The First Look At The Ataribox, Atari's New Console

Image: Atari

Gamers have been wondering what Atari was thinking when they announced they were making a new console. Finally, we're starting to see what was on their mind.

Atari showed off the exterior of their box and discussed some of the principles around its design in a newsletter published online. There wasn't any mention of specific specs or what kinds of games the Ataribox would play, although the newsletter did mention that there would be two editions - a black/red version and a wood version - and the console would come with an SD card slot, HDMI output and four USB ports. The images also show an ethernet port at the back, and what looks like a headphone jack/line out.

Image: Atari
Image: Atari

Damn it looks nice.

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the newsletter, however, is this line:

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

The post went on to suggest that "there are a lot of milestones, challenges and decision points in front of us in the months ahead", perhaps indicating that the console won't be ready for release in 2017. But as we find out more, we'll keep you posted.

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    Pretty, but will it be pretty vapourware?

      I see it going one of two ways. One, it comes out as expected, being a combo retro box (which really needs nothing bigger than a Pi) and modern console, or two, it ends up just being a retro box.

      I expect Atari sees this whole retro surge as a way to get back into the game, so will put a lot of resources into making that happen, and if so, it will be the combo option I think we'll see.

      Will be interesting to see if they aim to compete with Nintendo, or with Sony and Microsoft. I think trying to take on the PS4 and XB would be a mistake myself, and opening up a second market for Nintendo developers could be an easy path to getting content.

        The issue with a "retro box" is their previous retro boxes haven't had all the games people wanted - likely because of licencing issues.
        Plus there's been like 8-9 of them. If you want a good collection of classic games to relive your youth, you don't really want 10 shitty consoles.

          Some retro boxes have though, just look at the Classic NES and the upcoming Classic SNES. They are limited, but still making Nintendo a truckload of cash. 2-3 million mini NES's @ $70 each becomes a nice earner. And the interest is/was through the roof.

          If you look at the pictures, the box is pretty small (assuming that's close to the final product). Doesn't look to be massively bigger than the Classic NES, so is either a retro box or something competing with current Nintendo level stuff. I think the risk is going to more be the era they tap into.

          There are definitely risks, not saying otherwise. The Classic Megadrive is a bit of a letdown, so I see what you're saying. But if any brand can match what Nintendo is doing with their retro range, its Atari.

    Sorry, retro Atari games should be left to die. I can't think of any standouts I'd buy an Atari retro console for. Compare that to the SNES and it's a no brainer. SNES wins every time.

    I'd like a couple non-angled shots of the box. From the look of it it's not a flat top it's sloped. I find that annoying when it comes to electronics since you can't stack say the blu-ray player on top of it.

    I'd much prefer a utilitarian design, but maybe that's just me.

    If it only plays 2600 era games it won't be that thrilling, but if it can play games from more "modern" (for suitably small values of "modern") Atari consoles and computers, such as the Jaguar or the ST, it could be a very interesting piece of kit. I never got the chance to try a Jaguar (I've never even seen one "in the flesh"), and I'd love to play Jeff Minter's Tempest 2000.

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