Can Atari Make A Comeback?


Makers of the 80s gaming console Atari previously dropped hints about coming out with the Ataribox to compete with other more recent gaming consoles today, that is, until they sent an email to its loyal fans that gave old-school geeks a reason to rejoice about its second coming.

The email described the new console as, “Inspired by classic Atari design elements (such as the iconic use of wood, ribbed lines, and raised back); we are creating a smooth design, with ribs that flow seamlessly all around the body of the product, a front panel that can be either wood or glass, a front facing logo, indicator lights that glow through the material, and an array of new ports (HDMI, 4xUSB, SD). We intend to release two editions: a wood edition, and a black/red edition,”

Nothing has been officially set in stone on the specs, and Atari says it wants to reveal the product “step by step”.  They do hint that Ataribox will offer more than just the classic games fans all know and loved, but it will be able to to use “current gaming content” as well.  Speculation is that it may be a similar Android box like Ouya and the Nvidia Shield TV or akin to Nintendo’s retro efforts like the SNES or NES Classic.

Another interesting aspect of this new endeavor is that there appears to be a crowdfunding campaign attached to it.  

According to Eurogamer French investors sent this note along to Atari "To limit risk taking, this product will initially be launched within the framework of a crowdfunding campaign."

Atari does have its cult following, however, in recent years its attempts have mostly turned into duds. For instance when it licensed out its name to other companies resulting in Atari Gameband Smartwatch or just publishing games based on its IPs such as Roller Coaster Tycoon. Neither of these ventures paid off commercially or monetarily, and damaged Atari’s reputation for those in the know.  

Recently Atari has also released some games attached to franchises that it owns, like Alone in the Dark-Illumination and Asteroids-Outpost.  The two were greeted with poor reviews, which makes for skepticism concerning what Ataribox may bring to the table when the chips are down.  

Either way, the gaming world will be watching.  

photo by: moparx/ Flickr