By Jamaal Ryan
After not hearing from a video game publisher for a long time, one of the last things that you’d want to hear from them is that they’ve partnered up with a gambling game development company. And yet that’s the story about Atari, who has partnered up with Pariplay, as they’re agreeing to bring their classic franchises to Pariplay’s platforms.
To be featured in the gambling company’s iLottery and iGaming platforms, players will be able to find Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command, Pong, and Tempest on Pariplay’s mobile and social formats. At this time, Pariplay’s games consist of slots, scratch-offs, bingo, and other expected (and I’ll use their phrase) fixed-odds style genres. And while it is currently unknown what form these classic Atari brands will take under Pariplay, one could guess that their gambling iterations won’t just be Centipede skinned virtual slots; perhaps something a little more “pay-to-win” like with a chance of some sort of monetary kickback?
This is more than just a shit stain on gaming’s humble classics; to be fair, we’ve seen classic gaming brands find their way into casinos. But it raises a concern with me that these games will take a “fix-odds” format, and perhaps present themselves as more appealing to addicted gamblers. Maybe they could even attract an untapped type of gambler by tricking them into thinking that their skills as a gamer will give them an edge on these classic skill based games where in reality, Pariplay’s systems are specifically engineered – just as all other gambling systems – to generate rewards by chance.
Could this be the future that Ryan Black, lawyer at Mc Millan LLP in Vancouver Canada, warned us about when he said about gambling companies? “It just shows that they recognize where the money is. They recognize ‘look at what these video game companies are doing, we want a piece of that as well.’”
Who knows? But I feel more creeped out by this than Notch felt about the Facebook & Oculus acquisition.