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Xbox Co-Creator Reunites Atari Arcade Vets For iOS Game Startup

by Matt Helgeson on Feb 02, 2012 at 02:38 PM

Seamus Blackley was one of the architects of Microsoft's original Xbox. Now, he's set his sights on the mobile market, partnering with some revered game designers from the Atari's golden age.

In an exclusive interview with Venturebeat, Blackley posits that the new frontier of gaming is actually a return to the medium's roots. “We are looking at the new arcade, and 99 cents on the iPhone is the new quarter,” Blackley commented. “People are playing on all these new devices and are finding the joy of the arcade games.”

To tap this emerging market with a new startup company called Innovative Leisure, Blackley has assembled what he calls an Atari "dream team." Some of the designers involved include Ed Rotberg (Battlezone), Owen Rubin (Major Havoc, Space Duel, Rich Adams (Gravitar, Missile Command), Dennis Koble (Touch Me, Shooting Gallery), Bruce Merrit (Black Widow), and the legendary Ed Logg (Asteroids, Centipede).

Since leaving Microsoft after the launch of the original Xbox, Blackley had become a powerful agent in the game industry at Creative Artists Agency, which handles many of Hollywood's biggest stars. While at CAA, Blackley handled the careers of game luminaries like Will Wright and DoubleFine's Tim Schafer.

Innovative Leisure is partially funded by THQ, which will have first right of refusal for publishing rights to the company's iOS and mobile games. THQ, as has been reported, is currently suffering from economic difficulties. How this will affect it's deal with Innovative Leisure is unknown.