October 1976: Warner buys Atari from Nolan Bushnell for $28 million dollars
In 1972, Nolan Bushnell, an engineer from a California-based company called Ampex, and one his fellow engineers, Ted Dabney, founded Atari. Between 1972 and 1976, the early electronic game market rose quickly, giving rise to classic entertainments such as Pong and Breakout. Bushnell and his associates poured time money into Atari, but nothing at the time could save video games from the “fad” label.
By the mid-1970s, arcade games were on the decline. With a number of competitors on the market and an over saturation of both consoles and games, Atari and others were relegated to the realms “novelties.” To help save the company, Bushnell opened, of all things, a pinball division, as that pastime was on the rise in 1976. The decision to sell Atari was made that same year. When Warner Communications was looking to expand into any and every facet of the entertainment sector, Atari popped up on its list. After a series of meetings and negotiations, the final papers were signed in San Francisco in 1976. Warner got Atari for $28 million, and Bushnell remained on as chairman.
Earlier this year, Atari declared bankruptcy – were you sad to see it go?