At the start of June a teaser video appeared for the Ataribox. The 21-second video showed little more than some plastic vents, an acre of wood-panelling, and a bright white Atari logo. Now Atari’s CEO has confirmed the Ataribox is definitely a new console and it’s being built using PC technology.
Forget the ancient, single-button controllers of old, these are the best PC controllers you can buy today.
In an interview with VentureBeat, Atari’s CEO, Fred Chesnais, confirmed the teaser wasn’t some kind of fake, but that it genuinely signalled the classic console company’s return to the hardware market.
There’s still no real information given about the console, despite a lot of speculation suggesting it was going to be some sort of retro gaming console, along the lines of the NES Classic Edition (and the wee SNES everybody’s desperate for). Chesnais' assertions that it’s going to be based on PC technology would seem to indicate the Ataribox is going to be more powerful than that, though.
“We’re back in the hardware business,” was essentially all he really told VentureBeat.
If your reaction to the idea of Atari trying to release a new games console is anything like ours you’ll be scratching your head while levering your jaw from the deck. After all, does this world really need another games console?
According to the teaser it's a 'brand new Atari product. Years in the making.' So the Ataribox has been in the works for a while. And Chesnais did tell us last year "we have a lot of ideas and we are also doing stuff outside of games."
But the high-end console market is already pretty saturated with Sony and Microsoft scrapping it out for market share with two expensive AMD-based consoles each, and then there's Nintendo operating in the more mainstream area with their Nvidia-powered Switch.
Please tell me Atari have teamed up with Intel to make their new gaming machine... that would be ripe for the lolz.
Yet Atari must think they’ve sniffed out a lucrative niche they can occupy, because even if they are using relatively off-the-shelf PC hardware, the cost of getting a new platform off the ground is seriously prohibitive. And where are the games going to come from outside of their old IP and RollerCoaster Tycoon World? Well, maybe it’s just going to be the ultimate RollerCoaster Tycoon machine...