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article imageAtari Test Drives New Racing Game for Massive Multiplayer Market

By Digital Journal Staff     Jul 6, 2006 in Technology
Digital Journal — Atari deserves our applause for two reasons: The company is attempting a valiant comeback with their Xbox 360 racing game Test Drive Unlimited. Using that title to boost its reputation, the company is also taking a big step towards the massive multiplayer online market.
First, Atari is working on improving its street cred. After all, the publisher that brought us Pong has merely produced tired franchise spin-offs like Enter the Matrix or the anime-inspired Dragon Ball Z. Undoubtedly, Atari sold millions of each popular title but it never captured the attention of hardcore gamers in love with Halo or Grand Theft Auto.
Its latest baby, Test Drive Unlimited, could earn Atari some much-needed respect in 2006. An online racing simulation due out in the summer, the game allows asphalt-eaters to race any of 90 cars over more than 1,000 miles of road. Atari is still fine-turning the Xbox 360 game but true innovation lies in the sprawling online mode: Thousands of players will be able to cruise simultaneously, although an individual racer will only be able to compete with seven others (which will change constantly).
Besides dripping with gorgeous graphics, Test Drive Unlimited wants to create an online community that will be the hallmark of Xbox 360 and other next-gen consoles. It’s all good to publish a stunning game, but the true test of a winner is keeping the player involved for months, if not years.
Entering the massive multiplayer market means competing with the likes of World of Warcraft, where hundreds of people mill about a fantasy world at any given time. Atari isn’t quite there yet, but it’s moving in the right direction, especially by bringing an expansive idea to a console rather than PC. It just need a little nudge from consumers, and a marketing boost from Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and we’ll likely see a renaissance of a game publisher that can elevate from zero to hero.
More about Atari, Xbox 360, Ps3, Wii
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