Update [2017-09-22]: Some of the products mentioned in the original article below have been become unavailable since the article’s publication in early 2014. Links to these products and services have therefore been removed.
Think you have a Pong score that can’t be beat? Now you can bet real money on your arcade gaming skills. Atari has joined with Pariplay, a game developer that focuses on games with gambling components, to announced a worldwide partnership to offer classic Atari games in real money lottery and gambling formats.
Atari games such as Pong, Asteroids, Tempest, Missile Command, and Centipede will be adapted into real money gambling formats for casinos, lottery locations, and select online and mobile formats. Pariplay is calling these initiatives “iLottery” and “iGaming,” names that certainly lack subtlety with regard to the games’ primary focus. Pariplay CEO Gili Lisani commented on the deal in the companies’ joint press release:
Atari was a pioneer in the interactive entertainment space, having built tremendous brand equity through their rich suite of beloved brands. We are proud to steward their entry into the evolving iGaming category where players can engage with their properties in exciting new ways.
While some Atari fans are happy to see the company’s classic games made available in any form, many will likely view this week’s announcement as further proof that the company is its former self in name only. A deal to create lottery and casino versions of Atari games is a “terrible misuse” of the company’s legacy and the ultimate “ghettoizing” of the brand, according to some commenters. The deal is also likely to draw concern from those who argue that further tying video games and gambling together risks attracting younger audiences.
But those with a penchant for gambling can expect the combined joy of financial risk and nostalgia soon. The first games resulting from the partnership are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of this year.