In brief

  • Iconic gaming brand Atari has launched its own cryptocurrency, Atari Token.
  • Atari Token is now available for purchase and will eventually be used for online games and services, including on the new Atari VCS console system.
  • Atari plans to launch online games, a casino, and a betting platform that will use the Atari Token.

Atari is one of the most legendary brands in gaming, popularizing video games in arcades in the 1970s before bringing them into the home with consoles—almost single-handedly creating the industry that Nintendo and others later took over.

It’s been quite some time since Atari was a major player in the traditional games industry, but the brand is in the midst of an attempted renaissance through some distinct avenues: a new Atari VCS console, branded resort hotels, and yes, a cryptocurrency.

Here’s what you need to know about the Atari Token.

What is the Atari Token?

The Atari Token is an Ethereum-based ERC-20 cryptocurrency that is primarily designed to be used as a form of payment for various entertainment services, most notably video games, gambling, and betting platforms.

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Atari currently sells the token to the public and is working to develop services that will actually use it, including online multiplayer games, an online casino, and both sports and esports betting services.

The company has also announced partnerships with other online games and services that plan to implement the Atari Token, providing further opportunities to make use of it.

How does the Atari Token work?

Similar to other cryptocurrencies, the Atari Token is digital money that can be spent in exchange for goods and services on platforms that accept it. As of this writing, the Atari Token is still relatively new and Atari and partners are still developing the games and platforms to use it.

You will be able to purchase the token at an exchange, hold it in a digital wallet, and then spend it within apps and websites that support it.

Like other cryptocurrencies, the Atari Token can also be traded on exchanges that support the token, and Atari is working on launching its own official exchange.

What’s so special about Atari Token?

As of right now, the most special thing about the Atari Token is the name. Granted, Atari hasn’t been a juggernaut in the gaming industry in ages and the name has changed hands over the years, but the brand still means something to a lot of people. It is consumer-friendly branding in a crypto industry that is striving for mainstream inroads.

Atari wants its token to be the de facto cryptocurrency for video games, gambling, and betting-related entertainment experiences. Through a combination of its own upcoming online platforms and partnerships with the creators of other games, apps, and services, Atari hopes to make the Atari Token a widely-used digital currency synonymous with gaming. And as mentioned above, the familiarity of the name could aid with widespread adoption.

What can you do with the Atari Token?

As of this writing, you can buy and sell the Atari Token. That’s about it, unfortunately. Atari has detailed its plans for the future of the Atari Token, but right now the company is focused on building liquidity by selling tokens and convincing exchanges to support it.

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Atari plans to launch an online games portal called Atari Universe, an online Atari Casino, and an Atari Betting platform. The company has also announced partnerships with other app, game, and online service platforms to integrate the Atari Token, such as sports and esports betting platform Unikrn and adult-centric social platform Karma the Game of Destiny.

Arkane Network has also agreed to implement the Atari Token within its decentralized app development platform, potentially leading to its inclusion in future games from other creators.

What is the new Atari VCS?

Alongside Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, Atari will launch its own brand new video game console, the Atari VCS. It looks much like the classic Atari devices from the 1970s and ‘80s, including an optional wood-grain finish, and it even comes with a retro joystick alongside the more modern controller. Atari raised more than $3 million via a pre-order crowdfunding campaign via Indiegogo.

The VCS will play downloadable Atari classics, but it’s not just a throwback machine: it’s like a compact PC, playing new high-definition games as well as streaming video and more. The Atari VCS will integrate the Atari Token, letting owners use the currency to purchase games and pay for services. Additionally, the VCS will include Ultra’s blockchain-based digital games store for purchasing PC games. The Ultra store will also accept Atari Tokens.

Atari has also partnered with Animoca Brands, a major player in crypto games thanks to titles like The Sandbox and F1 Delta Time, to develop blockchain-powered versions of classic Atari games like Asteroids and Centipede. These games will be playable on the VCS.

Atari’s ambitions stretch beyond cryptocurrency and gaming hardware, though; it has visions of turning itself into an entertainment brand on a par with Disney. That includes launching a series of interactive, gaming-themed hotels, with the first expected to open in Las Vegas in 2022. Other planned locales include Phoenix, Chicago, and San Francisco. No word yet on whether you’ll be able to spend your hard-earned Atari Tokens at the Vegas gaming tables, though.

The future of Atari Token

Much of the conversation around the Atari Token is theoretical, as the company has yet to launch the platforms that will actually use the cryptocurrency. Atari’s plans are ambitious, and the new VCS console itself could be instrumental to exposing more and more people to its crypto play, should the VCS hardware prove popular.

Atari also plans to launch a gaming-focused stablecoin, which Bloomberg reports in October 2020 “isn’t close to launch.” It’s unclear how Atari will differentiate use cases for the two tokens within its platforms and ecosystem.

Atari Token’s launch was not, perhaps, the roaring success that the gaming company might have hoped for; the token sale reportedly faced a series of mishaps including order processing glitches and delays in withdrawals. And following its launch, Atari Token’s price plummeted from around $0.25 to a low of $0.04, before recovering to around $0.09.

Atari isn’t the only company launching tokens around the gaming space, either: Animoca has its own tokens, including the GAMEE reward token for hyper-casual games and the REVV token for use in its racing-related games. However, the Atari Token is aimed more broadly to be used as currency within an array of games and services, including by various partners.

The crypto gaming industry packs a lot of potential, and developers are devising ways to create compelling game experiences around concepts like digital asset ownership and “play-to-earn,” along with personalization elements. A game like The Sandbox, for example, has sold through several presales for in-game LAND plots that users can customize and monetize, with both corporate and community “whales” buying large quantities of the digital parcels.

It’s early days for crypto gaming, though, so if Atari can establish its token as the gaming currency to rule them all, it could pay off big down the line. If not, then it could just be another Ethereum-based token that fails to live up to the hype. Atari’s would-be renaissance is relying on the former to return it to its glory days.

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Atari Token: Turbocharging Classic Games With Crypto

by Joe T. Stanley
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