In the world of gaming, there are few companies with as cherished a brand as Atari. And now, one developer is looking to put the Atari brand on hotels across the U.S.

In a recent statement, Atari said that it has granted naming rights to real estate developer True North Studio to use the brand in eight hotels it's planning to build across the U.S. As part of the deal, Atari was given $600,000 and will receive 5 percent of the revenue the hotels generate.

In a statement, Atari said that True North Studio and its partner GSD Group plan to turn the hotels into opportunities for gamers to do what they do best: Play video games.

The hotels will be designed for family and business travelers alike, and will feature event rooms, meeting rooms, and co-working spaces. Best of all, they'll feature an Atari "gaming playground" to play games, as well as an eSport studio, so visitors can take each other on in a variety of games.

For the developers, it's a move in an interesting, if unorthodox direction. While Atari has plenty of brand recognition in the gaming industry, it hasn't had a major hit in decades. Indeed, Atari's best time in the industry was in the 1980s.

But it's still a recognizable brand--especially among people who grew up during the early days of gaming and who still think back fondly on the companies that ushered in what has become a multibillion-dollar industry.

Whether the Atari move was a good one, however, remains to be seen. There are plenty of gimmicks in the hospitality industry, and some work better than others. For example, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is closing for good next week after a 25-year run. Using Atari might help the developers attract some visitors, but let's not confuse Atari with Nintendo, Sega, Sony, or Microsoft's Xbox. In today's world, they all have far more brand recognition--and in the case of Sega, even more brand loyalty, despite an ill-fated run at consoles.

If nothing else, the Atari hotel idea is a proof of concept to see if similarly themed hotels  capitalizing on popular trends like e-sports can thrive. And if nothing else, it tells us whether there's an opportunity for other bigger and more notable companies to follow suit.

The first Atari hotel will break ground this year in Phoenix. It'll also be coming to Austin, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle, with the possibility of other cities to follow.

Published on: Jan 28, 2020
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