Atari the company might be a shadow of its former self, but Nolan Bushnell isn’t out of the games game quite yet.
The 73-year-old Atari co-founder never left games completely — but thanks to a new collaboration with mobile publisher Spil Games, he’ll get to bring ideas he’s been sitting on to smartphones and tablets.
Bushnell told CNBC that he’s come up with around 30 concepts over the past decade and a half. Five to eight of those ideas will turn into mobile apps under the new deal, with the first expected to arrive in early 2017.
Bushnell sees in Spil some of the same things that got him excited about working in games to begin with.
“I talked to them and decided that they had a corporate culture that was very similar to Atari when I was leaving — great people with a fun attitude,” Bushnell told CNBC. “They’ve got really good stuff, great analytics and a really good understanding of marketplaces.”
The partnership’s been in play for about six months, with Bushnell bolstering trips every other month to the Netherlands-based publisher with regular Skype sessions.
Spil isn’t the most well-known player in the mobile arena, but it’s built up a sizable portfolio since launching in 2001. The publisher focused initially on browser-based online games, but pivoted in 2014 to capitalize on the explosive success of mobile gaming.
Teaming up with Bushnell should help Spil reach a wider audience. And for the Atari co-founder, the partnership positions him to explore new opportunities.
“The future of gaming has a very strong mobile component,” Bushnell said in a statement. “It’s where most people play games and it’s where the technology and ideas are developing most quickly.”