Atari to open gaming hotels with Esport arenas and VR game rooms in Phoenix, US

One of the original gaming brands, Atari is back! Their latest venture is to make Esports a luxe experience, with video game themed hotels.

Atari video game hotel render
The first Atari hotel will begin construction in Phoenix this year. Image: Atari

Atari nostalgia

The Atari history is a chequered one, with the brand name changing hands several times since it first launched in 1972.

As a brand name, those of us of a certain age will be very familiar with it. And that is what they are relying on!

Atari was one of the biggest arcade game brands back in the 70s and 80s. Their games include iconic titles including Space Invaders, Pong and of course the Atari 2600 console.

We haven’t heard a lot from Atari in recent years, but yesterday they announced their new strategy. What a pivot!

Gaming hotels

The brand has collaborated with GSD Group, which is an ‘innovation and strategy agency’. GSD is led by Shelly Murphy and partners with Napoleon Smith III. Smith is best known for producing the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.

As a concept, building hotels designed specifically for gaming makes sense. The Esport industry is growing rapidly, and with new AR and VR gaming breaking new ground it stands to reason that the associated commerce market has an exponential capacity for growth.

Atari hotels will be styled as video game destinations. Hotel entertainment will provide ‘fully immersive experiences for every age’ with VR and AR games. Some Atari hotels will also be home to venues and studios to host Esport events.

Their first hotel is due to begin construction in Phoenix, Arizona this year. Their further plans include hotels in Austin, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle. That is an ambitious construction plan!

Fred Chesnais, Atari CEO, says:

“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.”

Arlington Esports Stadium
Arlington Esports Stadium is the largest dedicated arena in the US. Image: Sports Video

Esports commerce

Atari is reliant on brand recognition to make its new hotels a success. As an iconic brand name, Atari is certainly well known, but it remains to be seen whether this resonates with the younger gaming demographic.

They estimate that the gaming market is worth $152.1 billion, with almost 10% year on year increase. With 2.5 billion gamers in the world, and tens of thousands traveling to watch the largest live gameplay events, there does seem to be a marketplace for Esports travel.

Whether their arenas will be able to compete is also not yet known.

The Esports Stadium Arlington is the largest gaming arena in the States. It covers 100,000 square feet and cost $10 million to build. In the UK, Esport events have been held at venues including Wembley Stadium and the Royal Opera House.

Whether Atari can build something on this scale will be the deciding factor on whether their gaming hotels will be home to some of the bigger events. However, for the everyday gamer, I think the idea will make for the perfect alternative holiday – and perhaps the chance to feel like an Esports superstar if only for the weekend!

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