Atari is buying retro game specialist Digital Eclipse

The deal, worth up to $20 million, could help turn Atari become a game preservation powerhouse.

Digital Eclipse/Atari

Atari has agreed to buy developer Digital Eclipse. The acquisition, which is expected to close in the coming days, will be worth up to $20 million based on the performance of Digital Eclipse over the next decade. Atari says that by bringing Digital Eclipse under its wing, it "will be able to further support its retro-focused growth strategy."

Over the last several years, Digital Eclipse has become well-known for its expertise in remastering older titles and releasing them as collections. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection, Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King and the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection are among its more notable projects.

Digital Eclipse caught the attention of many last year with Atari 50: The Anniversary Collection. That well-regarded compilation pulled together dozens of games from across Atari's 50-year history and placed them in context with the help of marketing and development documents, archival footage and new interviews with former Atari employees. Digital Eclipse built on the "interactive documentary" format with this year's release of The Making of Karateka.

It plans to continue with this Gold Master Series preservation project under Atari's umbrella. It will still have the ability to work with third-party developers and publishers, and there are several non-Atari projects in the works that it has yet to announce.

Atari seems to be on a mission to become a powerhouse in retro gaming and game preservation. It also bought Nightdive Studios, a developer that specializes in remasters, and AtariAge (a community and news site that focuses on Atari) this year. In addition, Atari has been snapping up many gaming franchises from the 1980s and 1990s.