Everyone remembers when Atari was king of the hill back in the 70’s and early 80’s. Most will also remember Atari’s epic fall and the Great Video Game Crash of 1983 that it is often associated with.
But even then Atari managed to climb back into gaming as it took off, and though their last efforts at a console (the Jaguar) were unsuccessful, they continued to be a publisher of videogames.
Fast forward to 2017 and Atari has been out of the console game for decades, they’ve gone through bankruptcy, and not a whole lot is going on for them. In fact the name is mostly just a memory to even the most hardcore gaming aficionados.
But then out of the blue a video appears announcing their return to the hardware business and everyone is shocked; what could it mean? Will there finally be another competitor to Xbox and PlayStation? Is this all just a gimmick? Questions abound for months, speculation on what the role of the device will be, considering the fact that Nintendo had recently launched their own retro-throwback devices that came preloaded with classic games, could that be what Atari was driving at?
It turns out the answer to many of these question is both yes and no.
Information is still sparse but what we do know is that the Ataribox is not simply an emulatorbox, though it will come with “tons of classic Atari retro games pre-loaded…”, it will also play “… current titles from a range of studios.” what those are is what we don’t know yet. It has not been announced what the source for these games could be, though it is rumored it may be the Steam Store. Apparently it will also sport a Linux operating system that will be customizable, and loaded with plenty of media apps(like every other console or living room device).
As for specs the device will come with a custom AMD processor and Radeon graphics technology. The price is said to end up between $249-299 because the specs haven’t been totally nailed down yet. This will apparently be determined by the fans when the Indiegogo pre-order campaign launches this Spring.
So what does all this add up to?
Well it sounds like the Ataribox will end up a mid-strength console without a dedicated platform of its own, so not likely to be having much by way of exclusive content (outside preloaded classics), but may provide the flexibility for gamers to play Steam exclusives on their TV with a console experience while also being able to catch some Netflix in between gaming sessions.
We’ve only had a small peek at what could be inside the box. We haven’t seen the controller and full specs are still a ways off. Everything is speculation, but I think it’s safe to eliminate some of the possibilities based on what we do know.
The Ataribox is not going to revolutionize gaming, shake up the industry, and certainly won’t be responsible for another video game crash. With a lack of exclusive content or services and not having the massive marketing budget to throw around it doesn’t seem like this is meant to compete with the likes of the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 (possibly not even the Nintendo Switch) but more of a nostalgia play with some fun options for gaming. But we’ll have to see.
What do you think? If you’re interested in staying up-to-date check out the official site.