February 1, 2019
Q. With a background in finance and the law, what led you to the video game industry in your career?
I’ve always been interested in the business of the video game industry and in 2001 I became part of the management team of the Atari Group. In 2007, I left Atari to create the company I2G which produced the hit franchise Jillian Michaels: Fitness Ultimatum for the Nintendo Wii and an online survival multiplayer, among many other games. When Atari fell in bankruptcy in 2013, I returned because I have always been a fan of the brand and believe in the great potential it has to offer to our global audience, and I am now its largest shareholder.
Q. Since 2013, you’ve been Chairman & CEO of the French holding company Atari, SA. Can you explain the responsibilities of your position?
I’m leading Atari’s comeback and resurgence in the market by rebooting the brand and expanding Atari’s global portfolio of properties. Beyond gaming, I am broadening the Atari brand into different business verticals such as online casinos, entertainment, and blockchain technology.
Q. What is the difference between the video game industry in France and the United States? How are they connected?
The video game industry in France and United States are both connected by their expertise in producing quality games that appeal to a global audience. I would say that to be successful, you cannot miss the US market, you have to be there, while France has less of an impact as far as our games are concerned.
Q. How do recent advances in technological innovation, from smart phones to Artificial intelligence to blockchain, affect the video game industry?
All these advances you mention contribute to the evolution of gaming. We have evolved from gaming in front of a television to gaming on any device wherever you are. This is whatever/wherever/whenever. AI and blockchain will continue to transform and revolutionize the video game industry for the better. As AI becomes more sophisticated it will not only be able to generate responsive, adaptive, and intelligent behaviors in non-player characters but also provide valuable insight such as predicting mobile game churn.
Q. The French-American Foundation’s Cyber Security Program facilitates dialogue around security in the digital age on both sides of the Atlantic. What are the most pressing cyber security concerns in your field of work?
There are multiple cyber security concerns in the gaming industry but two that affect my business is online fraudulent activities and data storage safety and security due to hackers.
Q. Atari has been a leader in video game production since its founding in 1972. What are the challenges and advantages of this legacy on continuing to create new products over 40 years later?
I think we share similar challenges as other legacy brands, but some challenges Atari faces include how to remain relevant in the rapidly changing video game industry and how to keep consumers engaged when there is so much content instantly available that is competing for people’s attention. On the other hand, the Atari brand is a big advantage for us because Atari is an evergreen brand that resonates with people all over the world and transcends generations. The Atari (Fuji) logo is very iconic and recognizable and that keeps the brand popular among our legions of fans.
Q. What inspired you to join the Board of Directors at the French-American Foundation?
I believe in the mission and work of the French-American Foundation and the importance of enriching the transatlantic relationship. As the CEO of Atari, and as a French citizen living in New York City, I am able to help promote engagement and shared experiences using our brand and games between France and United States.