Atari acquires technology to deliver PC and console experience on mobile devices.
Atari has announced its acquisition of the Wonder mobile gaming platform and WonderOS, with the intention of ultimately integrating Wonder technology into future editions of the Atari VCS gaming and entertainment platform so that users can one day enjoy their home experience on the go. This will be exciting news for Atari VCS customers.
Video game and technology journalist Heidi “HB” Duran caught up with Wonder CEO Andy Kleinman in the wake of the Wonder tech acquisition by Atari, and Andy shared his thoughts on the platform, the partnership, and some of what Atari VCS fans might one day be able to look forward to.
HB: What was the original inspiration for WonderOS?
AK: When we look at the incredible rise of mobile gaming, the numbers are staggering. Mobile games have surpassed every other category of games on both users and revenue. But when it comes to user experience, core gamers have a tough time adjusting to playing on their phones in comparison to their consoles and PCs.
From a technological standpoint, the best smartphones today are able to run most of the games that have ever been made, and with 5G at our doorstep, whatever cannot be processed locally on the phone can be done through the cloud.
So our mission became to create the ultimate gaming experience that would unite all other experiences. WonderOS has the best user experience and interface for gamers to interact with all their favorite games, on any device, through a combination of not just our technology but also integrating all the other features people love to use for streaming, interacting with friends, discovering new content and more.
HB: What makes this technology stand out from other cross-platform offerings on the market today?
AK: I always describe what’s happening with gaming as something similar to what has happened with OTT video. There are too many offerings, but the user experience is terrible because there is too much fragmentation. People used to have one cable or satellite account and flip channels, now you need to sign up for 7 different services, login on each device, figure out what show is in which, etc. Not a great experience. Gaming is suffering from something similar, as more new entrants like Google and Amazon get into gaming, and large studios such as Ubisoft, Activision or EA launch their own DTC offerings. Wonder doesn’t want to create another alternative that fragments the experiences or confuses people, it wants to unify all of the existing options into one central, easy to use experience.
HB: So is WonderOS an application or a traditional operating system that mobile devices must boot into? How is it implemented on devices?
AK: It’s both. We have built a number of core enhancements at the Operating System level, as well as individual apps for specific purposes. On the OS level for example, we can increase overall performance of the device and prioritize processing power and data packets through a feature we call WonderMode. It requires certain permissions that regular apps don’t have. On the app level, we have built different features for users to have a better experience, whether it’s the Wonder Community where people can interact with each other and their favorite topics, or Wonder Discovery where we have a curated and personalized portal for users to discover new games and content.
HB: How did the partnership/acquisition with Atari come about?
AK: We have been in contact with Fred, Jean-Marcel, Michael and the Atari team for quite some time. I have always been a fan of Atari, and even before we decided to call our company Wonder, I thought about the idea of talking with them about naming our technology “AtariOS.” My thinking was, “Atari invented the first broadly successful console, and we are reinventing what the console experience of the future should be,” so the brand makes sense. At the time we didn’t even propose it and instead decided to start working on building the product, but a couple of years later here we are. It’s all come full circle.
HB: What unique opportunities does the Atari partnership bring to the table for WonderOS?
AK: Atari has been working on a number of initiatives to make the brand as big and relevant as ever. Everything from the Atari VCS, the Atari Hotels and the different game studios are part of that vision, and with WonderOS living on millions of smartphones across the world, we can enhance those experiences even more. I think people will be very pleasantly surprised with what we have in mind.
HB: Thanks Andy. This sounds exciting and we look forward to seeing what unfolds.
Thanks to our friend HB Duran and Andy Kleinman for the great interview. The Atari VCS software team is already evaluating the Wonder technology and looking forward to providing more specific details at a later date.
In the meantime, the team is still monitoring the uncertain situation in China. We have no firm manufacturing updates to share yet and will do so as soon as we are able.
Thanks for your ongoing support!
— The Atari VCS Team