Amidst all the gaming news coming out of E3, the most surprising news of the week is that it seems Atari will be coming back into the spotlight with a brand new console.
Many gamers have fond memories of the Atari and some of its games such as Pac Man, Space Invaders, and Gauntlet. A number of titles continue to be sought after today via emulators, smartphone reincarnations, and collections on modern consoles such as Atari Anthology.
There’s certainly an appetite for these classic games and similar consoles such as the SEGA MegaDrive have seen updated versions released with many of their games built-in to capitalise on the nostalgia many people feel. Atari, however, seems to be gearing up for a completely brand new console
On Friday, Atari launched a website teasing a new product dubbed the Ataribox. The website doesn’t have much to go on at this point but the embedded video shows new hardware with a similar wood grain design of classic Atari consoles like the 2600 and what appears to be controller ports.
Most people, myself included, would assume it’s just modern hardware on which to play Atari classics like the aforementioned re-released consoles. However, the video’s title “A brand new Atari product. Years in the making.” would lead you to believe it’s something more…
Not only should the claim ‘brand new’ mean exactly that, but a re-released console shouldn’t be ‘years in the making’. Furthermore, there are two buttons at the bottom of the page for ‘Jobs’ and ‘Dev’.
Each of these buttons are for a simple ‘mailto’ to email the company so there’s no information about who Atari are specifically looking for, or what they’ll be working on. Clicking the ‘Dev’ button, however, fills in the subject line with “I’m a developer and want to know more about your platform.”
A platform open to development would suggest it’s more than just a re-released console and new content will be available on it. It’s hard to imagine Atari taking on Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox, but it could be a cheaper, low-power alternative for people who enjoy more classic-style games.
This would put the Ataribox more in competition with cheap Android boxes – something which didn’t work out too well for OUYA. Atari’s brand and nostalgia factor could be enough to make it more successful, but it may want to wait for a time the headlines aren’t being dominated by the modern heavy-hitters.
Would you be interested in the Ataribox? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Rojenx is a leading concept artist who work appears in games and publications
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