Atari has been a familiar name to those observant in the space. However, their involvement has been a little peripheral. The latest financial report from Atari shows that may have only been true publicly, but behind closed doors, the company has blockchain as a key focus.
Atari laid out four areas the company is focussing on presently. As is to be expected, games, hardware, and licensing make up three angles of development, but the fourth is blockchain:
Blockchain – The first-half of the period was primarily focused on laying the foundation of Atari X which included collaborations and partnerships with Web3 partners as well as the implementation of NFT sales that were successful, despite unfavourable market conditions for blockchain related activities.
Atari has been involved in a number of collaborations in the space, multiple with the WAX ecosystem, as well as The Sandbox which we will come back to. Firstly, what is Atari X?
Atari announced Atari X, an initiative that consolidates Atari’s blockchain interests into a unified operation that is wholly controlled by Atari. The initiative will drive the development of a blockchain ecosystem that intertwines gaming, utility, and community. In announcing Atari X, Atari reaffirms its commitment to blockchain and its belief that blockchain could be an important element of Atari’s business and strategy.
It would be fair to say that Atari’s efforts in Web3 have been scattered and disparate — a sort of vague but persistent interest. This interest is now being formalized, it seems, and while it’s a little unclear what shape Atari X might take, it does add credence to how seriously the company is taking this venture.
There is also mention of Atari’s own token:
Atari is working on its own token: This project still remains at an early stage of its development as Atari intends to thoroughly consider the various structuring options available and regulatory framework, as well as current uncertainty around the blockchain market environment, in order to make this project relevant for its community of fans and partners. Further announcements on this project may be made in the course of Atari’s next fiscal year.
If Atari is developing its own Web3 ecosystem, it makes sense that they would look into a token, but we’ll have to wait for more details later this year.
What reassures me the most about the mentions of blockchain in this document is that Atari isn’t trying to mislead or bury the widespread skepticism of NFTs among gamers. In fact, Atari highlights that it’s a challenging environment for blockchain, but that they intend to continue executing their roadmap.
Another interesting facet of Atari’s involvement in the space is its current revenue generated from NFTs. Atari still made €700,000, up from €400,000 last report, despite crypto’s crash.
Furthermore, Atari has a smattering of digital assets, including 542 Ethereum, which was worth millions of dollars in the midst of the last bull run. What interests me more, however, is Atari’s involvement with The Sandbox, in which the company owns 972 parcels of land.
Atari has been building a RollerCoaster Tycoon theme park — one of the company’s flagship IPs — in The Sandbox, so this may account for a portion of that, although The Sandbox’s metaverse map (pictured below) shows at least two large squares owned by Atari.
I tend to find these financial documents far more insightful than most announcements in Web3. Square Enix has had sections of their yearly reports dedicated to blockchain since 2021, doubled down upon by the President’s annual letters. Atari has shown interest in the space for some time — their WAX collaboration was several years ago — but it appears the company is now setting their sights on a bigger picture with Atari X.
Atari is one of the founding fathers of modern gaming and a company with a special place in this gamer’s heart as the first console I tried when I was a young child. Nevertheless, in recent years, Atari has been far less relevant than it once was, still a synonym for retro gaming. Perhaps blockchain technology holds the keys to the company’s resurgence.
Lead image by digitalskennedy from Pixabay