The classic video game developer Atari has announced that it is opening eight branded hotels across the country. The retro powerhouse will start with one location in Phoenix and then expand to Austin, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle. Construction on the Phoenix hotel will begin this year with plans to open in 2022.
Atari is working closely with the innovation and strategy agency, GSD Group, to bring the concept to life. GSD Group is led by Shelly Murphy and Napoleon Smith III, who is also the producer of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film franchise reboot.
Murphy and Smith III are leading the design charge for Atari Hotels and have many exciting ideas up their sleeves. Overall, the revolutionary concept will capitalize on both the video game enthusiasm of Millenials and arcade nostalgia of baby boomers.
The Atari Hotel Experience
Atari Hotels will feature immersive gaming experiences for people of all ages and abilities. Each location will include dedicated areas for augmented and virtual reality experiences. They will also have studios for gaming and esports viewing. According to Murphy, some rooms will be designed in a retro style, while others will look more like scenes from “Ready Player One.”
Under the new agreement, GSD Group acquired the rights to build the eight hotels. The strategy firm is the ideal partner for Atari as it specializes in revitalizing legacy brands. For the first location in Phoenix, Atari is also working with the real estate developer, True North Studio, and Steve Wozniak’s Woz Innovation Foundation.
Atari CEO Fred Chesnais appropriately described why Atari’s new vision is exciting for so many. “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’s Bumpy History
Atari’s foray into the hotel development space breathes life into a brand that has had its ups and downs. Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney founded the company in 1972. With Pong as the leading title, Atari exploded onto the scene and popularized in-home console gaming.
In 2013, Atari filed for bankruptcy after decades of battling new-age gaming giants, like Nintendo, Microsoft, and Playstation. Casual PC and mobile gaming also contributed heavily to Atari’s decline through the early 2010s. Chasnais bought Atari shortly after and has since helped revitalize the business.
Today, Atari owns over 200 games and franchises, including the RollerCoaster Tycoon, Pac-Man, and Centipede masterpieces. The company also has a line of online casino games involving virtual and real currency. Through the upcoming Atari VCS console, gamers will be able to play new and classic Atari titles, stream videos and entertainment, develop new TV-based apps, and connect to a broader community and games. Gamers can preorder the Atari VCS today for $389.99.
From Hotels to Theme Parks
Video games are quickly expanding beyond the living room. Major brands are investing in creating novel, real-life experiences based on video game worlds and characters. Earlier this month, Universal Studio Japan announced Super Nintendo World, a theme park built around famous Nintendo titles.
In 2019, over 2.5 billion gamers spent more than $150 billion on video games, which represents a near 10 percent increase over 2018. Additionally, esports are taking off in countries all over the world, and major apparel brands are investing heavily in gaming merchandise. Now appears to be as good a time as any for an Atari-branded hotel.