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The iconic Atari 2600. Image: Wikimedia
You have to be past a certain age to remember Atari’s game consoles and unless you’re past that age, you’re unlikely to be excited by the news that Atari, after a 24-year hiatus, is finally working on a new game console.
To those too young to remember, Atari is best known as the creator of Pong (in 1972) and the maker of the granddaddy of game consoles, the Atari 2600. For a generation, Atari defined the game console. It fought neck and neck with Nintendo and Sega, but couldn’t keep up with advancements in computing and game design. The Atari Lynx, a handheld game console with a colour-display lost ground to Nintendo’s GameBoy, and by 1993, the PlayStation and Xbox were already stealing the market.
By 1996, the original Atari was dead. The brand changed hands multiple times before getting acquired by Infogrames in 2001. The company renamed itself to Atari SA and has been slowly building itself up over the years. The company almost went bankrupt again in 2013, but the current CEO, Fred Chesnais bought the company and has been working to revive the brand since.
Now, more than 40 years since the company’s inception, we’re hearing that it intends to get back into the hardware business with a new console called the Ataribox.
VentureBeat, following an exclusive interview with Atari, confirmed that a new game console is indeed in the works. As VentureBeat points out, the recent success of Nintendo’s NES Classic console and the surprising success of the unusual Nintendo Switch may have prompted the company to try its luck in the hardware market once again.
The company did tease the Ataribox in a 22-second video a few days before E3 2017. The teaser definitely got people excited, but no information at E3 2017 got the sceptics worked up as well.
Other than confirming that a console is indeed coming and that it’s based on “PC technology”, Atari has refused to comment further.
We’re certainly curious to see what a new console from Atari has to offer. We’re also keeping our fingers crossed in hopes that this is not another attempt to cash in on nostalgia and is actually something new and exciting.