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As Metaverse has started to take the gambling world by storm, Atari, the video game publisher responsible for such iconic titles as Asteroids, Space Invaders, Ms. Pacman, Frogger and “Pong,” arguably the first-ever commercially successful video game, is hoping to create and capture the same type of 21st century relevance it enjoyed in the 20th.
Atari, founded in 1972, has, a generation or two later, become an active participant, developer, and digital land-owner across the Decentraland metaverse, along with experimenting in other virtual worlds.
The original gaming pioneer is among the first organizations making moves in the experiential virtual world space, embracing the burgeoning crypto sector, and has even created a blockchain division to leverage the rich opportunities and synergies it sees between the gaming and cryptocurrency industries. The goal of the new division is to establish and further develop the company’s cryptocurrency, the “Atari Token” $ATRI, an ERC20 token running on Ethereum, as well as win the hearts, minds, and spend of a new generation of digital-first consumers. The company is particularly keen to target the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) market, and has partnered with blockchain gaming platform Enjin to launch NFTs from digital fashion house The Fabricant. Through the partnership with Enjin, developers will also be able to create Atari-branded blockchain games via licensing agreements, increasing the company’s brand awareness among metaverse-natives.
At the core of Atari's digital world ambitions are the plots of lands the company has leased on an initial two-year term inside the virtual land and metaverse platform Decentraland’s Vegas City neighborhood. As an anchor tenant, Atari plans to build and open a virtual casino in Vegas City featuring Atari-themed games. Inside, players can explore the branded casino and search for the gaming company’s exclusive wearables located throughout the casino. To counter high gas fees on the Ethereum blockchain, the project will use Polygon’s so-called “Layer 2” solution.
Effectively, Atari is testing the new digital waters to see how their portfolio of branded Atari properties could be developed into a range of social and monetary metaverse opportunities. Because the game publisher has been around for half a century, they are able to attract a slightly hodler crowd to the blockchain and the metaverse. Being a trusted, heritage brand gives the company an advantage. Atari has also begun rolling out its new IRL $400 VCS gaming console, which can run classic Atari games and modern PC games, stream video apps and even has a web browser. More importantly for crypto fans, as a result of these added capabilities and despite its purposefully retro appearance, it can also be used as a node to validate blockchain transactions.
The article originally appeared in the PSFK iQ Report, Brand Strategies For The Metaverse.