The games console creator Atari has announced that they no longer plan to release online casino games – a year after revealing their intention to enter the sector to much fanfare.
The firm, based in New York, had been working on their Atari Casino project since April 2020, had promised the ‘best online casino experience to date’ as part of their hyperbolic promotional material, but that has come to nothing following an extraordinary meeting of board members.
There, the decision-makers voted to completely turn their back on the growth strategies outlined last year.
It caps a tough year for the brand, who have also ditched their plans to enter the hospitality sector with their own Atari-themed chain of hotels. Those were said to be inspired by the various characters that have featured in their games through the years, and would have been stocked with their exclusive virtual reality arcades.
The company has now rescinded their positive results guidance for the 2020/21 financial year, and is instead expected to post a loss – including a potential $5 million ‘write off’ of the assets planned for the casino and hotel developments.
The first Atari hotel, originally slated to open in Las Vegas in 2021, promised a decadent gaming experience, but this has now been shelved with the firm instead pouring their resources into a return to their roots – console and PC gaming.
Back In the Day
You don’t expect your childhood gaming heroes to suddenly make the move into casino gaming.
But that was the plan for Atari, who wanted to build a gaming site on the Ethereum blockchain that would accept various forms of cryptocurrency as payment methods. They had even developed their own coin, the ATRI token, that would have been used as an in-house currency, alongside real money and social gaming.
The firm’s then CEO, Frederic Chesnais, had predicted that the Atari Casino would be a huge success, with forecasts of $150 million and $400 million in revenue for the first two years of operation.
There has been no confirmation of whether the casino’s relaunch has been postponed or canned indefinitely, and as of today the Casino Atari website is still live – albeit none of the buttons are clickable.
However, it has been confirmed that the company will begin to develop paid-for games for consoles and PCs once again, with plans to sell their free games division, which includes Ninja Golf and Atari Combat.
“Our intent with any gaming experience is to provide accessible and joyful moments of meaningful play,” said the firm’s CEO, Wade J. Rosen.
“That’s the core of Atari and what binds our history with our future.
“To that end, we feel that premium gaming is better representative of this type of gaming experience and the Atari DNA.”
Leaping to prominence in the 1970s and 80s, Atari were famed for their innovative releases that included Pong and Asteroids. The first releases from their new premium gaming division are expected to be released later in 2021.