Former EA man John Burns has become the new VP and GM of Atari Europe.
Burns, previously senior director of European online publishing for Electronic Arts, will be responsible for all the commercial efforts of the publisher in Europe.
Atari has transformed itself into an online-centric business in recent years – but it will retain an active boxed product strategy, Burns told MCV.
“Atari has had its ups and downs over the last five years – but that is consistent with a lot of companies in this sector. The
whole industry is still finding its way in the digital space,” he said.
“But Atari will still focus on packaged goods.”
Burns pointed to upcoming racer Test Drive Unlimited 2 as a key Atari retail release.
“The key word for the industry when it comes to digital is ‘transition’ – it’s not an off switch, just going from packaged to online. And as digital accelerates, retail will become even more important.
“Consumers are ready – I think that’s where the real opportunity is. I’d question whether any entertainment industry has been truly ready for the rise of digital content, but games are well prepared. What matters in this transition is that we have strong
properties – this is one of Atari’s strengths.”
Burns has worked in the games industry for over 20 years. At EA he was part of the exec team that launched its global mobile division, he also held a position overseeing long term strategies for digital distribution, MMOs, web games and in-game advertising.
Key service-oriented digital products EA Store and Xbox Live Arcade bestseller Battlefield 1943 were both
launched during his tenure.
“John joins Atari at time when we are transitioning our business toward online while maintaining a focused retail business,” said Jim Wilson, president and CEO, Atari, to whom Burns will report.
“His multi-disciplined background, working with some of the industry’s most respected publishers as well as emerging online businesses at the forefront of technology, will serve Atari well as we forge forward with our growth strategy.”