Update: In a FAQ post detailing the acquisition, Digital Eclipse has confirmed it’ll continue to work on other games outside the Atari catalogue. “While we're certainly happy to have greater access to Atari's fantastic library, we still have the freedom to seek out projects with other parties,” a statement notes.
It adds: “Digital Eclipse has a lot of unannounced projects in the works that do not involve Atari's IP, and those will carry on as planned. The future is wide open, and we believe partnering with Atari will bring about even more opportunities.”
Original Story: Atari clearly has its eyes on the retro prize, and has acquired compilation specialists Digital Eclipse, after its work on the acclaimed Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration. The American developer follows preservation specialists Nightdive Studios under the Atari umbrella, which the company says will “expand its development capacity and access to world-class intellectual property”.
Digital Eclipse has been in business since 1992, but has recently garnered a reputation as emulation specialists, working on notable compilations like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection and the Disney Classic Games Collection. It’s most recent effort, The Making of Karateka, is more of an interactive documentary – and comes highly recommended.
While there’s concern the acquisition may restrict Digital Eclipse to Atari properties, it’s worth noting that Nightdive Studios has been able to continue working on other, non-Atari games post-acquisition. In fact, CEO Andrew Ayre notes that the two companies share the “same ethos when it comes to the celebration and preservation of gaming history”.
This is an interesting business model from Atari, but there’s no doubt the market for retro content has expanded significantly in the past few years. Limited Run Games is also finding significant success repackaging older titles with its Carbon Engine, and it’s great to see so many old classics become so easily accessible on modern storefronts, like the PS Store.
We’re optimistic this acquisition will ultimately help strengthen Digital Eclipse’s position, and result in more quality compilations moving forwards. Crucially, we hope the developer continues to expand on its approach to these collections as interactive documentaries – it was extremely cool reading about the history of Atari in The Anniversary Collection, and then getting to play the actual games.