Words and Stuff

“I Want A Win For Atari” Atari Research

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May 24, 2023
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6 min read

For my recent article, I Want A Win For Atari, I conducted a survey that received 76 responses. Here is a look at some of that data at a glance, as well as some notes about the questions I asked.

Question 1: What Is Your Age?

  • 18 - 27: 22.4% (17 responses)
  • 28 - 37: 44.7% (34 responses)
  • 38 - 47: 25% (19 responses)
  • 48 - 57: 6.6% (5 responses)
  • 58+: 1.3% (1 response)

Notes: Decided to go with a 10-year age bracket. With more responses, a smaller bracket might give more nuanced results. Asking for the actual number would have allowed me to group the responses however I wanted after the fact, but maybe some people would hesitate to give their exact age.

Question 2: How Familiar Are You With Atari?

  • I am not at all familiar with Atari: 7.9% (6 responses)
  • I have heard the name, but have little or no experience with Atari Products: 34.2% (26 responses)
  • I've played their classic arcade cabinets: 39.5% (30 responses)
  • I played their arcade cabinets and had a home console (eg. Atari 2600, 5200, 7800): 18.4% (14 responses)

Notes: In hindsight I wish I had worded the last question differently to include familiarity with the recent "Recharged" titles, but what this question is really after is who is NOT familiar with Atari.

Using the age data, I found that in the 18 - 27 group, 76.4% had either not heard of Atari at all or had heard the name. The trend towards recognizing the brand increased with age as expected.

Question 3: Which of these video game titles have you heard of before?

  • Adventure: 26% (19 responses)
  • Alone in the Dark*: 21.9% (16 responses)
  • Asteroids: 83.6% (61 responses)
  • Berzerk*: 20.5% (15 responses)
  • Bubsy*: 13.7% (10 responses)
  • Centipede: 69.9% (51 responses)
  • Roller Coaster Tycoon*: 65.8% (48 responses)
  • Yars' Revenge: 15.1% (11 responses)

Notes: Titles denoted with an asterisk here indicate newly acquired IP by Atari. That information was not offered to survey participants. I considered the use of some control questions by including non-Atari properties (eg. Super Mario Bros., Minecraft) and some non-existent titles to see if survey participants were paying attention and/or truthful. For the purposes of this survey though, I really only wanted to know if they were in fact familiar with these Atari properties.

Question 4: Are you familiar with the crowdfunded Atari VCS console released in 2021?

  • Yes: 13.2% (10 responses)
  • No: 86.8% (66 responses)

Notes: In the initial publication of "I Want A Win For Atari" I did not specifically share this finding. Previous data demonstrated that familiarity with Atari is low.

Question 5: Are you familiar with any of the Atari Recharged titles availabe on PS5, Xbox, Switch, Steam, Epic Games, and Atari VCS?

  • Yes: 23.7% (18 responses)
  • No: 76.3% (58 responses)

Notes: I also didn't speak much to this in the original article, but similar story, it shows a lack of familiarity with Atari's current offerings.

Question 6: Which Recharged titles have you played or purchased?

  • Asteroids Recharged: 6 responses
  • Black Widow Recharged: 0 responses
  • Breakout Recharged: 2 responses
  • Caverns of Mars Recharged: 1 response
  • Centipede Recharged: 8 responses
  • Gravitar Recharged: 0 responses
  • Missile Command Recharged: 2 response
  • Yars Recharged: 1 response

Notes: Again, I did not end up sharing this information directly in the article for the sake of brevity. I have personally only played Asteroids Recharged (it is either very challenging or I have become very bad at video games).

Question 7: White statements(s) apply to you? (Check all that apply)

  • I have little or no interest in Atari: 56.2% (41 responses)
  • I have purchased one or more Atari products in the past three years: 1.4% (1 response)
  • I would consider purchasing an Atari t-shirt, poster, or other collectible: 23.3% (1 response)
  • I would consider the purchase of current Atari titles to play on my PS5, XBox, Switch, Steam Deck, or PC: 27.4% (20 responses)
  • I would consider the purchase of the current Atari VCS console: 6.8% (5 responses)
  • I would consider the purchase of a next-gen Atari console if the features were innovative and compelling: 23.3% (17 responses)

Notes: The little to no interest in Atari seems damning at first, but consider the fact that in other product spaces (eg. smartphones) people pick their horse and stick with it. It is somewhat encouraging that people would consider the purchase of existing Atari titles and a next-gen console IF it had innovative and compelling features. The evidence does not look good for the current supply of VCS consoles (I believe the price has already come down significantly once; if there is a physical supply ready to go, I wonder why they aren't trying to stock it in retail stores or Amazon).

Question 8: Do you have any thoughts you would like to share on Atari or video games in general?

Some responses:

"I don't know much about Atari at all, but I'm weirdly glad that they're still around! The name brings up a lot of nostalgia."

"I'm familiar with Atari and Atari games because of my dad. He had an Atari growing up and bought a refurbished one in the last ten years as a kind of nostalgic experience. I've played a few of the games and appreciate them, but wouldn't think to buy an Atari for myself or play the games now. I'm a bit too accustomed to newer games.

However, if the Atari VCS had a similar tact to the Playdate console, I might be interested. A limited console could spur some really interesting game design."

"Other than that this trip down memory lane has made me feel old this morning? :D"

"When I play video games, I prefer ones that are story-based ­čÖé"

"I like Atari's logo so that's why I would purchase merch from them but I'm not the biggest fan of the games they've created, just not my cup of tea personally. I did look them up because of this survey and I'm happy to know they're still around making games for the people who enjoy them."

Final Survey Thoughts

The nature of this survey was a little rushed. I tried my best to keep it brief since I wasn't offering any compensation for responses. One tricky aspect of this was not coloring the results too much with really avid gamers, although if I were doing this for Atari, I would try to get their input (perhaps in a different way) as well. I predict that avid gamers would have a strong bias towards what they know and love (generally these are the folks who shrugged off the Wii and the Switch initially, both of which did a good job of shaking up the industry).

More data could be extrapolated from this survey by looking at the ways different age groups answered questions, but for the time being I am merely sharing the results as summarized by the Google Forms survey I used.

Competitive Analysis

Console Sales

Nintendo Switch: 122,550,000
Playstation 5: 32,000,000
XBox Series X/S: 18,500,000
Steam Deck: 1,000,000+ (Possibly up to 2,000,000)
Atari VCS: 10,000+

Console Specifications

Atari VCS 800

  • AMD Zen 2 core 2.6Ghz up to 3.5Ghz
  • 4 or 8Gb Ram (upgradeable to 32)
  • Radeon Vega 3 up to 4Gb shared memory
  • HDMI, Bluetooth

Steam Deck

  • AMD Zen 2 4-core 2.4-3.5Ghz
  • 16Gb
  • Linux based
  • Tinkering encouraged
  • Open platform

PS5 Specs

  • AMD Zen 2 8-core 3.5Ghz
  • 16GB RAM
  • AMD RDNA 2 (36CUs)

Xbox Series X and S

  • AMD 8-core Zen 2
  • 16Gb/10Gb
  • AMD RDNA 2 (52 CUs/20 CUs)

Nintendo Switch

  • ARM 4 Cortex-A57
  • 4Gb memory
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