Atari—yes, Atari—is opening a chain of hotels. Construction on the first hotel is set to begin in Phoenix, Arizona somewhere mid-2020. At least eight hotels are planned to open in cities across the United States, including as Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, and San Jose.
Atari announced its hotel chain via a press release distributed earlier today. "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," states Atari CEO Fred Chesnais.
Indeed, according to the official page, Atari Hotels will be "video game themed" to reflect Atari's history as a trailblazer in the arcade and home console markets. Attractions will include "fully immersive experiences for every age and gaming ability," including virtual reality and augmented reality. I expect there will also be CRT televisions running classics like Asteroids, Pong, and Space Invaders.
Why stop at displays of old games, though? Atari can theoretically go all-out with its hotel chain. Get their horrible, off-brand Pac-Man to chase you down the halls. Unlock your room with a game of Pong. (Extra fun for inebriated guests!) Have the weird duck-dragon from Adventure leer down at you in the honeymoon suite. And guests who fail to pay their bill at the end of their stay will be thrown into a pit, covered with concrete, and crushed like so many unsold cartridges of E.T..
Or Atari Hotels could just implement a preferred members program that tallies up points like a game score. I guess. It's not nearly as much fun as having a dragon in the honeymoon suite, though.
Retro games are big business, and the Atari brand is definitely gunning for a piece of that digital cake. Atari Interactive is working on an "Ataribox" that's supposed to be able to play modern games in addition to Atari's classic catalogue. It's due out this year, though it's been dogged by controversies and delays. We talked to Atari CEO Frederic Chesnais about the challenges Atari's faced getting the retro console to market.