Cary, NC, June 15, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- After being acquired by France-based Infogrames, Atari has found itself in financial distress. In January, 2013, the U.S. subsidiary filed for bankruptcy protection and approached 180 different companies seeking buyout offers. On May 23rd, Atari announced that it had had failed to receive one acceptable offer. Now, the gaming icon is on the auction block. Most likely, the company will be cannibalized and cease to exist as we remember it.
That is where American Southern University (ASU) steps in. This non-profit organization is launching what may be the most ambitious crowdfunding initiative to-date. It has launched a campaign to raise $30MM before the July 16th auction date. While the goal is certainly lofty, it is not impossible. Earlier this year, $4.2M was raised to launch a single title, "Torment: Tides of Numenera", on kickstarter.com. Under the ASU plan, it will acquire several hundred.
According to ASU President, Will Adkins, the proceeds will be used to establish a game development studio that will offer a hands-on learning experience for ASU students, reforge the development process in partnership with independent developers, and assume the role of steward for as many Atari titles as possible. As steward, ASU will evaluate each title. Where feasible, franchises will be rebooted and commercialized to support the on-going operations of the organization's academic mission. Other titles may be released as open-source code as part of an initiative to promote collaboration and learning from existing works.
The organization has launched a Web site, SaveAtari.com, to promote the initiative. On this site, ASU highlights a rewards program for those contributing to the program; this may include access to new titles and copies of software held in the Atari inventory. They further highlight that the support may be tax deductible. Will this be enough to unite gamers to preserve the legacy of Atari?
Atari, consisting of Atari SA and its subsidiaries, is a multi-platform, global interactive entertainment and licensing group. The original innovator of video gaming, founded in 1972, Atari owns and/or manages a portfolio of more than 200 games and franchises, including world renowned brands like Asteroids®, Centipede®, Missile Command®, Pong®, Test Drive®, Backyard Sports® and RollerCoaster Tycoon®. Atari capitalizes on these powerful properties by delivering compelling games online (i.e. browser, Facebook® and digital download), on smartphones and tablets and other connected devices.
American Southern University was incorporated in 2008 as a North Carolina-based 501(c)(3) non-profit. It currently is preparing to launch ASU Online in the third quarter 2013 and will offer over 1,900 courses on a number of subjects at little to no cost to students. Further, the appropriate regulatory agencies have determined that ASU can offer diploma programs without further oversight. One of these is the planned Game Development program which will give students hands-on industry experience in a professional studio. To find out more about this initiative, visit www.saveatari.com.