Atari doesn't have the cultural cachet it used to. After an industry-crashing downfall in the '80s, the video game pioneer has been unable to find its niche, and recently, its oft-delayed retro console has had a troubled development. Atari hopes to find some success by lending what gaming cred it has left to the hospitality industry. The company signed a contract that see Atari license its name and branding to a real estate developer, which will build eight hotels across the US. The first location will break ground this year in Phoenix. Others in Austin, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle will follow.
The main draw of the Atari hotels will likely be their esports studios. There are no details about what these will include, but each hotel will also have an "Atari gaming playground." Assuming the esports studios are venues where pros compete, the "playgrounds" could be lounges for guests that are equipped with gaming PCs. The hotels will have a few accoutrements outside of the standard pool and gym -- restaurants, bars, bakeries and movie theaters will also be part of each building.
Since this is a licensing deal, Atari likely won't have any direct hand in the design or features of these hotels, but it does stand to make some money -- the company will receive five percent of the hotels' revenue. Atari has also received an advance of $600,000 for licensing the brand to the developer, which seems paltry for such a large project.
It seems like the most noteworthy accomplishment Atari has had in the recent past is having its logo featured in Blade Runner 2049, so hopefully this admittedly odd strategy works out for the legendary company. The contract states that Atari retains the rights to develop similar properties, so if these hotels are a success, we could see more establishments in the future.