Where you get high scores... or snores
Atari, one of the most legendary gaming brands in the world, is apparently looking to make inroads IRL. The company announced on January 24th that it had put together a licensing agreement with US real estate developer True North Studio and hospitality management company GSD Group to build a number of Atari-branded hotels throughout the United States. According to the press release, the company is aiming to construct hotels in 8 cities, including Phoenix, AZ, Austin, TX, Chicago, IL, Denver, CO, Las Vegas, NV, San Francisco, CA, San Jose, CA, and Seattle, WA. The first property is scheduled to break ground in 2020 in Phoenix, near Steve Wozniak’s Woz U, which harbors a plethora of tech-minded customers who might just be interested in hanging out at such a venue. Of course, Wozniak is the co-founder of Apple.
Each hotel will seek to “focus on the video game universe and the Atari brand” throughout the property. Amenities will include an “esports studio,” though it is not yet clear if that means the company is looking to host esports events, or simply appeal to esports fans. Atari “gaming playgrounds”, presumably featuring the brand’s most famous and iconic games, are also planned, as are meeting and coworking spaces, restaurants, bars, a movie theater, gym, and even a bakery. It is important to note that as the deal is a licensing agreement, Atari will probably not have any direct design input, though it will still receive 5% of the hotels’ revenue.
Interestingly, this is not actually Atari’s first foray into the world of architecture and design. In 2017’s Blade Runner 2049, which was heralded as a design masterpiece, a car can be seen driving through a canyon of two massive Atari Logos reminiscent of the facades of skyscrapers. Atari also famously appeared in 1982’s Blade Runner, where the unmistakable logo can be seen as Harrison Ford’s character Rick Deckard walks along the street in a dystopian Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Atari has been weathering a tough period, as its rumored retro console, the Atari VCS, appears to be delayed, if not entirely canceled. Back on October 4th, 2019, Atari system architect Rob Wyatt resigned from the project. He told The Register “Atari hasn’t paid invoices going back over six months” to his design company. Atari was no doubt hoping to cash in on the retro gaming craze which saw retro-style consoles from Nintendo and Sony garnering massive sales numbers.