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Atari Reveals Upcoming Ataribox Console's Design

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Here's something we never expected to write: Atari has revealed more information about its upcoming Ataribox console. That's right. "Atari," "upcoming," and "console" were all used in the same sentence. But don't worry, you haven't accidentally slipped into an alternate timeline or something. You're just witnessing one of the granddaddies of video gaming attempt to make a comeback with its first console since the '80s.

Atari teased the Ataribox earlier this year with a short YouTube video. Now the company has offered a more detailed look at the console's design, and if you're at all familiar with the Atari consoles of yesteryear, the Ataribox will look awfully familiar. It sports the red Atari logo, a bunch of ribs, and optional wood or glass panels. Atari said it plans to offer two versions of the console--a "wood edition" and a black-and-red edition.

The Ataribox is clearly meant to play on people's nostalgia, and that philosophy extends to the console's games, too. Atari said that it plans to offer "classic gaming content" and "current gaming content" with the Ataribox. The company didn't offer any details about what "current gaming content" means, though. Is the Ataribox supposed to compete with other consoles, like the PlayStation 4, or will it focus on mobile games like Ouya did?

We don't know. Atari hasn't responded to a request for comment, and it said in an email newsletter that it's not intentionally withholding information:

We know you are hungry for more details; on specs, games, features, pricing, timing etc. We’re not teasing you intentionally; we want to get this right, so we’ve opted to share things step by step as we bring Ataribox to life, and to listen closely to Atari community feedback as we do so. There are a lot of milestones, challenges and decision points in front of us in the months ahead. We’ll be giving you lots more information and status updates as we progress, and we are thrilled to have you along for the ride!

That passage suggests that Atari might not even know what the finished Ataribox will look like. Aside from the images shared in the newsletter, the only other information we have about the Ataribox is that it has one HDMI port, one SD slot, and four USB ports. This suggests that the Ataribox will support up to four controllers, and the presence of the SD slot suggests that Atari could be trying to keep down production costs by offering minimal on-device storage.

We expect to learn more about the Ataribox as development on the console continues.

  • bloodroses
    Interesting. The design actually looks pretty good as it borrows from both the past and present. Let's see if Atari has learned from past mistakes. They could become a contender again if they succeed with a good game lineup and design.
    Reply
  • dudmont
    If Atari wants this to succeed, it will have to on it's own merits. It's audience of nostalgics isn't that big anymore, as many gamers are far too young to have been around for pong or pitfall. Even someone of advanced enough age as me, is still too young to really have much remembrance of Ataris from yesteryear.
    I wish them well, but I'm a bit skeptical.
    Reply
  • bloodroses
    19949535 said:
    If Atari wants this to succeed, it will have to on it's own merits. It's audience of nostalgics isn't that big anymore, as many gamers are far too young to have been around for pong or pitfall. Even someone of advanced enough age as me, is still too young to really have much remembrance of Ataris from yesteryear.
    I wish them well, but I'm a bit skeptical.

    A good start by them at least on the retro front will be to actually have the arcade roms of their popular games and not the horrid 2600 ports. But yeah, for them to exceed outside a tiny niche (like the nes classic), they will need to have some strong first party titles.
    Reply
  • Dunzaus
    Atari's last console was the Atari Jaguar, from 1993
    Reply
  • Giroro
    I'm waiting for the ataribox 360.
    Reply
  • dudmont
    19949608 said:
    19949535 said:
    If Atari wants this to succeed, it will have to on it's own merits. It's audience of nostalgics isn't that big anymore, as many gamers are far too young to have been around for pong or pitfall. Even someone of advanced enough age as me, is still too young to really have much remembrance of Ataris from yesteryear.
    I wish them well, but I'm a bit skeptical.

    A good start by them at least on the retro front will be to actually have the arcade roms of their popular games and not the horrid 2600 ports. But yeah, for them to exceed outside a tiny niche (like the nes classic), they will need to have some strong first party titles.

    Really good ports wouldn't hurt, but you're right, they'll need a lot more than that. If their smart, they'll include the original game with all their ports.
    One issue I was pondering is how open their code and platform will be. A very open architecture will help them from an ease of porting new modern titles standpoint, but limits sales of machines, to a degree. It really comes down to how they're planning on making their money. If it's from sales of machines, then it'll be a more closed architecture, if it's from licensing games to the platform(which is where I'd go myself), then a more open architecture would be the hot ticket.
    Like I said earlier, I wish them well, but I think they're climbing a pretty big hill and pushing a pretty big rock.
    Reply
  • bloodroses
    19949609 said:
    Atari's last console was the Atari Jaguar, from 1993

    Yeah, that was a disaster. :( The Lynx was actually quite good though, just plagued with issues such as not enough titles and poor battery life. However, that was originally designed by Epyx... lol

    Looking at Atari's past consoles:
    2600- Great at the time
    5200- Disastrous Controls. Nothing really new game wise since they were almost all updated graphic versions of 2600 games
    7800- Poor outdated design with horrid audio for the sake of 2600 compatibility. That was due to the crash and not redesigned.
    Lynx- Great idea, but flawed as stated above. Not designed by them
    Jaguar- Poor hardware design due to bankruptcy during development. Horrid games and support due to damaged image.
    Reply
  • bloodroses
    19949765 said:
    19949608 said:
    19949535 said:
    If Atari wants this to succeed, it will have to on it's own merits. It's audience of nostalgics isn't that big anymore, as many gamers are far too young to have been around for pong or pitfall. Even someone of advanced enough age as me, is still too young to really have much remembrance of Ataris from yesteryear.
    I wish them well, but I'm a bit skeptical.

    A good start by them at least on the retro front will be to actually have the arcade roms of their popular games and not the horrid 2600 ports. But yeah, for them to exceed outside a tiny niche (like the nes classic), they will need to have some strong first party titles.

    Really good ports wouldn't hurt, but you're right, they'll need a lot more than that. If their smart, they'll include the original game with all their ports.
    One issue I was pondering is how open their code and platform will be. A very open architecture will help them from an ease of porting new modern titles standpoint, but limits sales of machines, to a degree. It really comes down to how they're planning on making their money. If it's from sales of machines, then it'll be a more closed architecture, if it's from licensing games to the platform(which is where I'd go myself), then a more open architecture would be the hot ticket.
    Like I said earlier, I wish them well, but I think they're climbing a pretty big hill and pushing a pretty big rock.

    That is a really good idea for the open architecture. I know the same thing was tried with the 3DO, but the console cost alone killed that system. Atari can't afford to do that.

    You're right, they'll be having to climb a mountain with a huge sweaty sumo wrestler on their back if they want to succeed. :)
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    What I'd like to see are not games that compete with the PS4 and Xbox One but rather are their own thing, like the Nintendo approach. The types of games I visualize are games you don't see much anymore. Remember, sitting on the couch with your friends all playing a game. Games that were not buggy messes. Maybe platformers and fun "arcade-style" games but in a more modern context and setting.
    Reply
  • bloodroses
    19949802 said:
    What I'd like to see are not games that compete with the PS4 and Xbox One but rather are their own thing, like the Nintendo approach. The types of games I visualize are games you don't see much anymore. Remember, sitting on the couch with your friends all playing a game. Games that were not buggy messes. Maybe platformers and fun "arcade-style" games but in a more modern context and setting.

    Local multiplayer will be great. That is one thing I loved about the N64 systems onward, native 4 player or more support. They make for great party systems when you have a group of friends over. :)
    Reply