Atari Has Made An ‘Intelligent’ Acquisition & Put An End To The First Console War

A close up of the Intellivision

Before wondering whether the PS5 was outselling the Xbox Series X and way before the GameCube and the PS2 were battling it out, there was a much bigger war being waged – Atari vs Mattel.

The Atari 2600 was released in 1977, an absolutely iconic console that became an instant hit with gamers everywhere. Mattel, not happy with letting someone else taking over as the main name in home ‘toy’ entertainment, began production on their own console, The Intellivision. When it dropped in 1979, the first-ever console war began… one that Atari has been 27 million steps ahead of ever since.

Atari’s 2600 console sold 30 million units over its lifetime, with the Intellivision selling just 3 million. Still, they were undoubtedly a thorn in Atari’s side and created the first real marketing battle at the turn of the 1980s. Now, 45 years later, Atari has made the announcement that they have acquired the Intellivision brand. Slow and steady wins the race… and eventually lets you buy your competition.

As Atari says in their Tweet above, the opportunity to unite competitors and end such a long marketing war is a very rare and unique one, and a chance to show that the Golden Age of Gaming really was, and still is, all about the gaming experience and not who played what and how and who came out on top. And as I’ve already said, Atari were 27 million sales ahead anyway, so they know they’re the real winners…

Once An Enemy, Now An Amico

The Intellivision Amico
Credit: Intellivision

Amico is the word for friend in Italian, a fitting title for a console that comes with dual handheld units with their own screens to maximise multiplayer capabilities. It harnesses the design of the original Intellivision controller while at the same time propelling it into the future, bringing wireless charging and amazing graphics to enjoy on modern consoles.

According to everyone’s favourite vault of questionable knowledge Wikipedia, Intellivision claimed that it didn’t have the funds ‘needed to finance the production of the console units’. The Amico will be ‘rebranded and continue distribution’ off the back of the acquisition, so we might actually get to see the console in homes after a 6 year wait.

It’s not just the brand name that Atari acquires after buying Intellivision, however; they also get all of Intellivision’s games too, which could mean either a new ‘best of’ compendium coming for modern consoles or some classic games being remade for modern audiences as new sequels. After reviving Infogrames and acquiring Atari, the French company has decided not to go toe-to-toe with modern consoles and stick to doing what they do best – owning the Retro Gaming world and slowly becoming the go-to-force for nostalgic media. We’re looking forward to what else Atari has up their sleeves over the coming months, and hopefully getting our hands on an Amico!

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