Atari Chain: Retro Gaming to Blockchain Future
Note: In 2022, Atari Announced that the Atari Token became unlicensed and terminated their joint blockchain venture. Much of the information in this article is no longer relevant but is being kept up as a historical record. We will update accordingly as Atari still states that they have web3 aspirations and there will be future developments.- Source
At the risk of making myself sound old, when I hear the name Atari, the first thing that comes to mind are the legendary video games that shaped my youth such as Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pac-Man and even the game where Donkey Kong made his first appearance way back in 1981.
Video games have undergone massive advancements and transformations since the days back when a giant yellow circle that would aimlessly eat dots while being chased around by ghosts for no apparent reason, now evolving into some of the most advanced space-age shooting and virtual reality games that we have today. While the gaming industry has been evolving, The Atari brand itself has also undergone some major transformations of its own, developing not just in the video game industry, but in the world of blockchain as well.
Atari has not sat idle as the world of blockchain technology has found its way upon us. They have successfully cemented themselves in each of the cornerstones and foundation of blockchain itself by creating their own cryptocurrency, crypto wallet, decentralized exchange (DEX) and DeFi platform while also getting involved in a big way into the metaverse. Atari has
set up their very own Atari theme park in the Sandbox, and the Atari Casino in Decentraland, placing their stake in the two biggest blockchain-based gaming metaverses that exist today. Atari has also launched Atari-themed clothing NFTs and in-game items while partnering up with some of the biggest names in blockchain. Talk about keeping busy, and their impressive ambitions do not stop there.
Atari Chain Origins
While Atari is already well known for being one of the first and biggest video game creators and manufacturers in the world, first founded in 1972, they have remained a juggernaut in the video game industry for the next 48 years. It wouldn’t be until 2020 when Atari would make their leap into the world of blockchain technology with the release of its own cryptocurrency called Atari Token (ATRI).
The Atari Token was intended to be a means of payment within the interactive entertainment agency and was launched as an Ethereum based ERC-20 token. While ATRI still exists as an Ethereum based token, about 20% of the circulating supply have migrated to the Fantom Network where users can enjoy the benefits of the cheaper, faster and more scalable network while Ethereum is still in the process of undergoing its transformation to Ethereum 2.0.
The news of the Atari tokens migration to the Fantom Network was incredibly bullish news for the token, resulting in an increase of 72% within hours of the announcement.
The Atari token is a decentralized cryptocurrency that plays an important role in the evolution of Atari’s ecosystem, fuelling not only their blockchain presence but also planning to be integrated with the token’s having functionality within their hardware gaming and licensing businesses. The goal for Atari is to have the token used as widely as possible across the interactive entertainment industry, providing benefits to developers and publishers as well as players and investors.
The Atari token can be easily integrated into games and blockchain-based applications, and Atari has stated that they are working on innovative games where players will be able to stake their Atari tokens in high stakes matches against other players where the winner takes all. While the Atari token is a utility token that powers the Atari ecosystem, it also has the ability to be an in-game currency token as well.
The Atari token has seen an impressive and steady rise since its launch in Q4 of 2020. The token launched at just under $0.25 then instantly sold off as early investors took profit as we often see following token launches. After the initial bottom at just under $0.10, the Atari token enjoyed a healthy adoption and gradual rise, peaking at $0.65 during the 2021 bull market before crashing back down with the rest of the market during the May 2021 correction to a low of around $0.04 where it remained steady for a number of months.
As the market recovers from the May correction, the Atari token has been one of the better performing crypto assets along with the rest of the blockchain gaming and metaverse tokens rising from the lows of $0.04 to an impressive rise of over $0.18 and nearing it’s all-time high at the time of writing.
The Atari token is in quite a position of strength to see an increase in value as three of the fastest growing trends in crypto are blockchain gaming, NFTs and metaverses, and Atari has staked a position in all three and have made their presence known in a big way. This exposes the Atari token to potentially benefit from the rise in adoption from any one of the three trends.
Atari token’s market cap is relatively low sitting at $65 million at the time this article was written with its circulating supply of roughly 890k coins and has a maximum amount of 7.7billion coins available, it looks like there may still be a lot of upside potential for ATRI.
Atari Blockchain Division
In April, Atari announced that they would be creating two divisions within the company, one to focus on gaming, while the other one would focus on blockchain. While the names for these divisions may be a little unimaginative, with one division being simply called “Atari Gaming,” while the blockchain division is aptly named the “Atari Blockchain Division.”
