If you can't beat, join them... or convince them to join you. That's kind of what Atari is doing with those developer and publishers it thinks are infringing on its copyrights to create socialized game experiences (Facebook, iPhone, etc.). Atari calls it the "GO initiative." The company will reach out to portals and developers that it believes have created clones of its classic IPs and offer an invitation to replace the clones with the real deal.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz in an interview published today, Atari project head Thom Kozik said that getting developers on board to improve Atari IP instead of copying it is of paramount importance.
"This initiative is not about going out after the market with a big stick, that's a different situation," Kozik said. "First and foremost we're going to be saying, 'let's bring the friends and folks who love us, and the folks who love these brands, into the fold, and we'll worry about the folks who don't want to play along, no pun intended, we'll worry about them later in a different context'" .
"It's a horrible position for me to be in. I've got a ton of very talented developers who are very interested in my intellectual property. Now what I've got is the GO initiative so I can turn around to them and say: I've got this incredibly deep catalogue of IP which you can get involved with, and I'll help you develop the next iteration of a classic game.
"I'll help you to create a socialised, monetised version of a classic piece of IP from any of the studios which were part of Atari during its long lifespan. That's what we're finding is a tremendous opportunity, a lot of developers are getting very excited about that."
Atari knows that it can't compete with the 70/30 profit split which developers can get from Apple or or online game portals, but it can offer a 30 to 50 percent cut to developers and support services like customer support, QA services, and access to its publishing prowess so that game developers can concentrate on the games.