Founded way back in 1972, Atari celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The all-but-defunct company doesn’t really make games anymore, but it does like to plaster its recognisable logo over everything it can find — from hotels to PCs. And to celebrate that the company is still clinging to life, Atari has finally hopped onboard the NFT grift. But not just any kind of NFTs. Specifically, Atari is doing loot box NFTs. *Chef’s Kiss*
These new abominations are being called “GFTs” because they’re wrapped up like digital gifts and don’t reveal their true contents until a specified future date. Produced by “metaverse developer” Republic Realm in partnership with Atari, each NFT loot box will contain one of 10 images inspired by the gaming company’s past. They’re on the Ethereum blockchain which, following recent turmoil in the speculative crypto market, is currently at a six month low valuation.
”GFTs are like Hallmark Cards for the next generation,” Republic Realm CEO, Janine Yorio, said in a press release. Except rather than being small, predictable tokens of appreciation, GFTs are governed by loot tables with predetermined random rates, because what says “happy anniversary,” or “get well soon” like a 0.2% chance at an Epic drop?
Where does Republic Realm get off? Well last year the developer managed to unload an ugly-arse yacht in the Sandbox metaverse for $US650,000 ($902,330). Not too shabby considering that current Atari CEO, Wade Rosen, managed to buy a controlling stake in the company for a mere $US10 ($14) million.
Rosen has been on a media tour in recent months talking about how he’s going to reinvent the company with new licensing deals and more “Recharged” versions of old games like Centipede and Asteroids. NFT loot boxes are just one part of his grander design, apparently. How the mighty have fallen. Then again, Atari was the company that infamously almost destroyed the gaming market with its original profiteering back in ‘80s. Happy birthday, Atari.