Atari CEO Fred Chesnais: Reviving a Gaming Legend

When Frederic Chesnais took over as the CEO of Atari in 2013, the company was facing significant financial challenges. With a debt of around $34 million and revenue of just $1 million, the iconic gaming brand was in dire straits [1]. However, Chesnais embarked on a mission to revive Atari and bring it back to its former glory. Through strategic decisions and a focus on leveraging Atari’s rich history and brand, Chesnais has successfully steered the company towards a brighter future.


1. The Challenges Faced by Atari

Upon assuming the role of CEO, Chesnais was confronted with the daunting task of turning around Atari’s fortunes. The company’s revenues had plummeted to a mere $1.2 million, and it carried a staggering debt of $34 million [2]. To overcome these challenges, Chesnais recognized the need to tap into Atari’s nostalgic appeal and capitalize on its iconic brand.

2. Leveraging Atari’s Rich History

One of Chesnais’ key strategies for reviving Atari was to leverage the company’s rich history in the gaming industry. He understood that Atari held a special place in the hearts of many gamers who grew up playing classic titles like Pong and Asteroids. Chesnais sought to tap into this nostalgia by reintroducing classic games and creating new experiences that captured the essence of Atari’s legacy.

Under Chesnais’ leadership, Atari released updated versions of classic games, such as RollerCoaster Tycoon, which became a hit among both old and new fans [1]. By combining the familiarity of beloved titles with modern gameplay mechanics, Chesnais successfully rekindled interest in the Atari brand.

3. Expanding into New Markets

In addition to revitalizing Atari’s classic games, Chesnais recognized the importance of expanding into new markets. He understood that the gaming industry had evolved significantly since Atari’s heyday and that the company needed to adapt to stay relevant.

To achieve this, Chesnais focused on developing partnerships and collaborations with other companies. For example, Atari entered into a partnership with FlowPlay to create Atari Jackpots, an online casino gaming platform that allowed players to enjoy Atari-themed slot machines and other casino games [2]. This move not only introduced Atari to a new audience but also capitalized on the growing popularity of online gaming.

4. Embracing Retro Gaming

Another key aspect of Chesnais’ strategy was embracing the resurgence of retro gaming. He recognized that there was a significant market for nostalgic gaming experiences and positioned Atari to capitalize on this trend.

Chesnais actively promoted retro gaming through various initiatives. He participated in interviews and discussions where he highlighted the enduring appeal of classic games and emphasized Atari’s role in shaping the gaming industry [3]. By embracing retro gaming, Chesnais successfully tapped into a passionate community of gamers who longed for the simplicity and charm of earlier gaming eras.


Under the leadership of CEO Fred Chesnais, Atari has made significant strides towards reviving its status as a gaming legend. Through a combination of leveraging Atari’s rich history, expanding into new markets, and embracing the resurgence of retro gaming, Chesnais has successfully steered the company towards a brighter future. With strategic decisions and a focus on innovation, Atari is once again becoming a force to be reckoned with in the gaming industry.

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