Atari used to be a big name in the gaming world, but ever since the video game crash of 1983-85, the pioneering game company has had trouble finding a new niche. Even its crowdfunded retro console, which was supposed to be released last year, has experienced difficulties coming to market due to a series of delays and revisions in development. (PCmag.com says the Atari VCS is slated to start shipping in March 2020 starting at $249, and will let you play 100 classic pre-installed Atari games in addition to modern PC games.)
Hospitality and Gaming
Now, in a surprise move, Atari hopes to find success by entering the hospitality industry. Atari announced in a press release on January 27, 2020, that the company had signed a contract to license its name and branding to a developer that will build eight hotels in major cities across the US.
The first location will break ground this summer in Phoenix. Others will follow in Austin, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle. Atari released some conceptual artist renderings that show a multi-story hotel with the “Atari” logo on the facade and a rooftop area (see above).
The idea may seem unconventional, and at first you may wonder what a game developer has in common with the hotel business. But come to think about it, the hospitality and gaming industries are actually quite similar – they both focus on entertainment and recreation. Atari Hotels will offer consumers exactly that, marrying the origins of gaming and the future of the booming industry into a fun and unique travel destination that will be much more than just a place to stay.
“Atari is an iconic global brand that resonates with people of all ages, countries, cultures and ethnic backgrounds and we cannot wait for our fans and their families to enjoy this new hotel concept,” Atari CEO Fred Chesnais stated. Hotel development and design is being led by Shelly Murphy, GSD Group CEO, and Napoleon Smith III, producer of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” film franchise reboot.
“When creating this brand-new hotel concept, we knew that Atari would be the perfect way to give guests the ‘nostalgic and retro meets modern’ look and feel we were going for. Let’s face it, how cool will it be to stay inside an Atari?!” said Napoleon Smith III.
“If you grew up with Atari and it’s nostalgic for you and you want to sit at an arcade game, it’s there. If you are an e-sports and active gamer, we’ll have a studio and a venue and that will be there for you. It’s kind of like Atari meets Disney meets e-sports, and immersive entertainment all in one,” Murphy told KNXV-TV and ABC15.
The Atari hotels will have retro-themed and futuristic rooms, standard hotel amenities such as a pool and gym, as well as restaurants, bakeries, bars, and movie theaters – and each hotel will feature an e-sports arena and an “Atari gaming playground.”
According to Engadget, “The main draw of the Atari hotels will likely be their esports studios. Assuming the esports studios are venues where pros compete, the ‘playgrounds’ could be lounges for guests that are equipped with gaming PCs.” The hotels will also offer state-of-the-art AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) experiences for every age and gaming ability, as mentioned in the press release.
The Future of Atari Gaming Hotels
The first Atari hotel will be built somewhere in the Roosevelt Arts District near Central and Roosevelt in downtown Phoenix. If all goes according to plan, it will open within the next two or three years, according to Murphy. “We’re planning on moving fairly quickly on the project,” she said.
The contract states that Atari retains the rights to develop similar properties, so if these hotels are a success, we could see more establishments in the future. Hopefully this strategy proves successful for the legendary company.
For more information about the future hotels visit www.atarihotels.com.