Atari Enters the World of Hotels and Event Venues

What do you get when you combine the power of the Atari video game-centered brand name with the multi-billion dollar hotel industry? As of today, we may find out the answer to such an interesting rhetorical question.

Today, Atari announced a deal with the GSD Group, an innovation and strategy agency, to land the rights to build video-game themed Atari Hotels in the United States. The first such hotel will begin construction in Phoenix, Arizona later this year, around mid-2020.

Atari hotel illustration

Atari hotel illustration (Image from: Atari)

Naturally, you might be curious what might make such a hotel different from other hotels. Atari seems to have every intention to leverage their legacy in games, so there’s no doubt this hotel will pursue the vast and broadening video game-playing market. Atari intends to offer interactive entertainment experiences, including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences, while some of the hotels will offer event venues and studios for esports events. Given the overall growth in esports, new venues to accommodate these events and their attendees will likely be in demand.

The hotel development and design is spearheaded by Shelly Murphy’s GSD Group and Napoleon Smith III. Napolean Smith III is the producer of the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film franchise reboot. In terms of the first Atari hotel in Phoenix, True North Studio, a local-to-Phoenix real estate developer — alongside GSD Group with Steve Wozniak’s Woz Innovation Foundation — will develop the first Atari-branded hotel.

Success in the hotel business is difficult to predict, given that so many factors that influence the growth and profitability of the hotel industry. However, some trend-tracking blogs seem to suggest that, in the near future at least, more immersive experiences, “digitalization” of hotel stays, and powerful branding will make a difference. How well Atari hotels reflect these trends may determine their success in a broad market, from young to older event- and hotel-goers.

From the official news release, Atari’s CEO said:

“We are thrilled to partner with GSD Group and True North Studio to build the first-ever Atari branded hotels across the United States. Together we’ll build a space that will be much more than just a place to stay,” said Fred Chesnais, CEO of Atari. “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.”

Beyond the first of the hotels in Phoenix, additional Atari hotels are in the works for Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, and San Jose.

Given the decades-long association of the Atari brand with gaming, coupled with the intersection between that brand, hotels, esports, other events (logically gaming events, in particular), this project should be interesting to follow as it reaches fruition, starting with Phoenix. For gamers, esports tournament and event planners, if an Atari hotel is “super cool” to stay at, it would be a testament to its succees — and even moreso if their Pong veteran-older friends and family want to do so too.

For more information about Atari Hotels, visit www.atarihotels.com.

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