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Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell on the future of software (Q&A)
Written by Daniel   
Friday, 12 November 2010 19:09

From C/Net News

Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell has rejoined the struggling video game company's board, and has been speaking about his vision of the future of software.

Whether you know him by name, you almost certainly have firsthand experience with some of Nolan Bushnell's work. He's known by many as the father of video games, since he created Pong and co-founded Atari. And he may have played a role in one of your birthdays because he started the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain.

Without question, Bushnell left an indelible mark on the 1970s and 1980s.

But in later years he wasn't finished as an entrepreneur, though his more recent accomplishments haven't risen to the level of his earlier career. In 2005, he launched a new restaurant venture, known as uWink Media Bistro, which aimed to lure adults with good food and tabletop video gaming.

That enterprise is still limping along, though its future isn't so bright. And he's no longer involved in some of his other recent ventures, such as casual game advertising business NeoEdge.

But Bushnell is hardly finished. He recently rejoined the board of directors of Atari, which has gone through years of deep struggles, and likely exists today only because of its valuable brand name. Bushnell said he thinks that the company's existing intellectual property, as well as new, experienced, management has put it on a path to new success.

And this week, he spoke at the Oredev conference in Malmo, Sweden, sharing his vision of the future of software and focusing on 10 areas that he thinks will shape the world of technology and culture in general: auto-cars, personal robots, health, bio implants, identity, government, swarm computing, augmented education, augmented reality, and power net.

Yesterday, Bushnell sat down for a 45 Minutes on IM interview with CNET, sharing his view of that software future, as well as commenting on watching what he termed the "drug addiction and jail" years that the punch-drunk Atari has gone through.

Q: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview. I understand that you've recently rejoined the Atari board of directors.
Bushnell: I have been on the board for about 4 months

Why did you want to get involved with them again?
Bushnell: There will always be a soft spot in my heart for my old company and I think that though it has been terribly abused in the last 20-plus years it still has a lot of great intellectual property, and I think it has a potential to become a significant player again.

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