It’s been decades since Atari released a game console, but after several changes in ownership, the company has licensed its name to third-party gear like the upcoming Gameband wristwatch-style game device and other devices that use emulation to run classic Atari games.
But now Atari is getting ready to launch a new game console under its own name.
The company posted a teaser video of a new product called the Ataribox recently, and now Atari CEO Fred Chesnais has confirmed to GamesBeat that there is a new Atari console on the way.
We don’t know much about the new device yet. it will have wood-grained sides, much like the company’s classic devices. It’s said to be “based on PC technology,” whatever that means. And the full design is still a work in progress, which is why we’re just getting a teaser video at this point.
It’s unclear whether the goal is to release a whole new generation of Atari devices that will compete with modern game consoles, or if the idea is to tap into the nostalgia market by offering a new first-party device for playing classic games from the 80s.
Rival Nintendo has taken both approaches recently: the company’s Switch game console blurs the line between portable and home consoles, while the limited edition NES Classic Edition proved to be an unexpectedly popular device for retro gaming enthusiasts.
Given Atari’s current status, I find a emulator/retro game console more likely than a brand new device designed to run new games. But you never know.
I’m hoping it doesn’t turn out to be something like the Commodore PC64:
They have been asking for developers on their site , so there is that
Atari? Even LG is poised to make a better console than them.
I mean they haven’t been in the hardware business for ages.
They don’t have any new titles/IP to interest the public.
There’s no-way they can pull off a N DS/Switch/PS Vita… people have smartphones these days.
The best they can do is make an Android TV Box.
Or maybe an App for the App Store, Google Play, and Windows…. where you can download old Atari titles for free/next to nothing.
The item in the video doesn’t look like a handheld. It’s hard to determine its size because there isn’t anything else to reference, but it’s likely going to be a console.
If “based on PC technology” means they’re going to use a standard intel or AMD chip with PC graphics, then they don’t need any recent experience with hardware manufacturing. There are dozens of overseas manufacturers who will produce it for them. There would have to some proprietary chip or code in there somewhere to keep it from being copied, but that shouldn’t be difficult.
We’ll have wait and see what they’re planning. I don’t think developing a top-tier game console to go head to head with the PS4 and Xbox One would be wise. Sony and Microsoft are well established and have deep pockets. It’s going to be very difficult to compete with them in their territory.
There’s a reasonable amount of interest in retro gaming. Projects like RetroPie and NES Classic are proof. That might be the direction they’re going. If they can deliver a reasonable quality product (something better than the AtGames products which have low quality controllers and poor button mapping) at a reasonable price point, then they could have a successful, if niche product. It would be even better if they could set up an online store so that you could just buy the games you want.
If “based on PC technology” means “easily hackable and emulatable”, I’m in.
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