Mark Overmars nearly sold Game Maker to Atari

Prior to taking a shareholding in YoYo Games Mark Overmars was about to sell Game Maker to Atari.

The first we knew of any offer for Game Maker, besides that Mark accepted from YoYo Games, was when I spoke with YoYo Games CEO Sandy Duncan last week and asked him how the company started.

Sandy revealed that by the time they had met Mark he had already agreed to sell the game creation software to “quite a big company” but had not yet signed the contract.

In a December interview with the Dutch Control games industry blog Mark Overmars revealed that the company lined up to purchase Game Maker was the well known Atari brand which at the time was licensed to Infogrames.

In the Control interview one of the questions asks Mark about the formation of YoYo Games. A rough translation of his response is below:

“Well that’s a nice story. I was approached by Atari America. They wanted a game creation tool which they could make available on their website. The negotiations went very quickly. They sent me a signed contract which was sitting on my desk waiting for me to sign. I was then approached by former Xbox Europe boss Sandy Duncan. With a number of industry heavyweights he had started YoYo Games and asked if I wanted to come onboard with Game Maker.”

via Blue

6 Replies to “Mark Overmars nearly sold Game Maker to Atari”

  • Thank goodness for YYG. Game Maker would have likely, (in my opinion), died by now in Atari’s hands. No offense Atari, your GAMES / classic consoles are fine.

  • Very interesting. I have to agree with the others. Atari would have killed Game Maker.

    I’m a dyed-in-wool Atarian, but today’s Atari is a joke. I’d sure like to slap the jerk who ruined their logo.

  • Had Game Maker been sold to Atari it would have stagnated and died.

    I don;t think they would have actively updated it, and would have no problem burrying it should it become a money loser.

    I think it’s ironic that there is so much hatred towards YYGs, espeically in the early days. In my opinion they saved GM.

  • Now a good question is: how would Game Maker be if Mark sold it to Atari?
    You translated this sentence a bit odd(in my opinion):
    Zij wilden graag een gamemakertool aanbieden op hun website om mensen te lokken en vast te houden.
    (The second one)
    My translation would be:
    They wanted a game creation tool to offer on their website, to ‘lure’ people and keep them [on the website(?)].
    Still a rough translation, but it does make some difference.. I know my English isn’t that good, but in Dutch it sounds like Atari wanted to have a tool to place on their website, just as another product, a finished one.

    To me, it sounds like they wouldn’t update it actively.. But that’s just my interpretation, I might be completely wrong :p

    Wether this(YYG buying GM) is good or not, depends actually on what Atari would have done with the tool. What do you guys think? Would they be updating regulary, providing Game Maker more features then YoYo Games does? Or vice versa(hardly any updates)?

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