Atari regroups, preps launch

Atari Computer, of Sunnyvale, Calif., has some housecleaning to do before launching its new Jaguar high-performance 64-bit home video game system in Canada next year.CreditorsAtari Canada closed its operation in the summer of 1992, owing nearly $90,000 to three suppliers: Toronto...

Atari Computer, of Sunnyvale, Calif., has some housecleaning to do before launching its new Jaguar high-performance 64-bit home video game system in Canada next year.

Creditors

Atari Canada closed its operation in the summer of 1992, owing nearly $90,000 to three suppliers: Toronto companies Tribute Publications and advertising agency Kornblum International; and Buffalo, n.y. tv station wutv.

Donnalyn Coyne, special projects manager and national account manager at Tribute, says the company is still owed $40,000 by Atari.

Coyne says Atari’s explanation for non-payment to the Canadian companies has been that it is losing money.

But she says she finds that hard to believe since the company announced Jaguar.

In the announcement, which targetted fall 1994 as the release date for Jaguar in Canada, Atari also stated it would spend about US$48 million over the next year to market it.

The problem for companies left holding the bag by Atari Canada is that there is no longer a Canadian presence and there are no plans to set one up.

Distributor

Atari is looking for a Canadian distributor to sell Jaguar when it is released next year.

Bob Bart, an executive with wutv, confirmed that the station is also owed $40,000 for advertising placed by Atari Canada, but says he is not sure what the next step will be in trying to recover it.

Julius Freilich, Kornblum International executive vice-president, says he has been chasing the $6,900 outstanding from Atari Canada, which was a client of the agency for two years, for more than a year.

Kornblum has initiated action through small claims court in Canada, and through a Los Angeles-based lawyer.

Offer

Freilich says Atari offered C$3,000 to settle the account, but the agency turned it down.

‘It’s no longer the matter of the money – it’s been written off the books,’ he says. ‘It’s now a matter of principle.’

Freilich says he understands that Atari also still owes money to Canadian distributors and retailers.