Atari is one of those Japanese companies that, despite the fact that it doesn't really seem to do anything anymore, somehow manages to keep crop up in the headlines from time to time. It's like the Hitachi of video game manufacturers — once a global powerhouse but now a radically altered company from what it once was.
Nonetheless, Atari will always have its legendary name, logo and heritage to trade on, whether they're developing video games for other consoles (which they still do) or promising limited retro consoles that are capable of breaking crowdfunding websites. As such, anything they do tends to garner attention.
However the company now seems to have its sights set on an entirely different avenue of the gaming market, announcing that eight Atari-branded hotels will be opening in major US cities over the next couple of years — all of them with a distinct gaming theme, of course.
The concept of a gaming hotel, in essence a place where one can go to stay indoors while on holiday, seems at first glance to be largely counter-intuitive. But they're becoming an increasingly big business and proving popular amongst those who use gaming as their primary means of social interaction. Japan opened its first dedicated Esports hotel in Osaka last year, primarily to cater for the increasing number of would-be gaming pros who descend on the city to compete in tournaments.
It would appear that Atari is all-too-keen to corner off America's burgeoning gaming hospitality sector for itself. All eight hotels will have the facilities to support Esports players, while they'll also boast "gaming playgrounds," which some speculate will act as gaming areas, separate from the Esports rooms, for more casual players.
According to Engadget, the hotels will also "have a few accoutrements outside of the standard pool and gym — restaurants, bars, bakeries and movie theatres will also be part of each building."
Of course, breakfast is included too.
It's worth noting at this point that Atari, who as we mentioned had to crowdfund the development of a retro gaming console, isn't building these hotels out of their own pocket. Rather they've sold the licence to a real estate developer for both an up-front fee and a 5% cut of each hotels' profits.
According to reports, Atari's first branded hotel will open in Phoenix, with Austin, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle branches all to follow.