Animoca Brands and Atari expand strategic partnership to introduce blockchain gaming to the masses

Animoca Brands Atari blockchain classic games
Animoca and Atari have extended their strategic partnership to 2025 while expanding the number of games available to players.

Blockchain-focused gaming developer Animoca Brands has unveiled an expansionary development regarding its existing partnership with cult classic gaming company Atari.

Supplementing an existing agreement dating back to December 2018, Animoca Brands said the new amendment expands its access to an additional 15 Atari games “on any platform and any distribution channel, inclusive of blockchain products, for a term extending through to 31 January 2025”.

Animoca Brands and Atari confirmed they amended their existing license agreement to expand the number of channels and intellectual property (IP) made available for Animoca’s platform.

Classic games added

Moreover, the significant expansion means Atari will grant Animoca Brands the right to develop and distribute an additional 15 classic Atari arcade games, including highly popular titles such as Asteroids, Pong and Centipede.

Animoca Brands will also obtain the right to develop and publish blockchain versions of all of Atari’s previously released titles including the integration of novel features such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

As a guarantee to ensure future revenue payments, Animoca Brands has decided to issue 18.7 million shares at $0.21 per share and stated the entirety of this “license fee” is recoupable against royalties paid to Atari from the revenue generated by Atari’s gaming titles.

Another benefit of the expanded partnership for Animoca Brands is the ability to become a non-exclusive distributor of Atari’s games in Asia and an exclusive provider of blockchain content globally for the Atari VCS console.

“We are thrilled to strengthen our partnership with Animoca Brands, whose vision for the integration of blockchain technology into video games is perfectly aligned with ours,” Atari chief executive officer Frederic Chesnais said.

“When we signed the initial agreement, we always envisaged to expand it to the most iconic games of the Atari catalogue to turn them into blockchain games.”

“Our ambition for the Atari VCS is to develop an ecosystem that gives users access to the largest number of tools for creation and entertainment. Blockchain games inside a virtual world are a perfect example for the types of entertainment that we want to propose to the Atari VCS userbase,” Mr Chesnaid added

“It was the natural choice to ask our partner Animoca Brands, whose leadership in blockchain gaming is unquestioned, to offer their blockchain gaming content directly on the Atari VCS,” he said.

According to a statement to the market, the amended deal grants Animoca Brands non-exclusive distribution rights in Asia, but excludes Australia and New Zealand, for the upcoming Atari VCS game console. As a solution, Animoca Brands has announced it will set up and operate its own online retail store focusing on the Oceanic region through to 30 September 2022.

Animoca Brands will be the exclusive blockchain gaming content provider for the Atari VCS console until 30 September 2022, including the right to incorporate its preferred blockchain technology solutions such as crypto wallets, thereby making the VCS “the world’s first dedicated blockchain gaming game console”, the company said.

As consideration for the exclusivity for Atari’s VCS game console, Animoca Brands has agreed to pay a minimum guarantee against future revenues of US$320,000 (A$441,000), payable before 31 July 2021 or through the issuance of 2.2 million Animoca shares at A$0.21 per share.

Coming to the boil

In December 2018, Atari and Animoca Brands first announced their commercial partnership – a joint venture to develop a variety of virtual worlds built on crypto assets and blockchain technology.

The burgeoning partnership was further strengthened in April 2020 after Animoca Brands conducted its own foray into blockchain gaming with the launch of The Sandbox and an accompanying token presale worth $700,000.

The Sandbox is a virtual world where players can build, own and monetise their own “voxel gaming” experiences on the Ethereum blockchain. The company said its vision is to offer a deeply immersive “metaverse” in which virtual worlds and games will be created collaboratively and without a central authority.

Classic arcade titles such as AsteroidsCentipedePong and RollerCoaster Tycoon were all announced as titles that would make a new-age comeback with Atari hinting it will create an “online theme park” that users can not only visit, but also, commoditise.

Given the dovetailing ambitions from both companies, combining forces to establish a blockchain gaming hub makes strong commercial sense.

To further streamline their co-development, Animoca Brands has the option to exchange five games for other Atari titles until 31 December 2020 and upon meeting revenue milestones, stands to gain the rights to an additional 13 Atari games at no extra charge.

Gaming forth

The amendment announced today grants Animoca Brands the right to distribute Atari’s games through the platforms of its subsidiaries and affiliated entities, principally Gamee and Quidd.

Animoca Brands acquired Gamee in July this year for just over $8 million – a social gaming platform with more than 80 game titles, 13 million registered users and 1.3 million active monthly users primarily via social media apps such as Telegram.

Quidd is a leading global marketplace for buying and selling branded digital collectables.

Animoca Brands has declared it intends to launch all of its blockchain games on Gamee’s mobile, web, and desktop platforms while simultaneously offering digital collector assets via its subsidiary Quidd.

“This significant expansion of our partnership with Atari allows Animoca Brands to leverage some of the greatest ever classic games into our blockchain strategy and on our popular platforms, including the hyper-casual gaming platform Gamee and the digital collectables platform Quidd,” Animoca Brands co-founder and chairman Yat Siu said.

“We are very excited at the opportunity to catapult these nostalgic, history-making games into the future,” he added.

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