You have been able to find other licensed mini-consoles able to play classic Atari games on the market for years, often for around $50 give or take. My assumption is this widely available hardware is generally shoddy and the emulation may be even moreso…..but I honestly can’t say for sure because I’ve never owned one of these boxes. I respect Atari, but it was just never my thing. The original Nintendo was my Atari, you know?
During this past E3, the company teased new hardware dubbed the ‘Ataribox’. This turned a lot heads in confusion. Everyone wondered why the company would enter the hardware space after three decades, but no one knew to what extent. Some people, like Tristan, thought Atari was making a box similar to Nintendo’s NES Classic while others, like myself, questioned if the company was actually going to try and compete with PlayStation and Xbox. The third option we Tristan and I thought of was a Steam box after the company remarked the upcoming system would be built on PC hardware.
We now have our answer—the Ataribox is a small box similar to the NES Classic and will offer a back catalogue of games that graced the company’s past hardware. The box will also offer ‘current content’ which I’m assuming means recent indie games and other titles that don’t push many pixels or polygons. So, if you ask me, this system sounds like a NES Classic meets the Ouya. As for the aestitics of the system, Atari said via email
“Our objective is to create something new, that stays true to our heritage, while appealing to both old and new fans of Atari.”
It doesn’t take much more than a quick look to see what they mean with the new box sporting ribbed wood paired with black plastic. As you can see in the images above, there is also a black and red option as well. Both versions have modern features like a HDMI port, four USB ports, and a SD card slot.
We still don’t have any information on pricing, release dates, game content, or full specs right now with the company saying the following:
“We know you are hungry for more details; on specs, games, pricing, and timing. 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 this to life, and to listen closely to the Atari community feedback as we do so.”
I’ll be sure to keep you updated as more news rolls out.