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Atari is buying the developer behind its excellent 50th anniversary retro compilation

Atari is buying the developer behind its excellent 50th anniversary retro compilation


Despite its new owner, retro remaster specialist Digital Eclipse says it’ll still be free to work on non-Atari games.

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Image: Atari

Atari is acquiring Digital Eclipse, a studio that specializes in preserving and rereleasing retro games on modern hardware. The releases are often rich in additional materials and historical content. Think the Criterion Collection but for video games. In a press release, Atari says it’s paying up to $20 million for the studio, including an initial $6.5 million paid in a combination of cash and shares and a further $13.5 million, which is due to be paid in cash over the next decade subject to Digital Eclipse’s performance. It expects to complete the deal in the coming days.

The two companies previously worked together on last year’s excellent Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration, which included ports of over 90 classic games as well as unreleased prototypes and neat extras like short documentaries and old photos and magazine articles. But Digital Eclipse has also produced a number of other well-received rereleases of classic games including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection and the interactive documentary The Making of Karateka.

In total, Atari says Digital Eclipse has produced over 250 games since its inception.

Despite now being owned by Atari, Digital Eclipse says it still has the freedom to work on non-Atari projects in a FAQ page on its website. “In addition to recent releases like Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord and The Making of Karateka, Digital Eclipse has a lot of unannounced projects in the works that do not involve Atari’s IP, and those will carry on as planned.”

This is the latest notable acquisition Atari has made in the retro space this year and follows its purchase of Nightdive Studios, a developer perhaps best known for its work remastering and remaking the System Shock titles. As with Nightdive, Atari says its acquisition of Digital Eclipse will help with its “retro-focused growth strategy.”

“Digital Eclipse is the best in the world at what they do,” Atari CEO Wade Rosen said in a statement. “They have a deep love and respect for the history of the games industry, and are renowned for developing critically acclaimed projects based on historic franchises. Digital Eclipse, along with Nightdive, are in perfect alignment with Atari’s DNA and renewed purpose.”

“Atari and Digital Eclipse share the same ethos when it comes to celebration and preservation of gaming history,” said Digital Eclipse founder and CEO Andrew Ayre. “It’s an exciting combination, and I am confident this will serve Digital Eclipse and our fans extremely well as we grow our business and expand our capabilities.”

While the Atari 50 collection was met with a positive response, some of the company’s other recent initiatives haven’t been as well received. Its Atari VCS console had a rocky development and eventually released to middling reviews, and the brand also got into NFTs in 2021. Hopefully, its recent acquisitions are a sign that it’ll be more focused on the classic games behind its brand going forward.