Facebook made the phrase metaverse enter the public’s consciousness in October 2011, even though it had been around since 1992. That is when sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson coined it in his novel Snow Crash. It took two decades before something resembling a 3D virtual shared space (a metaverse) appeared, and in the past two years, multiple such platforms have sprung into existence. Partially owned by the Digital Currency Group, Decentraland is likely, the most popular of these, boasting a user base of several hundred thousand members.
In March 2021, gaming trailblazer, the legendary Atari, announced that they had leased an estate in Decentraland’s Vegas City district to open a crypto casino. A virtual gambling establishment, accepting the Decentral Games token, plus the Atari and the platform’s native one, MANA. The surprising move brought Atari’s name back into the limelight as a brand that is once again prone to making brave choices that can have wide-reaching effects across multiple industries.
Atari’s Gaming Lineage
Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney gave birth to Atari in 1972. At the tail end of that year, this company introduced its first-ever product, the world-renowned Pong, a more advanced version of Tennis for Two. By 1980, both of Atari’s creators would leave the video game developer, Dabney in 1973, and Bushnell in 1979, three years following Warner Communications purchasing the brand.
As many gaming enthusiasts/historians know, 1983 was a horrible year for video games. During this time, this market dramatically crashed, causing many of its entities to reorient. Atari did so by shifting its focus to the home computer market, but it never achieved the heights it reached before this period.
Undoubtedly, the peak of the Atari brand was when they were riding high on the success of their Video Computer System, the Atari 2600. The console that popularized swappable ROM cartridges and ushered in microprocessor-based hardware in consumer-level electronics. Over five hundred game cartridges got sold for the Atari 2600, including revolutionary games such as Pac-Man and Space Invaders.
Now, Atari is again trying to rebrand itself as a major metaverse player. It is constructing metaverse crypto casinos that provide a new kind of gambling fun.
What Is a Cryptocurrency Casino Precisely?
The terms Bitcoin casino and cryptocurrency casino get used interchangeably. That happens despite the fact they indicate different types of platforms. The first signifies a gambling site that accepts the world’s most famous digital coin for wagers, while the latter hints that multiple types of coin-based transfers may be possible at an interactive gaming hub. So, the acceptance of cryptographic currency is the defining aspect of any top crypto casino. On top of this, these platforms also differ from fiat ones by incorporating bonuses unique to only them and by trying to foster a community presence. They do the latter by implementing group chats, adding message boards, and running highly-active Telegram groups, where they give away various promos. Social media contests and perk-rich loyalty schemes are also one of their main allures.
Now, metaverse crypto casinos offer an interaction element previously unseen at traditional gambling sites and ones allowing coin-based transactions. Hence, many consider them the future of crypto gambling sites, as they bring games of chance fans one step closer to the real thing.
NFTs & the Atari Token Explained
An NFT, by definition, is a non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a digital ledger, a blockchain. It is a virtual asset that can get traded or sold. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin represent fungible assets, meaning many identical items, while non-fungible ones, NFTs, are unique. To simplify, the best way to think of NFTs is like one-of-a-kind skins for a video game like Fortnite. For example, Atari used Enjin’s technology to release Atari-inspired digital fashion NFTs that can get worn across multiple metaverse platforms.
While NFTs add a spice of uniqueness and novelty to every virtual shared space, these digital worlds would not exist without fungible tokens. They utilize blockchain technology to create self-sustaining economies that bring them closer to fully mimicking as many user interactions as those in the physical sphere. Hence, all crypto-powered metaverses have their form of money, a fungible token based on the ERC-20 standard. Users utilize these currencies to pay for goods and services in their chosen virtual setting.
The Atari token also uses Ethereum’s ERC-20 standard. It hopes to become the interactive gaming sector’s go-to money form for metaverse gambling. It can get bought and sold on Atari’s decentralized exchange or at Atari Dex. It offers smart contract security, easy integration, and much more. So, it should not catch anyone by surprise to see it get listed at many more metaverse crypto casinos soon.
How Has Atari Stacked Its Casino’s Game Lobby
Found in Decentraland’s gambling district named Vegas City, the Atari casino launched with a mega party attended by over two thousand users, enhanced by a live performance from DJ Dillon Francis. Though it promised to feature Atari-inspired gaming picks, at the time of its release, this metaverse mainly housed blackjack and roulette tables, similar to those at Bitcoin gambling sites, except these, get run by robot-like croupiers. Atari is just now looking to expand their venue’s gaming offer by introducing skill-based gambling on casino-like products that feature motifs from the company’s games of yonder.
Is There Really a Virtual Real Estate Boom?
Online mediums have been propagating since the start of 2021 that the world is amidst a virtual real estate explosion. Many business analysts now claim that metaverses are the next iteration of social media. And since these 3D platforms feature vast maps that users can traverse for days, each section of this virtual land can get owned, either by people purchasing it during a platform’s initial coin offering or by snagging parcels on primary and secondary markets. CNBC reported that prices for plots in metaverses have jumped by 500% in under a year. Grayscale, a crypto asset manager, recently estimated that this sphere could soon grow into a trillion-dollar business. Tokens.com, a corporate entity operated by Andrew Kiguel, spent $2.4 million worth of cryptocurrency on an estate in Decentraland in November 2021.
It is vital to note that Atari leased its land in Decentraland for two years. It did not buy it. Nevertheless, depending on the performance of its cryptocurrency casino in Decentraland, it may consider purchasing some relatively soon. Grand View Research believes that this market boasted a value of $3.7 billion in 2021 and that it should grow at an annual rate of 5.2% until 2030.
Did Atari Make the Right Move by Investing in Crypto Casino Gaming?
It cannot get argued that crypto and Bitcoin casinos are surging. Coin-based gaming platforms like Stake are collaborating with artists like Drake, and exchanges like Crypto.com have made it onto the illustrious list of sponsors of the Qatar World Cup. Therefore, they are not the future but the present.
Still, many worry about the future of this sphere on account of looming crypto regulations everywhere. Some countries have even taken an active stance against cryptos, trying to phase them out. So, exploring metaverses with significant investments is a risky endeavor, as there are no guarantees that this trend will morph into a reality that will stick around for years/decades to come.
Nonetheless, Atari entered this market early, and they got loads of publicity for making this bold move. They also now have a chance to advertise their existing catalog of games, and their brand to new demographics through a new medium, which can help their future crypto and NFT projects flourish. Consequently, while this is still a gamble, everything is in life. It seems like everyone is hopping aboard the crypto/metaverse train, so it stands to reason that Atari would do the same. It benefits them that they did so early, but only time will tell whether the money and effort spent will pay out or not.