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Atari seeks new cachet with Crypto — and a return to

By: Bloomberg |

Up to date: October 18, 2020 11:01:09 am


atari vcs, atari gaming computer, atari crypto currency, atari bitcoin, atari vcs vs xbox x series, atari vcs vs sony playstation 5Atari VCS (Supply: Atari)

As Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. put together to launch their new video-game consoles, one other legendary participant, Atari, is readying its first new in additional than 20 years. The Atari VCS will include a twist — a method for avid gamers to spend a cryptocurrency whereas they play.

First teased a number of years in the past and anticipated to ship in November, the Atari VCS is being referred to as a mini-console or a gaming laptop. The product will provide entry to greater than 100 Atari arcade video games and residential classics, like Pong, plus new titles. It would have web connectivity and let customers purchase merchandise utilizing Atari Tokens, which can go on sale in late October.

“We have now a model, now we have a following — we expect we’re going to get some consideration in any case,” stated Chief Government Officer Frederic Chesnais, including that his competitors is extra the iPhone than an Xbox or PlayStation. “After that the product must be good.”

On Oct. 29, Bitcoin.com Alternate will begin promoting $1 million value of Atari Tokens for 25 cents apiece to retail traders exterior of the U.S. The tokens shall be used for in-game purchases and for accomplice video games, in addition to ultimately within the broader gaming ecosystem if Atari’s effort to create a normal foreign money for the trade bears fruit. The corporate can also be engaged on a gaming stablecoin, which gained’t be as risky as most tokens. But it surely isn’t near launch, stated Chesnais, who led Atari out of its 2013 chapter.

The push is a part of Chesnais’s seven-year effort to revitalize Atari SA, making it extra trendy and related. Whereas Atari’s predecessor firms raised an entire technology of avid gamers with arcade and residential titles like Asteroids and Missile Command within the 1970s and 1980s, it has lengthy been sidelined by stronger, larger rivals. The corporate has been cut up into items, merged and emerged from chapter. At present’s Atari is tiny, with solely about 20 staffers. Its Paris-traded shares have languished under 50 cents since 2018, when the corporate introduced a cryptocurrency effort.

However Chesnais has nice ambitions for Atari, which largely hinge on nostalgia for the model.

“The buyer going for the retro methods is completely different than what the brand new consoles are concentrating on,” stated David Cole, CEO at digital leisure researcher DFC Intelligence. “And sure, that is a chance.”

To date, greater than 11,500 folks have preordered the brand new by means of the crowdfunding web site Indiegogo, the place Atari ran a marketing campaign for the participant and took in additional than $three million.

The corporate is going through financial headwinds. Whereas Covid-19 has led to a surge in folks staying dwelling and taking part in video games, many tens of millions have misplaced their jobs or concern shedding them. That would restrict their spending this vacation season and push customers to go for main gamers’ new consoles, as a substitute.

There’s additionally the pricing. Atari’s all-in bundle, which incorporates an Eight-gigabyte Atari VCS, a wi-fi controller, a wi-fi basic joystick, and 100 basic arcade and console video games, prices $390. The Xbox Collection S begins at $300.

“I’m type of pessimistic, to be trustworthy, as a result of you’re going face to face with Xbox and PlayStation 5,” stated Lewis Ward, an analyst at researcher IDC. “Clearly if you’re an enormous fan of Atari video games, there’s all the time a nostalgia foundation. However merely on a price-to-value ratio, I don’t see how this turns into greater than a distinct segment product.”

Covid-19 had already delayed the VCS — it was beforehand scheduled to ship in March. What’s extra, Atari faces looming competitors even within the retro class. Intellivision Leisure plans to launch its Amico participant early subsequent yr with a beginning worth of round $249. That participant “is wanting extra spectacular,” Cole stated.

Atari’s foray into cryptocurrencies is also hit and miss. Previous efforts to marry tokens with video video games haven’t panned out. The excellent news is that cryptocurrency lovers are additionally avid gamers. If Atari’s tokens do take off, they could possibly be an “on-ramp for a significant improve in crypto use,” based on Aaron Brown, a crypto investor who writes for Bloomberg Opinion.

“We’ll see the way it performs up,” Chesnais stated. “We don’t have to promote tens of millions to start with, it’s a long-term effort.”

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