Atari Looks for the Reset Button

Atari Looks for the Reset Button

Long-standing video game producer Atari announced several changes to its board of directors including the return of co-founder Nolan Bushnell.  The re-integration of Bushnell is with hopes of refreshing the brand and returning to relevancy in an evolving gaming environment.

Bushnell co-founded Atari in 1972 when two paddles and a ball were cutting edge and computers were the size of Winnebago’s.  Bushnell has recently been quoted as saying ”one of the real assets for Atari is it has a really, really cool worldwide brand, and I think there’s a lot of good things to do with that brand and name recognition.”  But what, exactly is the Atari brand about today?  A quick look at E-Score Brand suggests that Atari’s aspirations to be known for more than just its classic 8 bit games could have obstacles even Frogger couldn’t navigate.

Atari Awareness and Attribute Scores

Using E-Score Brand we looked at how Atari is currently perceived by the public.  Awareness scores for the game producer demonstrate the brand’s current challenging position and indifference with younger audiences.  Atari’s awareness among younger audiences age 13-24 is 33 points lower than older generations ages 25-54 (30% vs. 63%).  Atari’s highest attribute scores are for classic, out-of-date and nostalgic.  Atari’s out-of-date score is 31 points higher than its category average (7% vs 38%).

Source: E-Score Brand

Representative quotes from the consumer comments regarding Atari include ”outdated,” ”from when I was a kid,” ”obsolete” and ”what do they do now?”

Source: E-Score Brand, Atari attribute score compared to Videogame Company average

Atari clearly has a lot of work to do to return to relevance and awareness with a new generation of gamers.  While its ”classic” positioning could be an asset, if Atari wants to refrain from becoming simply an ironic icon on the T-shirts of middle-aged gamers, it needs to shed the perception of an antiquated company that’s been shooting the same asteroids for nearly 40 years.

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