As part of its ongoing effort to put its once-meaningful logo on everything in existence, the shambling corpse of Atari today announced that it has licensed the rights for its brand to a group of real estate developers planning to construct as many as eight Atari-themed hotels across these United States. Construction on the first official Atari Hotel will break ground in Phoenix, Arizona sometime this summer. It might look like the image above, which was included with the official press release.
Responsible for this new initiative is a company called GSD Group, which has no website as far as I’ve been able to find. GSD Group is an “innovation and strategy group” founded by someone named Shelly Murphy and someone else named Napoleon Smith III, the latter of which has a producer credit on those CGI Ninja Turtles movies that came out a few years ago. The press release refers to these movies as “wildly successful,” and that struck me as so impossible that I absolutely had to verify for myself, but it’s true apparently — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) grossed $493 million on a $150 million budget, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016) made $245 million on a $135 million budget. Somehow, this leads me to believe that people may actually want to stay in an Atari-themed hotel in the year 2020.
Atari Hotels will have “fully immersive experiences for every age and gaming ability, including the latest in VR and AR,” according to the press release. “Select hotels will also feature state-of-the-art venues and studios to accommodate esports events,” but no indication is given as to which locations might be selected for such features. In addition to the first location in Phoenix, GSD Group has plans to build these things in Austin, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle. So far though, only the Phoenix location has officially been announced as going forward with construction, so I’m going to assume that these other cities are a wishful list of possibilities, rather than anything even remotely locked down. Las Vegas seems like a good match, though.
For its part of the bargain, Atari will get five percent of the revenue generated by these hotels, in addition to a $600,000 advance that it’s already received. This tracks with the rest of Atari’s modern business practices, which revolve entirely around putting the Atari logo on things that no one asked for or wants.
I live in Austin, so if they do build one here, I’ll try and
con my bosses into paying for me to stay at one do some boots-on-the-ground journalism covering the experience of actually staying at one. How many strains of pink eye can I expect to contract from the VR zone? What does an Atari-themed continental breakfast look like? How much will they charge for wifi, and will said wifi be good enough to handle my Destiny 2 dailies? What in God’s name is the pool going to be shaped like? By “Austin,” do they actually mean “that barren stretch of highway 71 on the way to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport?” Only time will tell.