Atari helped lay the foundation for the home console industry, bringing many arcade classics into your living room. We’ve watched the the once monolithic gaming giant steer the course of the industry to shifting focus from hardware to software, and bringing many of their legendary games to an even broader audience than ever before.
Now Atari has set out to change the gaming landscape once again, but this time it’ll be through–wait for it–the hospitality industry, of all things. Recently Atari Inc struck a deal with both GSD Group and True North Studio to construct eight video game-themed hotels here in the United States, starting sometime in Spring of 2020.
Construction for the first Atari Hotel will take place in Phoenix this year, with Austin, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle all announced as subsequent destination sites. Future dates for their construction have yet to be revealed, but we’ll keep you posted as more information is announced.
So what can we expect from an Atari Hotel, exactly?
They don’t want this to be your normal run-of-the-mill hotel experience, by any means, and their hope is that this will be “much more than just a place to stay.” How about fully immersive and dedicated rooms for virtual- and augmented-reality?
Atari also announced they would be offering state-of-the-art venues and studios to accommodate e-sporting events which will bring in a ravenous and dedicated crowd of gamers from all over the world to host their live events.
Given the Atari branding and gaming-focus they’re driving at with their new line of hotels, turning traditional bars into barcades seems relatively simple and an obvious draw even outside their other amenities. We wouldn’t be surprised to see drinks based on the likes of Asteroids, Pong, Tempest and Missile Command with their respective cabinets off on a nearby wall ready to be played.
In addition to offering up a unique gaming experience, as well as a trip down memory lane, Atari Hotels will be offering the basic accommodations most hotel-goers are accustomed to: Dine-in restaurants, meeting rooms and work-spaces for busy, on-the-go types, a gym to stay in shape as you prepare yourself for hours of attempts to beat someone’s high score, a full-on movie theater, and much more.
This is for everybody to come and experience something that is vintage and retro and nostalgic. It’s almost Atari, meets Disney, meets e-sports, meets augmented reality/virtual reality.Shelly Murphy, GSD Group Founder
Atari Inc isn’t the first company to dabble with the idea of having a hotel focused squarely around videos games. Throughout the 2010s, a number of hotels manifested with similar concepts, though none of them with the backing of branding of a company as well known as Atari.
The Arcade Hotel in Amsterdam, which opened back in 2016, has piqued the interest of a lot of people looking to travel to the Netherlands. Not only does the Arcade Hotel have plenty of rooms centered fully around gaming, with groups of friends and family with consoles and handhelds to be found everywhere, but they also dabble in toys and comics as well.
Multiple TVs and desktops, pre-loaded and ready to go with plenty of games and horsepower behind them, can be found in the rooms here. It’s every nerd’s fantasy.
There’s also the iHotel, located in Taoyuan District of Taiwan. One look at the battle stations they have geared up and ready to be played on and it’s obvious this isn’t your normal hotel. Each and every room comes with two side-by-side, powerful gaming PC’s so you and someone else can enjoy hopping into a few matches online together.
While we would absolutely be delighted to travel around seeing all the beautiful sites, it may be difficult given everything we can enjoy indoors too.
This spring, we’ll be seeing the grand opening of e-ZONe Denno Kukan in Osaka, Japan: A massive eight story cyberspace that’s absolutely dedicated to e-sports. Its location in the downtown Nipponbashi district, where both Capcom and SNK reside, make this a premier location for anyone fine-tuning their skills as they prepare for EVO Japan each year.
The first three floors are nothing but high-end gaming PC’s ready for live-streaming. The other five floors are where your actual rooms and accommodations will be located.
We look forward to seeing how their opening goes and what the future holds for the establishment. With Nintendo and Universal both opening Super Nintendo World and Atari now opening a line of hotels, one has to wonder if Microsoft or Sony may be thinking about branching out beyond the gaming sphere themselves?
It’ll be interesting to see how all of this develops and what other major contenders may weigh-in in the future, given the potential behind this relatively untapped market. The staff here at The Game Manual will eventually have to take a trip out to one of these and let you know how our experience went.