Atari Goes Full Retro with New Console

Posted on July 17, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Xbox with 42 Comments

With a nod to its aging and nostalgic fans, Atari this week revealed that its Ataribox video game console will deliver classic games, like the NES Classic. Plus some new games. For some reason.

Atari’s revelations about this new console have been painfully sporadic, and the firm—OK, really just some company that controls the brand—still isn’t being all that forthcoming. But in the wake of an E3-timed teaser, Atari has finally shown off some images of the coming console. And provided a bit of information.

“Our objective is to create a new product that stays true to our heritage while appealing to both old and new fans of Atari,” a Atari email newsletter (obtained via Kotaku) reads. “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.”

“As you can guess, those ports suggest modern internal specs,” the newsletter continues. “It also means that while we will be delivering classic gaming content, we will also be delivering current gaming content.”

“We know you are hungry for more details; on specs, games, features, pricing, timing etc. We’re not teasing you intentionally; we want to get this right, so we’ve opted to share things step by step as we bring Ataribox to life, and to listen closely to Atari community feedback as we do so. There are a lot of milestones, challenges and decision points in front of us in the months ahead. We’ll be giving you lots more information and status updates as we progress, and we are thrilled to have you along for the ride!”

I have a theory about nostalgia and how it could help many older businesses. For example, I think McDonalds could see great success by remodeling its restaurants to look as they did in the 1960’s, and could see even greater success by switching the menu back to its 1980’s heyday, and just sell the classics. After decades of updates, it’s a busy place with too many choices. It’s no longer true to its identity.

And on that note, Atari, like Nintendo before it, will likely see some measure of success with this retro console. Though I doubt there’s room in the market for a “new” console from another company, as Sega, NEC, and, yes, Atari have discovered over the years. But we’ll see what happens. I’m curious because of some tech-goon gene, I guess.

 

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