business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The New York Times reports that Atari - the video game pioneer that came up with Pong and Asteroids - is getting into the hotel business.

The story says that Atari soon will "begin construction on its first-ever video-game themed hotel," promising "a lodging experience that combines a one-of-a-kind video-game themed destination with immersive virtual and augmented reality experiences."

There will, apparently, be more than one of them. The first will be in Phoenix, with additional properties planned for Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Austin, Seattle San Francisco, and San Jose.

The company says that the plan is "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 rooms with be futuristic and some will be retro; "some locations will have state-of-the-art venues and studios to accommodate e-sports events."

Three comments:

First, I have to be honest - a video game-themed hotel sounds pretty much like hell to me.

Second, I'm surprised that Atari is still around, much less expanding into new areas. (If you'd asked me, I would have bet that Atari went out of business years ago. Who knew?)

Third … I'm guessing that this may end up being very successful. (In part because I find it so foreign to my existence.) The video game and e-sports world is large and, best I can tell, getting larger … and so it makes sense for Atari to find new ways to cater to its customers, new ways to build enthusiasm for its ecosystem.

It is an interesting approach … identify your sweet spot - that place where your brand equity has the greatest currency with customers - and figure out ways it can be expanded into new and potentially lucrative categories.

It'll end up being an Eye-Opener. But as Dorothy Parker once said, "What fresh hell can this be?"
KC's View: