Atari is leveraging high-definition (HD) telepresence solutions from Polycom, a leader in telepresence, video and voice communication solutions, to help unite globally dispersed teams for more effective collaboration, accelerated decision-making, lower costs and improved work/life balance for employees.
Atari is a global producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment software for all market segments and all interactive game platforms. The company’s extensive catalog of popular games is based on original franchises, publishing properties, international licenses, and classic games covering the entire history of the video game industry including Pong, Missile Command and Asteroids.
Atari relies on Polycom standards-based telepresence solutions, which provide an UltimateHD™ experience – HD video, HD voice and HD multimedia content-sharing capabilities – which allows teams to not only see and hear each other in life-like clarity, but also share multimedia content, like full-motion graphics from games, in HD.
“Using HD video conferencing provides a more intimate experience and brings us closer together as a company,” said Roland Lesterlin, an Atari product development manager. “As we’ve rolled out our Polycom HD telepresence solution, users have been very impressed with the ease of use, the video and audio quality and the content sharing capabilities. There is real value in seeing real-time facial reactions of their colleagues and the ability to share our work in real-time is changing how we collaborate as a company.”
The catalyst for deploying Polycom HD telepresence systems was to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of critical “green light” meetings, where decisions about video game development are made. The important and often lengthy meetings connect executives and staff from all over the world.
“It’s vital to get all of the executives together in one location to make sure the whole company is on the same page,” said Lesterin, whose team was tasked with finding a solution. “But in an international company that can be a challenge. In the end, a technical solution, Polycom telepresence, proved to be a very effective solution.”
The Atari IT team was asked to improve the quality of the interactions and presentations during the green light meetings, in a cost-effective manner. Atari had been using legacy video conferencing systems from Polycom to reduce the travel required for green light meetings and realised that a move to Polycom HD telepresence solutions would be ideal for facilitating life-like communications and collaboration through the UltimateHD experience.
“Presentations during the meetings now include demonstrations of games, viewing of HD-quality images, videos, and reviews of builds that are going through the alpha and beta stages,” said Atari IT Manager Arnaldo Espinal.
“One selling point of video games is the visual quality, especially with HD becoming ubiquitous in the home,” says Lesterlin. “Being able to present these games in HD during the green light meetings is an important part of accurately assessing whether or not it is a game to move forward with.”
The effectiveness of the visual communication experience is producing benefits beyond improved interaction during the green light meetings. Lesterlin also reports benefits in creative collaboration. “We have producers in locations around the world working with our developers, and these people are integral to the creative process. Polycom telepresence allows a virtual in-person communication that is necessary for any creative development. As we use the systems more and more on a daily basis, it improves the quality of our creativity.”
In addition, Atari is also realising significant savings in travel costs, by cutting travel and holding the meetings over video. The reduced travel is also helping provide better work/life balance for Atari employees.
“In the video game industry, many executives are relatively young and often starting families, and the prolonged separation of travel impacts work/life balance,” said Lesterlin. “Everyone wants to spend more time with their families and Polycom telepresence has absolutely helped in that area by keeping people off planes and closer to home.”
Upgrading its network of standard-based Polycom video solutions, Atari has deployed Polycom’s HDX 9000™ and HDX 8000™ telepresence systems at sites in New York, London and Lyon and Paris, France. It has also deployed a Polycom RMX 1000™ real-time media conferencing platform to enable multisite conferences.
“Atari is benefitting greatly from its relationship with Polycom and we look forward to continuing our partnership into the future,” says Lesterlin. “We are beginning to use the video systems to facilitate any situation that requires both a presentation and voice. Sitting at a desk on a phone conference, you don’t have the same interaction and the same response time as you do when you can actually see your client or colleague."