“For us it’s almost like having a store on 5th avenue”.
Atari is gearing up to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and appropriately enough the company is kicking off its half-century birthday not in the physical world, but in the metaverse. Specifically, it is hoping to capitalize off of the "land" it owns in virtual worlds built by Decentraland and The Sandbox.
Atari's Head of Blockchain Manfred Mantschev told host Frank Chaparro on The Scoop: “When these plots came up the value of the adjacent plots would go up because people recognized the Atari brand, and that image would basically drive people, drive interest to the whole project. So that's kind of how we got started.” Real estate in the metaverse continues to sell for record breaking amounts.
With early hits such as Pac Man, Pong, and Centipede, Atari is known as a landmark maker of arcade games of the 70s and 80s. Today, Atari’s familiar brand is often seen in nostalgia plays for consumers. By appearing in productions like Stranger Things, Ready Player One and Blade Runner the company has found new relevance.
Atari is hoping to onboard a wider audience into the metaverse in the same way that big brand storefronts attract shoppers to enter a shopping mall. Its mission now, Mantschev explained, is to convince users to enter the metaverse, where Atari hopes to be a familiar face in a new virtual world. "The same way a mall wants to have a flagship store in the mall and smaller stores next to it are prepared to pay higher rents just because there is a sought-after anchor tenant in the mall."
How exactly Atari plans to incorporate its established games and brand is unclear, but the company is exploring numerous on-chain product offerings including gamified NFTs that can unlock special user privileges in a game. Mantschev, who collects NFTs himself, believes that NFTs are “front and center” for Atari. In this way, Atari sees the metaverse as a means of enabling people to own their IP and views their early entrance into the metaverse as a functionally important builder of this new gaming ecosystem.
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