Atari buys Intellivision ending the oldest video game console war

Atari buys Intellivision ending the oldest video game console war
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Nintendo vs. Sega, PlayStation vs. Xbox – the gaming industry has been full of competition for decades now, leading the top companies in the market to go head-to-head in what gamers have dubbed the “console wars.”

However, one of the original console wars has finally come to an end, roughly around 45 years after either company’s gaming system has been relevant. Atari has announced that it is acquiring the Intellivision brand along with “certain games” from Intellivision Entertainment LLC.

“Uniting Atari and Intellivision after 45 years ends the longest running console war in history,” said Mike Mika, Studio Head at the Atari-owned Digital Eclipse game studio in a statement.

While it’s unclear exactly what Atari has planned for the Intellivision brand, it has announced its first project: A line of t-shirts available at Atari.com.

Atari vs. Intellivision console wars

The Intellivision gaming console was released in 1979 by Mattel Electronics and posed the first serious threat to the most popular gaming console at the time, the Atari 2600. 

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Mattel came out swinging at Atari in a way previous competitors had not. The company created a series of commercials and advertisements starring writer George Plimpton. The ads featuring Plimpton compared the two gaming consoles and promoted Intellivision’s superior graphics and sound over Atari’s console.

Mattel sold out of Intellivision consoles within a year. By 1990, around 5 million Intellivision consoles had been sold. 

Eventually, however, both Atari and Intellivision would lose their positions atop the video game console market. Despite this, both continued to take advantage of their intellectual property and license their video games to companies like Nintendo and Sony.

The future of Intellivision

Atari’s announcement doesn’t give many details in terms of what it has planned for the Intellivision brand. However, nostalgia within the gaming world continues to run strong so it’s likely that Atari plans to take advantage of Intellivison’s game library. One interesting detail that was included in Atari’s announcement was that it had not acquired Intellivision Entertainment LLC’s Amico brand gaming console.

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The Amico console was announced in 2018 after video game music composer Tommy Tallarico bought a stake in Intellivision and announced the company was planning to relaunch the Intellivision console.  Eventually renamed Amico, the console was promoted as a simple gaming console that would target non-gamers and families.

A 2020 targeted release date was set, however, the Amico experienced various delays. As of 2024, the Amico has still not been released and it appears Atari had no interest in acquiring it.

According to Atari’s announcement, Intellivision Entertainment LLC will rebrand itself and continue to pursue the Amico gaming console. In fact, Atari also shared that as part of the deal, Amico will have a license to distribute new Intellivision games for the Amico console.

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In late 2023, it was reported that the company then known as Intellivision was facing financial difficulties in producing Amico units and were seeking funding. It appears a sale of the Intellivision brand to Atari may have been made to fund the Amico.

So, based on all that we can deduce that Atari is planning to release new games based on its newly acquired Intellivision brand and that the Amico console is still alive – for now.

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