Atari gaming will be in charge of operating games in the physical world, the Atari VCS console and licensing, while the Atari Blockchain Division will operate the Atari token and explore new opportunities in blockchain, NFTs and online worlds. In doing this, the gaming giant intends to develop all-new, next-generation blockchain gaming experiences.
Given the launch of the Atari token, the primary goal of the blockchain division will be the continued development, integration and adoption of the token through further use cases and integration into the Atari ecosystem as a means of payment for digital goods within Atari games on the blockchain and as a peer-to-peer payment method.
The Blockchain Division will also work towards expanding on strategic partnerships expanding the brand into other crypto ventures and metaverses as well as working with other blockchain developer companies.
Atari is working towards having the tokens useable with 3rd party games and applications such as using the Atari tokens to be able to purchase Atari themed NFTs sold on NFT marketplaces. Atari is particularly keen to target NFTs, and have already partnered with Enjin and have launched NFTs on digital fashion house The Fabricant. Atari’s partnership with Enjin will also allow developers to create Atari-branded blockchain games through licensing agreements.
As a part of this venture, Atari is considering the potential structuring of this division to possibly, someday become an autonomous entity with a view of handing the division off to Atari shareholders to give this division a bit more control over to the community.
At the end of last year, Atari’s CEO Frédéric Chesnais said to Decrypt in an interview that the gaming icon was betting big on crypto and stated, “I’m a strong believer in blockchain. I think it’s here to stay,” then added to his views on crypto by saying, “blockchain is the only way for some people to have access to meaningful income,” which is a strong use case for further crypto adoption.
Atari is set on making collectable assets that are more dynamic and useable across various games and applications and are also in the unique position to get older generations who enjoyed Atari games back in the ’70s and ‘80s into crypto and metaverses to re-live their favourite childhood games.
From the Atari site, users can create a free account where they will be able to access the Atari Portal where they will be able to interact with their Atari tokens and the Atari ecosystem. From here, users will be able to see their transaction history, stake their Atari tokens, access their wallet, buy Atari tokens, deposit tokens, exchange and withdraw, all the features you would need to be able to interact with your tokens.
Atari Mobile Wallet
Atari has created the Atari Smart Wallet which is a mobile wallet that works with a combination of on and off-chain technology that enables users to manage and exchange their cryptocurrencies in one fantastic looking and easy to use application with no fees within the Atari ecosystem. Users are able to exchange their crypto with no fees or commissions in the Atari community and the wallet integrates within the Atari ecosystem so the balance of users’ Atari tokens will be displayed throughout all Atari gaming platforms. The Atari wallet will also give users a place to store their NFTs
Atari also has a DEX integrated on their site which allows users to swap between Ethereum, Fantom, and Atari token via the Metamask browser extension. This provides easier access to Atari tokens and increased liquidity for users looking to swap tokens and get involved in the Atari ecosystem. While the selection of crypto is currently limited to 3 tokens, there are plans to add additional asset support soon.
Atari has also stepped into the world of DeFi, giving users a place to stake and lock up funds for a period of time and passively earn ATRI tokens. To help promote the growth and adoption of the Atari community, Atari added the DeFi interface which allows users to connect their Metamask wallet and purchase ATRI tokens using Ethereum or Tether which can be locked up into the protocol for a period of 1, 3, 6, or 12 months to receive ATRI staking rewards.
Atari Token Launch on Fantom Network
On September 1st, 2021, the Atari Chain token set out for massive adoption on the Fantom Blockchain (FTM). The Fantom blockchain is a fast and inexpensive DeFi network that can process transfers almost immediately, which allows users to use the Atari tokens without the high network fees and slow transaction times that are present on the Ethereum network until the highly anticipated Ethereum upgrade to Ethereum 2.0.
The migration of 20% of the total supply of the Atari Tokens to the Fantom network massively improved adoption, usability and use cases for users wanting to get involved in the Atari Chain ecosystem. This resulted in being a hugely bullish move, not only for the users who could now use the tokens at a fraction of the transaction fees but for the price of the token itself as it saw a rise in value of 72% shortly after the migration announcement. If you have not already seen it, be sure to check out Guy’s recent video on the Fantom Network.
