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Pac Man your bags: Atari is launching a video game-themed hotel

The themed hospitality destination is about to get an ’80s-inspired extra life.

Pac Man your bags: Atari is launching a video game-themed hotel
[Image: courtesy of Atari Hotels]

Who: Atari

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What: Atari-themed hotels

Why We Care: Atari-themed hotels are coming soon to eight cities near you. Yes, the gaming giant best known for its ’70s and ’80s video games, money woes, and those ET games they buried in the desert over 30 years ago is on the comeback train with another unique concept. The brand announced a partnership with GSD Group, on Tuesday, to build video game-themed Atari hotels in the United States, with the first location breaking ground in Phoenix later this year.

The hotels will provide an immersive entertainment experience that will follow hospitality trends, but with a focus on the video game world. It promises a state-of-the-art esports studio and a movie theater, along with all the fare families, business travelers, and convention attendees (aka gaming nerds) love.

“If you look at the video game landscape in the past decade, it’s been ruled by Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo. Atari, while a legendary name, hasn’t made very many innovations in the video game space in recent years. This move to develop gaming-centric hotels takes advantage of their name and targets a generation who grew up playing Atari consoles and games and are nostalgic for everything retro,” says Quibian Salazar-Moreno, gaming journalist and managing editor of GameCrate.com. “If you look at how successful retro things are nowadays—like Stranger Things—why not take advantage?”

This is a new concept that takes Atari back to its roots as innovators in the gaming world, in what could be a promising move. More than 2.5 billion gamers worldwide spent over $152.1 billion in 2019, an increase of almost 10%. According to Atari, one of the most distinctive trends in gaming is gamers being drawn toward recognizable intellectual property. This could be the perfect marriage of two booming industries—gaming and travel—with gamers flocking for obvious reasons, and travel enthusiasts looking for their next big Instagrammable moment.

“In addition to targeting an older generation, this move by Atari is also keeping things current by catering to the esports phenomenon. While there are a handful of esports venues in cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles, most of the time, organizers have to take a music venue, sports arena, even a hotel conference room and make it work for video games,” Salazar-Moreno tells Fast Company. “With these Atari hotels being built with esports in mind, it makes it easier for organizers to set things up. With video game leagues like the Overwatch League starting to have home games in cities across the country, hosting a tournament at an Atari hotel seems only right. Esports is an excellent investment and Atari is jumping in at the right time.”

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The Atari hotels plan to expand to such cities as Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, and San Jose. Prepare to Pac Man your bags!

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