Following a difficult year for Atari, the company is once again at the drawing board, dropping its cryptocurrency casino website and hospitality business for the sake of premium gaming.
Premium Gaming to Take Front Seat in Atari’s Strategy
Atari’s announcement in 2020 that it would launch a crypto casino looked like a drowning man grasping for straws. The concept wasn’t entirely flawed – and perhaps it wasn’t flawed at all. However, the idea of having a once reputable gaming giant venture into the crypto space just to endorse gambling was a little at odds with what true fans expected from the company.
Atari was, at the time, implementing a two-pronged approach, with one focusing on the crypto business and one on the hospitality business. The latter was designed to establish a number of hotels dedicated to video gamers. The first such property, equipped with the company’s VR arcades, would have arrived in Las Vegas this year, but the pandemic has expectedly shaken things up, and Atari is once again redrawing its plans.
Crypto gambling and hospitality are no longer on the agenda, and the company announced the changes during a board of directors meeting on July 1 when members voted against continuing with the 2020 strategy. Instead, Atari is going to focus on developing more premium games for consoles and PC while stepping out of the free-to-play segment that the company now plans to either sell or discontinue.
No More Crypto Gambling and Free Games by Atari
Atari Casino, the company’s dedicated iGaming casino, will most likely have to shut down, as well, although there is still lingering uncertainty over the company’s hospitality and crypto businesses. The casino was launched in 2020 and coincided with the release of the ATRI token and an attempt by the company to expand into the blockchain space as a way of boosting revenue.
Commenting on developments, Atari’s board of directors argued that the demand for premium games would bring the company a higher value and, more importantly, it would coincide better with its original mission statement.
The Atari Hotel is most likely not happening until such a time that Atari can find a way to boost its results and create products that it can leverage successfully. Company CEO Wade J. Rosen supported the board’s position, arguing, “Our intent with any gaming experience is to provide accessible and joyful moments of meaningful play. That’s the core of Atari and what binds our history with our future.”
“To that end, we feel that premium gaming is a better representative of this type of gaming experience and the Atari DNA. Despite this new focus on premium gaming, we remain committed to growing and expanding the successful free-to-play games that we have in the market,” Rosen added.
Atari will discontinue or put up for sale a number of proprietary games developed as free-to-play titles, including Crystal Castles, Ninja Golf, Atari Combat: Tank Fury and others. The company is planning to launch its first premium game later this year which will set the tone for the other changes coming to the company and its products.