Atari Acquires Intellivision, Concluding Console War from the 1970s

Within the United States, the video game era in the latter part of the 1970s and into the early 1980s was marked by two consoles: The Atari 2600 and Intellivision. Nintendo predated this rivalry versus Sega period by about ten years and is still prevalent in the PlayStation against Xbox against Nintendo period. The rivalry even predates a lot of gamers from 2024, who weren't even around when they were playing when the Atari 2600 was a thing connected to a TV.


Atari as well as Intellivision aren’t the biggest players in the contemporary video game industry, and this makes the news that Atari is buying Intellivision and its trademarks and games an entertaining news item instead of the massive news would follow from PlayStation buying Xbox (or the reverse) is.

What does Atari + Intellivision mean for gaming? In the press release, “Atari will seek to expand digital and physical distribution of legacy Intellivision games, potentially create new games, and explore brand and licensing opportunities.”

It’s a standard corporate jargon; however, at least those in higher positions at Atari understand the background and excitement surrounding the acquisition. “Uniting Atari and Intellivision after 45 years ends the longest-running console war in history,” said Mike Mika, Studio Head at Digital Eclipse, an Atari-owned game studio.


“This was a very rare opportunity to unite former competitors and bring together fans of Atari, Intellivision, and the golden age of gaming,” says Wade Rosen, Chairman and CEO of Atari.

2024 marks the first time Atari will be more of an editor than a hardware manufacturer. The company owns iconic franchises, such as Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command, Pong, and RollerCoaster Tycoon, as well as renowned games development studios, such as Digital Eclipse and Nightdive Studios.


The acquisition of Intellivision will bring “more than 200 titles from the Intellivision portfolio and the Intellivision trademarks.” Based on the catalogue of titles made available for the console when it was launched around 1979, not a single game we’ve seen that’s similar to Pong or Asteroids, and it’ll be exciting to see what’s coming with this deal.

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