The Atari identify nonetheless carries a whole lot of cachet with online game followers, given the corporate’s function in creating the house console market – however its final piece of recent , 1993’s Jaguar, was a large flop. 

Since then, the Atari model has modified palms a number of occasions, emerged from chapter, and been used to market social video games and on-line playing.

It has been a tough couple of a long time for Atari. However that would all change if the Ataribox finally ends up being an enormous hit.

What’s the Ataribox? It is Atari’s hopeful comeback within the console world, promising each entry to authentic Atari video games and new experiences, pairing the basic with the trendy. 

However past that there aren’t a ton of concrete particulars: as of now, Atari is steadily teasing out photographs and data, claiming they’re attempting to answer suggestions earlier than absolutely revealing the system.

So will this be an NES Classic-style smash that efficiently mines nostalgia, or ought to we count on one other Ouya-esque microconsole bomb that falls properly wanting expectations? We won’t say for certain at this level, however here is all the pieces we all know to this point…

[Update: According to Atari, the Ataribox will be available to pre-order starting on Thursday, December 14, 2017 and is expected to release in Spring 2018.]

Reduce to the chase

  • What’s it? A brand new Atari console that performs outdated video games and new ones too.
  • How a lot will it price? Estimates are between $250-300
  • When does it come out? Spring 2018 is Atari’s goal

What’s an Ataribox?

Atari first teased the Ataribox again in June with a pretty lightweight website and a short YouTube clip, after which lastly spilled the beans again at E3. Atari CEO Fred Chesnais, who purchased the corporate following its 2013 chapter, told VentureBeat: “We’re again within the enterprise.” The article additionally claimed the system could be “primarily based on PC expertise”.

It wasn’t till July that we obtained a greater sense of what to anticipate when an e mail blast to followers who subscribed to Atari’s publication answered some questions: The Ataribox shall be obtainable in two fashions – one with a basic wooden grain entrance, and one other that is black and pink – with a really slim, streamlined aesthetic that appears a bit like a cable field or streaming set-top field. Each variations share the identical, clean total design, with ribbed strains and a raised again.

Based mostly on the images we are able to see that the Ataribox can have a number of trendy ports within the again, together with an HDMI output, 4 USB ports, and an Ethernet cable port for wired web entry. It is also deliberate to assist SD playing cards, which may make it straightforward to carry video games, media, and different content material to your Ataribox, or maybe assist maintain a homebrew neighborhood. Or perhaps it’s going to simply present expandable storage so customers should buy as a lot or as little as they want, quite than Atari packing the field itself with it.

“Our goal is to create a brand new product that stays true to our heritage whereas interesting to each outdated and new followers of Atari,” learn the e-mail. 

Contained in the field you will see an AMD personalized processor with Radeon Graphics expertise highly effective sufficient to run video games like Minecraft and light-weight indie titles simply in addition to the opposite consoles can. It’s going to additionally be capable to run conventional Atari video games – although it will not take a lot horsepower to run them.

In accordance with a press launch despatched out in late September, all this will assist the console carry a full PC expertise to the TV, together with the power to stream exhibits and flicks, entry purposes (the console runs on a taste of Linux), log-on to social networks, browse the online and stream music.

So far as what the controller seems like – whether or not it’s going to be an Atari 2600 gamepad or one thing a bit extra … trendy – we’ll simply have to attend and see. 

Which video games will it play?

Effectively, that is the large query. In any case, what good is one other console if it would not have nice video games to play on it? That was one of the apparent issues with the Atari Jaguar, however that was greater than twenty years in the past in a totally totally different period for gaming, to not point out on notoriously complicated that was tough to develop for.

Atari says that the Ataribox will run basic video games – digitally, that’s, whether or not they’re built-in or downloadable (or each) –which makes a ton of sense. In any case, the NES Basic was an enormous hit, promoting out each time it hit shops and leaving a whole lot of followers determined and wanting when Nintendo opted to cease producing the field.  The upcoming SNES Classic looks like it’s going to be one other smash, given how unattainable it has been to safe a pre-order for the 16-bit throwback system.

Atari owns the rights to greater than 200 totally different online game properties, together with Pong, Missile Command, Asteroids, and Centipede. For a greater trace at what to anticipate from the corporate, simply try the Atari’s Greatest Hits app for iOS and Android: it presents 100 basic Atari 2600 video games you could purchase in small bundles, or you may unlock all the library for $10.

If the Ataribox is patterned extra just like the Ouya microconsole, then it may function a platform for brand new and experimental content material of all types, particularly from indie builders.

Clearly, Atari is not going to launch a customized piece of , promote a $10 pack of video games for it, and name it a day. That why the corporate has additionally teased “present content material” for the Ataribox. Will that imply appearances by different, extra trendy Atari franchises like Rollercoaster Tycoon, Check Drive, and Ghostbusters? That might imply ports of Atari video games we have seen on cell platforms and different consoles during the last couple a long time, and even ported PC video games.

Perhaps! But it surely may additionally imply model new content material. 

If the Ataribox is patterned extra just like the Ouya microconsole, then it may function a platform for brand new and experimental content material of all types, particularly from indie builders. That would appear to make a whole lot of sense, particularly if the system finally ends up being powered by a low-end PC processor, or even perhaps Android with a cell chip within the combine (regardless of the “PC expertise” suggestion). However for now, it is all simply hypothesis. We all know nothing for sure.

When will the Ataribox come out?

Atari has been a bit imprecise round this matter however, to this point, it seems like the corporate is concentrating on Spring 2018, relying on how properly the console’s Indiegogo goes.

“We all know you might be hungry for extra particulars; on specs, video games, options, pricing, timing and so on,” learn the corporate’s July 2017 e mail to subscribers. “We’re not teasing you deliberately; we need to get this proper, so we have opted to share issues step-by-step as we carry Ataribox to life, and to hear intently to Atari neighborhood suggestions as we accomplish that.” 

However we do know one crucial element: the Ataribox shall be crowdfunded. Atari would not appear to be fairly as flush with money it was again in its early glory days, plus the Ataribox is a large danger and would require ample funding. 

That is clearly a little bit of a double-edged sword: If the field will get all of the funding it wants inside a matter of days – it’s going to be clear that Atari has a possible success on their palms. If they do not, properly, it may very well be an early dying for a neat concept.

It would not make sense to crowdfund a tool that is already manufactured and able to hit retail. Additionally, the e-mail mentioned there have been nonetheless choices to be made “within the months forward.”

However hopefully we’ll see it in 2018, then, or past. Nonetheless, even when the console makes its solution to the mass manufacturing stage, crowdfunded consoles have not had an amazing run to this point when it comes to longevity: the Ouya ended up being a short-lived phenomenon that yielded tough launch and few important video games you could not play elsewhere. In the meantime, the PlayJam GameStick landed with a whimper and the Coleco Chameleon flamed out earlier than it was even constructed.

But when Atari can efficiently commerce on its basic model, ship an genuine old-school 2600 expertise, and supply sufficient compelling trendy content material to justify the worth, then perhaps the Ataribox can succeed the place different microconsoles have failed. As with a lot of the exhausting particulars right here, we’ll simply have to attend and see – and we’ll hold you up to date.