Atari meets blockchain: a half-century journey from Silicon Valley to the metaverse.
Earlier this month, Atari restructured its business, creating two separate divisions: Atari Gaming and Atari Blockchain. The announcement came after years of development in this area, as Atari publicly expressed interest in cryptoassets in early 2018.
In his foreword to the white paper on Atari tokens, Atari CEO Frederic Chesne highlights the progressive decentralization of the gaming industry as supporting the video game giant’s strategic movement. “Atari stands for Revolution, Technology and Entertainment. When I started working on blockchain and cryptocurrencies, I immediately thought about creating a virtual currency that could be used in any video game. “, – wrote Chesne.
Launched in Fall 2020, the Atari Token ($ ATRI) aims to “set the benchmark for the interactive entertainment industry.” The first use case for the token is in a crypto casino, where players can play blockchain-based virtual games. Described by Reuters as a “meta-universe” bet, Atari has already entered into a two-year lease of virtual land with Decentraland, a popular Ethereum-based virtual world. After licensing its own retro arcade game, Atari celebrated the launch of the Decentraland Casino with over $ 10,000 in prize money and a performance by platinum artist Dillon Francis.
In a growing economy with limited land, currency, items, and gaming services, Decentraland and colleagues are blurring the lines between reality and the virtual world. According to a Coindesk article, Atari’s in-game rival Decentral Games began hiring employees for its virtual casino back in February this year.
More broadly, Atari seems to share the zeitgeist for cryptoassets, demonstrated by the rapid growth of DeFi, or decentralized finance. Chesnais continues in his foreword: “Like many others, Atari fully supports the idea of finance without borders. This is why the number of people actively using cryptocurrency is steadily growing and approaching the psychological level of 50 million. Indeed, unlike traditional free market privatization, Atari’s blockchain initiatives seem to cover publicly available virtual assets owned by players.
Atari cites upcoming trends supporting its investment in Atari Token, echoing stories that have already been seen at the wheel of DeFi. According to their white paper, the number of people with Internet access will quickly decline from 4.5 billion to 8 billion. Many of these newbies to the Internet will have less secure credentials than existing users. These “under-paper and / or underserved individuals” do not have access to financial systems that offer economic improvements that can be mitigated by the evolving DeFi ecosystem. Atari also cites declining hardware costs, rising self-learning rates, and replacing prohibitively expensive financial services with increasingly reliable smart contracts. Each of these stories confirms Atari’s claim of “a global mega-trend: the emergence of smart online platforms that offer the future of work.”
“We foresee an explosion of online platforms that offer tasks through smart contracts, using cryptocurrencies as a utility token that serves as a channel of value or a medium of exchange,” says Atari. For those who are already following the trends of crypto assets, this is not a bold statement – this is already a reality. The real question is, which tokens have real “utility”? Also, what prices, if any, of tokens will reflect value not only for the utility of tokens, but also as a generally accepted “medium of exchange” resulting from the network effects of mass adoption? With a long-standing debate over which cryptoassets best serve the money, Atari Token’s rewarding ambitions beyond supporting video game platforms will not materialize overnight the next day.
Overall, however, we believe that Atari Token can make some progress in the crypto ecosystem. With a long-term people-centered strategy in line with the broader ethos of decentralization across the blockchain, Atari’s brand leadership and reputation could make its $ ATRI token an indispensable part of the fast-emerging gaming metaverse. Ultimately, cryptoassets depend on community consensus. If the Atari Token demonstrates effective governance, trust, performance and integration while fueling the next generation gaming experience for which the brand was once known, the best may yet be to come for Atari’s legendary history.