Following the surprise success of the NES Classic Edition, it’s clear there’s a major pent-up demand for well-emulated old-school games and hardware. Well, it seems the granddaddy of all home consoles may be preparing for a big return.
Last week Atari dropped a mysterious trailer for something called the Ataribox. The brief teaser shows a glimpse at some hardware that looks very much like a sleek remake of the classic Atari 2600, complete with wood paneling. Could Atari be working on their own version of the NES Classic Edition? It sure seems like it!
VentureBeat caught up with Atari CEO Fred Chesnais at E3 2017 and asked about the Ataribox tease. His response was simple, to-the-point, and pretty exciting:
“We’re back in the hardware business.”
According to VentureBeat, the Ataribox will run on PC technology and a final design is still being worked on. Chesnais doesn’t specifically state what the Ataribox will do, but VentureBeat’s article strongly implies it will be a retro games console.
Of course, you may have already seen various Atari Flashback all-in-one consoles on store shelves already. These are made by AtGames, the same folks that produce the various Sega Genesis retro systems, and are generally of fairly low quality. It sounds like the Ataribox is being developed in-house, and will hopefully boast improved emulation, more features, and better build quality.
Atari has had their share of trials and tribulations over the years. Focusing on recent history, Atari was purchased by European publisher Infogrames in 2001 and filed for bankruptcy in 2013. Thankfully, the company has managed to turn things around with a new focus on mobile games and by licensing its name and games for other media, like the upcoming Blade Runner 2049. Apparently the Ataribox is the next step in the company’s comeback.
The Ataribox is still in development and has yet to receive a release date.