When Atari announced that they’ll be creating and marketing a modern console, almost 23 years after they released the Atari Jaguar, the crowd was not quite as “hyped.” And understandably so.
Atari’s exit from the console race in 1996 was met without much fanfare. Unlike Sega, who set off quite a bang with the Dreamcast, Atari went quietly in the night with nary a whisper.
However, it seems that Atari may be emboldened by the recent success of Nintendo, who wields nostalgia like a left-handed Hylian with a Master Sword. The blockbuster sales of the NES Classic Edition could just be enough motivation for the once-king of blip-zap entertainment to brush off the lukewarm response and present to us the Ataribox.
At first glance, it does look very familiar; with the slopes and ridges reminiscent of ye olde Atari 2600. It even has a wood-finished front panel! For those not too fond of the ‘rustic appliance’ feel, there will be a red/black edition with glass that would fit right in with current home entertainment setups.
Of course, the interfaces and ports are updated with an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, four USB ports, and an SD card slot. Unfortunately, that’s as far as Atari went in terms of what the console is equipped with. Still no word on the actual hardware inside.
Atari said that they will be delivering classic content along with some modern and current games. While it’s too early to really speculate on their approach, it sounds eerily similar with what Nintendo has been doing with the virtual console. Or it could be going the Ouya route; though hopefully not in the same destination (read: failure).
Atari will be announcing more about the Ataribox over the coming months.
It’s too soon to say if the console will be a success in this highly competitive games market. It will be very interesting to see how Atari will use its legacy and/or pedigree to stand against the power of this generation of consoles.