Atari CEO Fred Chesnais Q&A: real money gaming and Oculus Rift

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Atari's CEO responds to questions about the company's venture into real money gaming, eSports, and if they'll return to the console market.

Atari CEO Fred Chesnais Headshot 1

At HITC.com we were given the opportunity to pose some questions to the CEO of Atari, Fred Chesnais, about Atari's venture into 'Real Money Gaming', the prospect of the company entering eSports, and what he thinks about virtual reality.

Fred Chesnais is the current CEO and Chairman of the Board of Atari, and he took on those roles back in 2013. It's his second bout as CEO at the company - he was COO and CFO back in 2001-2004, and then CEO of Atari Interactive until 2007.

Check out our Q&A with Fred below:

How did you first break into the games industry? Was it a conscious decision?

This is actually my second time as chief executive officer of Atari. I am now the largest shareholder of the company and leading Atari’s comeback. I have always been a fan of the brand and believe in the great potential it has to offer.

Are there any plans to introduce new IPs through the Atari brand?

Yes. We already launched new IP this year including Minimum, a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game available on PC. We also announced a new LGBTQ themed mobile game titled Pridefest that will be coming to iOS and Android devices.

We’ve recently seen remakes of Haunted House and Alone in the Dark for PC, are there plans for these titles to come to consoles?

Both Haunted House: Cryptic Graves and Alone in the Dark: Illumination is built on the Unreal 4 Engine and because of that we felt PC was the best platform for the game. We are big fans of the PC platform, along with millions of other gamers.

Are Atari going to get back into the console market any time soon?

Our focus is on PC, mobile, digital and online platforms.

The rise in popularity of eSports over the recent years has brought gaming further towards becoming a mainstream household event to watch – do Atari have any plans with regards to the eSports sector? The company did host the first eSports tournament back in 1980 with Space Invaders.

Atari does not have any current plans in the eSports sector. However, if we have a game that is suitable with the eSports sector we will certainly explore.

How will Atari be moving forward with the recent shift towards virtual reality entertainment?

We continue to be impressed with the technological advancements of VR and think it enhances gameplay and takes it to the next level. We have had discussions with Oculus and are considering VR integration in future games.

What made you decide that taking the Atari brand into the real money gaming sector was the right move?

We see a new business opportunity between real-money gaming, social casino and video games. For us, this is a natural extension of the business. With Atari Casino and Atari Jackpots, we are taking the Atari brand beyond traditional gaming. The real-money gaming industry is growing at a rapid rate and we have the opportunity to capture a piece of the market at an early stage.

Have you seen a positive reaction of Atari entering the real money gaming sector?

Absolutely. We have many fans across the globe that still want to play classic Atari games and now they can in new formats such as slots, video poker, and blackjack. The iGaming media has also been supportive by covering our launches and eager to see how we shape the sector.

How do you hope to expand Atari in this sector?

This is a long-term venture and we will introduce new games as we grow. Our community will also play an integral role in our expansion. We will continue to engage with our audience to ensure we are delivering a positive user experience.

And finally, where do you see Atari in 10 years?

We see Atari in 10 years as a successful interactive entertainment production company that has created many fun, innovative and different types of gaming experiences – and continues to do so.

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