Atari rearms for autumn battle

Computer games company Atari is revamping its image and releasing 70 new titles in the UK in an eleventh hour bid to capture market share from its big budget rivals, Sony and Sega.

European marketing manager Jean Michel says the company will release 20 new games in the UK by September and another 30 by the end of the year. They will all be designed for Atari’s Jaguar 64-bit video games machine, launched in November 1993.

Although the Jaguar system is competitively priced at 150, compared to about 300 for rival systems, it has been criticised by the games industry as there are only 17 software titles available.

The release of the 70 new games will be backed by a 3m marketing campaign, including TV advertising.

Michel says: “It will recreate Atari’s identity.” He says the company, which reported a net loss of $4.4m (2.75m) in first quarter results in May, will now try to sell itself as the “bad boy” of the games market.

“We need to be different. We need to play the bad boys,” says Michel. He is talking to a number of agencies with a view to appointing one next month.

But Atari’s 3m budget compares unfavourably with the 25m spend Sega and Sony are putting behind their systems.

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