It's an open question whether
(ATAR) is better known for being one of the video-game industry's pioneers -- or one of its persistent failures.
The company has gone through numerous incarnations since jump-starting the video-game era with its original console and hit arcade games back in the early 1980s.
Like that earlier incarnation, the current version of the company, now majority owned by French video-game maker
Infogrames, is struggling.
The company's sales and bottom line have plunged. Its executive suite has been a revolving door since the departure of Atari CEO Jim Caparro a year ago; and some of its key games, such as
Driver 3, have been busts.
But the company has bounced back before, and the new CEO, Bruno Bonnell, who also heads Infogrames, is hoping to lead the company's latest resurrection. Last week, in the wake of the
in May, I talked with Bonnell about his efforts to revive Atari.
TheStreet.com: What is Atari's strategy as the industry goes through the remainder of this console transition?
: Atari is definitely not in the tanker category like
, for instance. We're more into a very flexible, opportunistic attitude.
So, away from the $25 million budget that I'm
urban myth of our industry, we'd rather focus on what are people really willing to play.
If the $25 million budget is a "myth," what are you expecting to spend on developing next-generation titles?
It all depends.
Alone in the Dark
, which are in the range of $15 million, our focus is probably more on
360 where you can make great games for $50,000. It's like the movie business: You have movies that cost $200 million plus, and you have movies which cost less than a million euros.
You can make great games for $50,000?
In the movie business, people accept the idea that you can spread the budget from, I would say, $5 million to $200 million. You know, in the games business, every game should be 25
, otherwise it's a bad game. That's why I call it an urban myth. You have games
have cost us much less and made a tremendous profit.