Atari is the latest addition to the NFT craze. The company has announced plans to auction off a number of digital collectibles that are sure to appeal to fans of Atari and retro gaming in general.
Call Atari Capsule Collection, the collection aims to commemorate Dona Bailey and Al Alcorn, Atari engineers who were heavily involved in the development of respectively Centipede and Pong, two of the most iconic video games in history. The first item went on sale at 7pm on Tuesday 30 March, with the final auction ending on 2 April. Using blockchain technology, NFTs make digital content scarce by assigning it unique cryptographic signatures. A ledger keeps track of ownership, and when an NFT is bought and sold, the ledger updates to report the new owner. In the case of the Atari Capsule collection, the Ethereum and Harmony blockchains they will communicate crosswise to ensure originality.
NFTs have exploded in popularity in recent months, although most of the major sales have been completed by big name artists and celebrities. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently sold his first tweet for over $ 2 million (donated to charity), for example, while Tesla’s Elon Musk had said he would be auctioning off a short song about cryptocurrencies, before thinking about it again. Animonica, a company that collaborated with Atari on its collection, told VentureBeat that NFTs will be the future of video games as the games themselves transition to a digital-only model where players will rent them and lose access as soon as they stop paying for a monthly subscription. NFTs promise players something they can hold on to forever and that it will be unique, like a physical copy of Super Mario Bros.
The Atari collection will include NFT for both Centipede and Pong. The first will be the Centipede Flagship (limited series of one), a restored and working original Centipede Coin-Op physical cabinet accompanied from a fully interactive NFT Centipede Coin-Op cabinet with Dona Bailey’s digital autograph. This is the only piece in the entire collection that will include a physical component, so it will go up for auction for a lot of money. The rarest piece in the Pong collection will be a 3D NFT of the original Pong furniture with a digital autograph of Al Alcorn. Other digital items will be available in limited series of 20 pieces each.
The NFT market is still highly speculative and it is unclear whether people will actually want to spend real money for long-term collectibles that can only be viewed on a computer screen. Many of the NFTs sold today are of rather low quality, and some speculate that most of the NFT business comes from people and companies who have made a lot of money with cryptocurrencies and now they are buying digital art as a speculative resource. The hope is that one day everyday artists will be able to make money by selling one-of-a-kind pieces to their biggest fans directly.