How's this for an eleventh hour shocker: Game-maker Atari has pulled out of E3 2009! The game publisher announced today that it will not be exhibiting at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, with a spokesperson telling game blog Joystiq, "Atari has made the proactive decision to attend but not exhibit at this year's E3 event. Although we feel E3 benefits the entire games business, we are very focused around other selling and marketing initiatives for our upcoming Ghostbusters, Champions Online and other to be announced titles."
Wow. Just wow. Atari is still listed on E3 organizers ESA's site as an exhibitor, with both a booth and conference room, and in the past, Atari has maintained a large E3 presence -- no one who attended E3 in the past could forget the company's huge banner draped over the top floors of the convention center. Atari's connection to E3 goes all the way back to the first ever Electronic Entertainment Expo-- in 1995 the company revealed the Jaguar VR.
As for why the company is bailing on its public presence at the event, they aren't saying, but promise a more detailed explanation soon. The one they gave above is odd: Why would you pull out of the biggest marketing event of the video game year in order to focus on marketing?
I don't want to say this myself, so I'll just quote Joystiq: "It sounds to us like someone is out of cash." It does sound that way, doesn't it? Let's hope that's not the case, and if it is, that everything gets back on track soon for Atari. Let's hope stellar sales of Ghostbusters (coming out across platform on June 16th) infuses Atari's bank account with jillions of dollars.