday, Atari showed a prototype of the Jaguar unit and three of the 
five games that will be available in November - all shoot-'em-ups based on 
outer space themes.

"The games are very similar to a lot of existing games, but the graphics are 
extremely impressive," said Wes Nihei, executive editor of GamePro magazine 
in San Mateo.

Creating a steady flow of exciting new games - and persuading independent 
software developers to take a chance on Atari - will be crucial to Jaguar's

Tramiel said Atari plans to sell 50,000 units in the Bay Area and New York by
the end of the year, supported by an "aggressive" $3 million advertising 
campaign, followed by a nationwide rollout next year and sales in Europe.

Major retailers have expressed strong interest in carrying Jaguar, he added, 
although he said Atari hasn't asked for commitments. Tramiel also said Atari 
is on the verge of signing from 10 to 20 independent software developers to 
work on Jaguar games, which will sell for $40 to $70 each.

-------------------------------Cut Here---------------------------------------

Well, seems the Jaguar is for real after all. Guess I'll get my hands on it
soon, living in the Silicon Valley and all :-)

I wouldn't expect it to have much games to back it up by November. Atari is on
the *verge* of signing 10-20 developers? 3DO already has what, 50-70+

Boy, seems like Hawkins and Tramiel has some personal conflicts here :-)

Anyone care to add more info to this?


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