Atari founder gets into gambling games


He made a fortune building a large video game enterprise that set the stage for a whole new era of at-home entertainment. Now, Nolan Bushnell is going to use his talents and skills, the same assets that made Atari great, to help a casino game manufacturing company increase its market share. The man responsible for the Atari 2600 is working for Synergy Blue as a consultant.

atari-founder-bushnell-now-lending-his-expertise-to-synergy-blueSynergy Blue and Bushnell were side by side at the recent Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas. The company’s CEO, Georg Washington, acknowledged the working relationship without going into much detail, only explaining that Bushnell’s expertise is already proving vital to shaping Synergy Blue’s future. The “father of electronic gaming” chimed in, as well, explaining, “I love to design games. It’s interesting, I had a career in which I kept being pushed into the CEO role, and what happens when you’re CEO is as the company gets big, you’re spending all your time with accountants and attorneys. And they’re not nearly as much fun as the engineers and the artists.”

G2E was the platform used by Synergy Blue to highlight four of its newest games, including two match games, a shooting game and a racing game. In total, the company showed off 14 new games at the event in response to a study conducted earlier this year that showed that casinos can become more lucrative if they offer games that are more similar to arcade-style games and less like traditional slot machines.

Just don’t call Washington’s games skill-based. He asserted at G2E, “Naming what we do skill-based gaming is just a terrible idea. We are skill-influenced. So, we’re really chance-based with skill influence. No different than video poker or Laguna Beach back in the day, which predates your video poker.”

If the results of the study are accurate and arcade-style games are the future, there is something else that has to be considered. A separate study shows that online casinos are the future, which means that arcade-style games will have to be integrated into virtual gambling halls. Washington is aware of this and is actively pursuing a healthy balance of the two concepts. He explains, “From my perspective, we are looking in the online world not only as using our content and pushing it out there but also looking at how do we bridge that gap. I think that’s sort of a magic sauce item as well. If you can find a way to bring online into casinos, you got a winner.”

Having Bushnell on-board is a great way to help make that happen.