Atari Acquires Intellivision, Concluding the First-Ever Console Battle

The big picture: Even though the Atari and Intellivision brands are not as prominent as they once were, they continue to be present in the market nearly half a century since they were first introduced. The acquisition of Intellivision by Atari marks a significant reunion of two iconic video game companies under a single banner, bringing a treasure trove of classic titles together.

Atari SA recently announced its acquisition of the Intellivision brand, a move with significant historical import that is expected to enhance the availability of beloved classic video games to both nostalgic aficionados and contemporary gaming platforms. During the early years of video gaming, Atari and Intellivision were pitted against each other in what is remembered as the first major console war. Both companies were hit hard by the video game crash of 1983, eventually stepping aside for new players like Nintendo and Sega to emerge.

Currently, the Atari brand operates under the umbrella of Atari SA, a French entity previously known as Infogrames, which is primarily focused on retro gaming endeavors and strategic acquisitions. Intellivision Entertainment was initiated by producer Tommy Tallarico in 2018, with the ambition to launch a revamped Intellivision console named Intellivision Amico.

The original Intellivision console debuted in 1979, achieving sales of five million units before ceasing production in the 90s. Intellivision waged a vigorous marketing clash with the Atari 2600, engaging celebrity George Plimpton in a series of television commercials that drew comparisons between the consoles, touting Intellivision’s superior technological features.

With this acquisition, Intellivision Entertainment becomes a component of Atari SA’s retro gaming division, acquiring rights to the console and over 200 games from Tallarico’s project. Intellivision Entertainment will persist in selling its Amico console and distributing games under licenses from Atari SA.

Atari SA is showing enthusiasm in publishing Intellivision titles through both digital and physical channels and is contemplating the creation of new titles that build upon the heritage of the classic console. Exploring branding and licensing ventures is also part of an extensive strategy to rejuvenate the nearly extinct gaming label.

Wade Rosen, Atari SA’s chairman and CEO, described the acquisition as a “rare opportunity” to amalgamate two erstwhile rivals that once thrived during the heyday of video gaming. Phil Adam, CEO of Intellivision Entertainment, expressed his regard for Atari as a “valued partner” and is optimistic about potential collaborative initiatives.

The era of console wars has ended, giving way to strategic business alliances.

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