Atari seeks Cdn. distributor

Atari is looking for a Canadian toy company to distribute Jaguar, its 64-bit interactive multimedia entertainment system, according to Nancy Chan, an executive with Bohbot Communications, Atari's pr firm.The timing of the Canadian release has not yet been determined, but, at...

Atari is looking for a Canadian toy company to distribute Jaguar, its 64-bit interactive multimedia entertainment system, according to Nancy Chan, an executive with Bohbot Communications, Atari’s pr firm.

The timing of the Canadian release has not yet been determined, but, at the earliest, is expected to be late 1994.

Rollout

Atari plans to release 50,000 Jaguar units into the San Francisco and New York City areas this fall with a national rollout of another 500,000 scheduled for next year.

Sunnivale, Calif.-based Atari, king of the video game hill in the 1970s and early 1980s, plans to regain its position with advanced technology and a marketing splash involving US$3 million for the final quarter of 1993 and another US$45 million for 1994.

Although Atari launched a 16-bit hand-held game called Lynx a few years ago, the company has been concentrating on its personal computer business since 1984.

The current video game market is dominated by two 16-bit systems: Sega’s Genesis and Nintendo’s Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

Both Sega and Nintendo have announced plans for 32-bit cd-rom players, and earlier this year, 3DO, a new California company, introduced its contender, the 3DO Multiplayer 32-bit system.

Jaguar’s 64 bits – a bit being the smallest unit digital data storage – makes it faster than other systems and gives it power for three-dimensional capabilities such as 3-D models that can be rotated, wildly distorted or texture-mapped.

16 million colors

It has the availability of more than 16 million colors and has cd quality sound output that allows for realistic sounds, including human voices and other sound effects.

Jaguar has been designed to be a true multimedia platform.

It can be connected into cable and telephone networks, modems and dat players and with its cd module will play compact discs and Kodak Photo CD.

An optional cd-rom drive will allow quality motion pictures to be overlaid on the screen with computer-generated graphics.

Technological differences aside, there are other major differences between Jaguar and the other new player, the 3DO 32-bit system.

Jaguar will be marketed through toy and game retailers and is being made by ibm’s manufacturing facility in Charlotte, n.c. to retail at US$200.

The cd drive is an additional US$200.

Computer stores

On the other hand, the 3D0 system is being sold through computer stores and, primarily, because it is made overseas in Japan by Panasonic, has a price tag of US$700.

It also plays video games, movies and compact discs.

Where 3DO does have the edge is with its roster of more than 300 software developers.

Atari has so far signed about 20 game designers and there will only be 10 game titles ready for the release of Jaguar.