Hotel announcements are nothing new around here, especially recently. But Monday brought word of a different kind of Seattle hospitality business, one that might draw guests who usually hole up in the dark depths of arcades and basements.
Atari, the legendary gaming brand that gave us Pong, revealed that it will team up with a strategy and innovation firm to bring video game-themed hotels to eight U.S. cities, including one in Seattle. Atari Hotels will house “fully immersive experiences for every age and gaming ability, including the latest in VR and AR (Virtual and Augmented Reality),” according to a press release. Atari and GSD Group will also outfit some of them with venues to host e-sports events.
Don’t dust off those classic consoles just yet. An Atari Hotels spokesperson wrote that the Seattle site is in the early planning stages; an exact location and projected debut date are still being worked out. But it’s safe to say that it won’t be finished for a while. The first hotel will open in Phoenix, likely in 2021, according to the spokesperson.
Though casual observers may think Asteroids when they hear Atari, the hotels will aim to capitalize on both nostalgia and a more modern surge in gaming, especially in e-sports. (Check out the 100,00-square-foot Esports Stadium Arlington in Texas if you’re skeptical.) Movie-themed and other novel hotels may also be a way for more traditional hospitality players to fend off short-term rental options.
Whether or not Atari’s latest line of business ultimately works out, Seattle, with its ample arcades and thriving tech scene, seems like a natural guinea pig for the retro brand. Austin, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and San Jose round out the list of initial locations.