Atari to open video-game themed hotels for fans of retro console classics

Atari, the brand known for pioneering video games like Pong, Space Invaders and RollerCoaster Tycoon, is taking its business in a new direction: hotels.

In a move that underlines the popularity of esports, the demands of its growing audience and how video games are escaping the bounds of their consoles, Atari announced on Monday that it would begin construction on its first-ever video game themed hotel.

The company, which was created in 1972, promises a lodging experience that combines a one-of-a-kind video game-themed destination with immersive virtual and augmented reality experiences, according to its statement.

The idea came about when GSD Group, a company that works with so-called legacy brands, and Napoleon Smith III, an executive producer of the recent “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” films, began thinking about Atari last fall and eventually presented the company with the idea for a hotel, Shelly Murphy, the founder of GSD Group said.

Murphy said the plan was to create an “ecosystem” in which players could “eat, sleep and play,” though the size of the hotels would vary depending on the market and region.

Some hotel rooms will have a retro video game theme while others may have a futuristic design, she said, adding, “Our hope is that you come in and never want to leave because there’s a lot of interaction.”

Construction of the first hotel, in Phoenix, will begin this fall and is expected to be completed in 18 to 24 months, she said.

Additional hotels are planned for Las Vegas; Denver; Chicago; Austin, Texas; Seattle; San Francisco; and San Jose, California, the statement said. Some locations will have state-of-the-art venues and studios to accommodate esports events.

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