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Philips Repositions CD-i For Pro Market, Atari To Make PC Games

In separate moves that indicate the growing strength of the PC CD-ROM software market, Philips Media has transferred CD-i software development to its professional arm to focus on other platforms, and Atari is forming a new division to sell its games in the PC market.

At Philips, Philips Media, originally created to develop and market CD-i software, is becoming a multi-format publisher with a strong focus on interactive CD-ROM products. As a result, responsibility for consumer CD-i software in North America has been transferred to Washington, D.C.-based Philips Media Professional, which assumes overall management responsibility for CD-i hardware and software in North America. Presumably, a significant amount of new product development will now be handled in Europe.

Under the new structure, Philips will be downplaying retail distribution of CD-i software, and instead is significantly increasing direct-marketing efforts. Philips has launched a Gold Club for player owners that will offer special promotions and incentives. The Gold Club’s catalog of titles will be expanded to include discs not previously available in the U.S., and all titles, excluding movies, will be sold with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

At CES, Atari is announcing the formation of a new division, Atari Interactive, which will leverage the company’s software across multiple game platforms, primarily the personal computer.

“Atari Interactive will allow consumers to receive our product in a variety of forms, from existing platforms and consoles such as our own Jaguar system, to PC, Mac, the Internet and web sites,” says Ted Hoff, Atari’s president of North American operations.

In addition to updated Atari classics, such as Tempest 2000 and Missile Command, new games, such as Interactive Rocky Horror Show and Virtual War, will be released by the new division. Four new CD-ROMs will ship in the first quarter, Hoff says. Atari Interactive’s new games will be previewed through the company’s web site on the Internet,