Atari has announced plans to move into the painfully trendy (and also potentially quite risky) sphere of cryptocurrency via a partnership with a company that's building a "blockchain-based digital entertainment platform." According to a Fortune report, the company will actually launch two separate currencies: The Atari Token, to be used on digital gaming platforms, and the Pong Token, for online casinos.
“Blockchain technology is poised to take a very important place in our environment and to transform, if not revolutionize, the current economic ecosystem, especially in the areas of the video game industry and online transactions,” Atari CEO Frederic Chesnais said in a statement. “Given our technological strengths with the development studios, and the global reputation of the Atari brand, we have the opportunity to position ourselves attractively in this sector."
Specifics haven't been revealed, but there are obvious similarities to Kodak's bizarre crypto-maneuver that was revealed last month. Both companies have elected to seek relevance (and, more importantly, liquidity) in the field after bouncing back from near-fatal financial struggles—Chenais told Polygon earlier this month that the company is now profitable and out of debt. And in the case of Atari, at least, it appears to be working, as the company's share price has (sigh) soared since it revealed its cryptocurrency plans.
Unfortunately, Atari's other out-of-nowhere plan, for the crowdfunded Ataribox retro gaming console, remains stalled. The launch of the Indiegogo campaign was halted in December, just before it was set to go live, and the ataribox.com website is now down.