Monday, May 15, 2006

Atari: All Items on This Table are 99c

Here's something I didn't see coming:
NEW YORK, May 10 -- Atari, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATAR), one of the world's most recognized brands and leading third-party video game publisher, today announced one of the industry's most aggressive pricing programs, GamersFirst ( The two-fold, consumer-oriented program will begin on June 1st at participating retailers and will include a new price point of $19.99 on all existing console titles for PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, Xbox video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube(TM), and Game Boy(R) Advance as well as all existing Windows titles (excluding the recently launched Dungeons & Dragons Online). Additionally, all Windows titles included in the program will be available for immediate download at Valve and Direct2Drive, also for $19.99. Titles offered in the on-going GamersFirst program include fan favorites such as Dragon Ball Z(R): Budokai Tenkaichi, Driver: Parallel Lines, Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, and the award-winning Indigo Prophecy.

Press release here.

The short version: do you remember that guy who lived in your neighborhood and lost his job and was in danger of losing his house? He basically put everything he owned on the lawn one Saturday, had a massive garage sale, and it made two more house payments for him. It sure sounds like that's what's happening here: everything except 360 titles and D&D Online for $19.99.

Here's the crazy thing, though: did anyone even notice that Atari did this? It doesn't seem like anyone is paying any attention, really. When I wrote on several occasions last year that 2006 was going to be brutal for game companies, I meant brutal, and it's not over. In fact, with the PS3 announced at $599, it's going to be even worse than I thought, and it's going to continue well into 2007.

If you haven't played Indigo Prophecy, by the way, it's a steal at $19.99. A little rough around the edges, and it comes off the tracks a bit in the last third, but it's a very interesting game and well worth playing.

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