Atari’s Vaporware Console Is Getting Blockchain-Based Games

Illustration for article titled Atari’s Vaporware Console Is Getting Blockchain-Based Games
Photo: Ultra

In what is certain to be one of the least promising moves in console gaming in 2020, Atari has partnered with a company called Ultra Gaming to offer blockchain-based game streaming to its forthcoming VCS console.

The fabled Atari VCS has long been a bit of fun vaporware that is currently suffering from shipping issues after promising delivery in March 2020. This new partnership - one of many that the company has announced over the past few months - aims to add Ultra’s digital downloads to the console.

Unlike other game delivery services, Ultra is promising digital ownership through cryptographic signing. This means, in theory, you could resell a game you’ve stopped playing and pay for games in Ultra or Atari’s own digital currency. In other words, if you change consoles - or lose your data - your games are lost.


Blockchain companies love partnerships like this one and they love partners who will announce anything for a buck. This partnership goosed the Ultra token price - the price of its private cryptocurrency - from 13 cents to 17 cents.

The games, to be clear, look either fake, awful, or both.

Illustration for article titled Atari’s Vaporware Console Is Getting Blockchain-Based Games
Screenshot: Ultra

This is not to disparage the entire idea of blockchain-based gaming. In theory, the idea could have legs. Imagine, for example, a virtual world in which you can give or sell a virtual cartridge or DVD to someone who can then “insert” it into their own virtual console - which they also “own,” virtually. It’s far-fetched but feasible, but I doubt Atari and this Ultra crew are the folks to pull it off.

John Biggs is a writer from Ohio who lives in Brooklyn. He likes books, watches, and his dog. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo. Signal: +16468270591 Telegram: @johnbiggs

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I had that idea awhile back for a blockchain service that would give real value to your digital copies of everything from movies, games, AR clothing and costumes, etc. Good to see some of it looks as if it may coming to fruition. Someday I believe we will wear AR glasses and Contacts that display AR clothing, costumes, jewlery, etc, on our bodies that is completely virtual. We will be able to buy, sell, and trade those items using blockchain tech. That is if we don’t all kill each other or die of some virus before then.