Atari to Separate Gaming & Blockchain Divisions

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In Brief
  • Company announced restructure into two separate divisions: Atari Gaming and Atari Blockchain.

  • CEO Frédéric Chesnais to step down and focus on Blockchain division.

  • Atari Blockchain to push Atari Tokens for in-game purchases.

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Atari, one of the biggest names in 1980s gaming, is pressing ahead with its plans to capitalize on blockchain technology. After making a comeback over the last few years, the USA company announced plans to launch cryptocurrencies all the way back in 2018.

On Tuesday, it was announced that the company would split its operation in two. The first division, Atari Gaming, would continue to handle retro gaming. The other being Atari Blockchain, which the current CEO Frédéric Chesnais will lead, stepping down from his current position.

What can we expect from Atari Blockchain?

The Atari Blockchain division will capitalize on blockchain technology to develop new games. It is something that has already been happening with the immersive game Karma the Game of Destiny. In November 2020, the company announced its Atari Token (ATRI) would be integrated throughout Karma the Game of Destiny to support in-game purchases.

Now, as stated in a press release, the company wants to push the ATRI token as a means of payment for other digital purchases on its own Virtual Computer System (VCS) console, as well as other platforms and third parties.

The company’s outgoing CEO, Frédéric Chesnais, will head the division. Chesnais’ company Ker Ventures, which, alongside American fund Alden, pulled Atari out of bankruptcy in 2013. Atari’s current Chairman of the Board, Wade Rosen, is replacing Chesnais.

What is Atari?

Atari was originally a third-party subsidiary for Nintendo, founded in California in 1972. It made its name with Pong, a table-tennis arcade game released the same year, widely regarded as one of the first commercially successful video games ever. Other well-known games in the company’s back catalog include Asteroids and Space Invaders.

It arguably faded from the public eye until its most recent change of ownership in 2013, at which point it was reported it had only ten employees on staff. With over 200 games and franchises to its name, the company was valued at €250 million as of January 2021.

Since taking over, Chesnais has not only made plans with Blockchain and ATRI. For instance, Atari-themed hotels have been planned, with the first coming to Las Vegas scheduled for November 2022.


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