Gaming has reached new peaks during the past few years as more and more people are playing games and participating in gaming culture. Consoles like the Nintendo Switch and VR hardware like the Oculus Quest has increased accessibility of AAA and the VR experience for the casual audience—there are games for every demographic on the market being developed. Better lore and animation/live-action spinoffs like the recent The Witcher series on Netflix now allow for people to participate in gaming fandoms even if they have never played, and all in all, there is a wider audience for gaming and gaming-related peripherals now than during any other time in history.
Now, would you ever stay in a video-game themed hotel? It’s different from your typical vacation, but the idea sounds interesting, right?
We already stay in movie and destination themed resorts like in Disney World and popular vacation spots like Hawaii—isn’t it about time the United States got its own line of video game hotels? The market audience is there and has only been growing over the last decade.
This has been in the works for a while, and Atari is planning on opening the floodgates this year. A line of immersive virtual reality hotels is on the horizon, and with an all-star cast behind the planning and building process.
Atari has recently announced this week, in a deal with the GSD Group, an innovation and strategy group headed by founder Shelley Murphy and her partner Napoleon Smith III, that they are planning on opening a series of video game-themed hotels across the United States, with the first opening in Phoenix, AZ later in mid-2020. Atari plans on opening more of these video game hotels across the United States in the future, immediately following the opening in Phoenix, in these cities: Austin, TX, Chicago, IL, Denver, CO, Las Vegas, NV, San Francisco, CA, San Jose, CA, and Seattle, WA. No worries if you don’t live in Phoenix—chances are that there is going to be an Atari hotel opening up near you!
Founded in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, Atari is the company behind Atari Games, which spawned what many would be considered to be the cornerstones of modern video games. Developing classics like Missile Command, Asteroids, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man, Atari Games would eventually be known for producing what would eventually come to be known as the legends and foundations for the genre.
If there is any company that could pull this off, it would be Atari. As one of the original pioneers of video games, they are here to revolutionize the gaming world once again, and hopefully, demonstrate that gamers aren’t a minority anymore and that it’s never too late to pick up a controller and be someone’s player two.
The Atari Hotels are going to include all the amenities and features one would expect from a video-game themed hotel, including cutting-edge virtual reality and augmented reality, a technology that will ensure a unique, immersive experience for all ages. Atari is also planning to provide state-of-the-art venues and studio spaces for hosting esports events at select hotel locations. These hotels promise to marry the origins of gaming and the future of the booming industry into a fun and unique travel destination. Working with the visionary GSD Group (which produced the hit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film franchise reboot) and True North Studios to design the look, feel and aesthetics of the Atari Hotels, it isn’t difficult to see how much of a hit these hotels will be.
If you’re unconvinced, you might still ask yourself who would pay for a night or for vacations in video game hotels, but this actually isn’t the first instance of VR hotel or video game hotel plans that have popped up in recent memory. There are countries all over the world that have already established successful video game hotels.
An International Appeal
Atari’s planned line of hotels in America should draw an international crowd, given the impact and legacy of Atari as one of the original progenitors of video games. We have seen the appeal of video game-themed hotels internationally—some examples of video game hotels that have drawn the attention of gamers from all around the world are e-ZONe Denno Kukan in Japan, The Arcade Hotel in Amsterdam, and iHotel in Taiwan.
e-ZONe Denno Kukan | Japan
Esports (electronic sports) has been taking the world by storm over the past few years, with major sponsorships for teams coming from the likes of NBA legend Rick Fox and Rocket Mortgage, and esports celebrities collaborating with companies like Honda and Adidas, it’s the best time to begin supporting competitive gaming at the highest level. Japan is no stranger to this, being the Mecca for fighting game professionals and for being surrounded by gaming culture in general.
In April 2020, the e-ZONe Denno Kukan will be opening in Japan, an esports-themed hotel with top-shelf equipment for gaming and streaming.
Casey Baseel of Japan Today stated that:
The hotel will be opening in the downtown Nipponbashi district of Osaka, the same city where Capcom and SNK, Japan’s premier fighting game developers and thus the granddaddies of the country’s competitive gaming community, are headquartered.
According to Bea Mitchell of BlooLoop:
It will resemble a typical gaming cafe, with the hotel aimed at experienced gamers and those who are new to esports. The remaining floors will be reserved for accommodation, with the majority providing sleeping cabins and a total of 94 beds. The seventh floor, however, will house special accommodation with in-room gaming PCs. The basement floor will be used for shower rooms for hotel guests. e-ZONe Denno Kukan will be surrounded by Japanese pop culture, anime, and manga on Osaka’s Otaku Road. No official rates have been released yet.
If you want to check on the progress of e-ZONe Denno Kukan, the website is here: https://www.sanyu-j-net.co.jp/lp/
The Arcade Hotel | Amsterdam
Located in scenic Amsterdam, The Arcade Hotel is an all-inclusive gaming experience for traveling to a different country and never leaving the bedroom. With options for solo outings and rooms up to four people, a fully furnished game-room for esports boot camps, or just a night out with friends, The Arcade Hotel has it all.
The Arcade Hotel is a video game hotel with a focus on creating the ultimate overnight gaming experience. In addition to amenities you would expect from a hotel, pristine showers, cozy beds, and urban/hip decor, The Arcade Hotel offers free 1 GB Fiber Wi-Fi, NVIDIA Shield TV (Nvidia’s media and game streaming service), Sennheiser gaming headsets, comics and retro consoles in every room. The Arcade Hotel also offers a fully furnished game room, featuring 25 square meters of gaming, all the aforementioned amenities, along with the latest in NVIDIA equipped gaming computers, gaming monitors, PS4s, Nintendo Switches, and Xbox Ones, it’s like high-end gaming heaven.
Aiming less around the PC Bang culture (slang for 24/hour Korean internet cafés) and functioning more like a traditional hotel, The Arcade hotel has all the sleek aesthetics that modern-day gamers expect from a high-end gaming living experience.
iHotel | Taiwan
The iHotel, located in Taoyuan City, is recognized as the first esports themed hotel in Asia. And while it may not be as flashy or as decked out as the other hotels on this list, it definitely sets the standard for what video game hotels should look and feel like—an environment that is catered towards people who simply want to game on nice systems.
According to Alexa Noel from thepointsguy.com, each room in the hotel is equipped with i5-7400 processors, 16GB of RAM, GTX 1080 Ti GPU and DXRacer gaming chairs, along with 4K ready monitors top of the line graphics cards, and a 46-inch television. The lobby of the iHotel is not only a reception area but is also a gaming area for tournaments and esports events as well, decked out with top-shelf gear like the rooms are. There is another gaming room in the lobby as well that acts as an internet café, for those who don’t want to rent a room but still want to get their gaming fill.
According to Noel, the room holds an average 8.0 on Booking.com, and has a $100 a night stay, with a $12/hour rate for gaming in the internet café. If it sounds good to you, go check it out!
As we can see, the concept of a gaming hotel is nothing new, but an Atari branded, immersive virtual reality hotel with a focus on gaming culture and the experience of gaming, in addition to all of the peripherals, is sure to be a huge hit, and attract consumers from all over the world. With America lagging in terms of gaming community locations, the Atari hotels are sure to draw the attention of gaming fans, esport fanatics, and international game lovers alike for what is going to be the definitive gaming + vacationing experience.