Yahoo News Reporting on Atari's Adoption on the Fantom Blockchain Image via Yahoo
Atari in the Sandbox Metaverse
The Sandbox gaming metaverse partnered with Atari in March of 2020 to feature the first Atari theme park on blockchain, existing exclusively in a virtual metaverse where a variety of Atari gaming experiences can be enjoyed by users in the Sandbox virtual world. The Sandbox is a virtual world where players can build, own and monetize their own gaming experiences on the Ethereum blockchain, creating an immersive virtual world where users can come together and interact with other users, companies and applications. The Sandbox even features hosted events from artists and celebrities who can perform virtual concerts or events all within the decentralized world of the Sandbox.
The agreement between the Sandbox and Atari resulted in Atari receiving large digital estate spaces within the gaming metaverse to create their Atari theme park. On these digital estates, users can travel to the Atari theme parks and play Atari’s classic and most popular gaming creations, while the Sandbox will develop Atari-inspired, in-game assets for game creators to use in their own games. These Atari theme parks will contain a variety of Atari game titles, Atari themed creations, attractions and buildings that users can explore, creating an immersive gaming experience that can be shared socially between players in the metaverse.
Atari in Decentraland
Fans of Atari had a chance to attend a virtual party to celebrate the launch of the Atari Casino within Decentraland in March 2021. The partnership announcement made by Atari informed players that there will be an Atari themed casino in the Casino Quarter of Vegas City in Decentraland. Shortly after the announcement of a virtual Atari casino launching in Decentraland, Atari mentioned additional ambitions to open the world’s first Atari-themed hotel in the real Las Vegas in 2022, with the CEO stating that they would like to expand the network of physical Atari themed hotels across the United States and would accept Atari token as payments in some capacity.
The Decentraland Casino district houses the first community-owned metaverse crypto casino ever created and now players will be able to play Atari-themed games in the casino district and win based on skill as opposed to luck, being able to win crypto tokens. Decentraland is similar to the Sandbox in a sense that it is a virtual world where users can come together and immerse themselves in a digital world and experience concerts, events, games and essentially the same things we enjoy in the real world, but with a virtual spin.
The company currently has a lot of ambitious plates spinning and are showing no signs of slowing down. The Atari team are still remaining true to their origins, releasing physical hardware gaming consoles, promoting retro-gaming, while also venturing into the hotel industry. Atari are making big moves in crypto, really getting involved in the major pillars of blockchain technology that are most likely to have a large impact on shaping our future, being blockchain gaming, NFTs and metaverses.
We have already seen the massive rise in the trend of blockchain gaming with the likes of Axie Infinity and Spliterlands gaining record-breaking adoption and user growth, a trend that is likely to continue.
NFTs have already far surpassed the use cases that they were originally created for and have been integrated into platforms and adopted in more ways than most of us could have ever imagined back when we first learned about the three-lettered acronym. And of course, nobody can deny the impact that metaverses are going to have in our future with the likes of Facebook and Microsoft already getting massively involved into virtual worlds. Atari has perfectly positioned themselves, integrating and developing themselves into these high-impact areas that continue to see growth at an exponential rate.
Atari has already partnered with some of the biggest players in the NFT, blockchain gaming, and metaverse industries. Seriously, whoever runs their partnership initiatives must have like a billion Facebook friends and be the coolest person at all the parties as the company has been very busy and successful in making friends in some high places. I’ve already mentioned their integration and partnership into the two largest metaverses Decentraland and Sandbox, (talk about hedging your bets). They have partnered with Enjin, Game Taco, Native Gaming, Rockstar Games, the Litecoin Foundation and Wax just to name a few.
Those folks over at Atari sure have been busy getting entwined and integrated into some of the best projects and working with the brightest teams that blockchain technology has to offer. I’m going to be honest, when I first heard about Atari making an appearance into the metaverse space I thought, “ah that’s cute, those little old retro games in a virtual world, sounds like a great idea, why not?” It wasn’t until I did more of a deep dive writing this article and going down the rabbit hole that I see just how ambitious their roadmap and vision is.
Atari is looking to go far beyond the 2D pixelated game consoles that are collecting dust in our basements and are making some big impacts in the major trends in the blockchain space. Atari seem to have a knack for getting involved in not just one, but three of the biggest sectors in crypto that are likely to continue for decades to come, looking to permanently cement themselves into the very foundation of the technology and platforms that are most likely to play a big part in our day to day lives in the near future. I for one, am going to be keeping a much closer eye on Atari and the Atari Chain token and won’t be surprised to hear it become a household name once again when we are all living in some crazy virtual universe.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.