After a teaser video hit back in June and then an official announcement the following month, we now have more information on Atari’s upcoming home console. While retro gaming has been experiencing a massive resurgence over the last year, spearheaded by Nintendo’s re-released Classic Edition mini consoles, we certainly didn’t expect to see Atari come out of the woodwork like this.
Nonetheless, the Ataribox is on its way and we have even more juicy details about what to expect come launch time…
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At its core, this is essentially a PC running Linux wrapped inside of a vintage-looking housing that goes hand-in-hand with Atari’s classic branding. There will be a black version, but the (real) wood grain finish really makes the box shine. You can see the latest press shots for the console throughout this post.
The box is set to come pre-loaded with classic Atari games, although there is still no word on what exactly they might be. Easily one of the biggest flaws of Nintendo’s insanely popular Classic Edition consoles, outside of those pathetic cables for the controller, was indeed the pre-installed library of games. While it is possible to add more titles to Nintendo’s machines, you’re going to have to be a pretty keen hacker to do so. Fortunately, this doesn’t sound as though it will the case for Ataribox. Because of the Linux based OS, it looks as though users should be able to load up other content (from other platforms) on the machine outside of the included games.
We may even be able to run other emulators and more which leads us to some of the other main features. There will be some kind of social media hub involved and we will be able to stream other content to the big screen and listen to tunes, among other things.
The Ataribox is scheduled to hit Indiegogo sometime this fall with special edition pricing. However, Atari has announced the console will hit store shelves in spring 2018 for somewhere between $250 and $300, depending on which model.
Considering the price tag of other classic gaming emulations (including those with Atari content) are significantly cheaper than this, we imagine this might be a hard sell for some. I mean you can get a Nintendo Switch for basically the same price and play all the games that will be included on the Ataribox for free on your Mac/PC right now. Having said that, Atari is adding some nice functionality. Here’s to hoping the ability to use the machine as a living room hub for streaming and social media will bring enough extra value.
At this point it is hard to say, but Atari clearly nailed the design here and we should be able to play other ROMs through the OS directly on the big screen. That will certainly get some nostalgic gamers to reach into their pocketbooks.