Lessons Learned from Atari

In watching Atari: Game Over, I couldn’t help but see all of the parallels between the early video game industry and the web design industry. The boys’ club… Engineers as rockstars… It’s a tale of a meteoric commercial rise followed by a swift and dismal collapse.

The film centers around the urban legend of millions of E.T. The Videogame cartridges being buried in a landfill in New Mexico as Atari burying it’s shame over producing such a bad video game. Many cite E.T. The Videogame as the reason for the collapse of the industry in 1983, but it wasn’t the case.

Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley offered this:

The behavior patterns that created the conditions for the E.T. failure is what destroyed the video game industry.

The behavior patterns in question: greed; ridiculous timelines (E.T. was conceived and programmed in 5 weeks by one man: Howard Scott Warshaw); and hubris.

There are a lot of parallels with the Silicon Valley of today. Food for thought.