In a move that has confused literally everyone, Atari has announced something called the Ataribox and given absolutely no details as to what it is.
A small website popped up on Friday with a 20 second long embedded YouTube video, several email links, and that’s it. The video shows close-up angled shots of a wood-grained, plastic slotted device, providing nothing to determine size or dimensions, and then abruptly ends with the Atari logo and the message “Coming Soon.”
The preview message for the video describes it as “A brand new Atari product. Years in the making”. The website appears to be made using the free website builder Wix, which is much like Squarespace, only worse.
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With so little information it would be easy to dismiss this as a hoax, but The Verge has reached out to Atari and confirmed that the Ataribox is a real thing. They’ve also confirmed there will be no announcement made at E3, so it looks like we’ll be left waiting for any new information on what this Ataribox could be.
Judging by the name it could very well be a new console system, however, it seems highly unlikely to find success given the intense competition between Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. Both Sony and Microsoft already have bleeding edge tech in their PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X respectively, so it’s hard to imagine Atari will steal market share based on specs alone. Nintendo seems to have a lock on the handheld and under 12 markets, so many are left scratching their heads as to what Atari plans for the Ataribox.
The last console released by Atari was the Jaguar in 1993. It was considered a commercial failure, with only 250,000 units sold before being discontinued in 1996. Atari has since then continued to license their name out to various products, but none of them have been consoles. The only thing that seems to keep the brand alive is the game franchise Roller Coaster Tycoon.
It could be that the Ataribox will turn out to be a miniaturized classic console, like the NES Classic, although critics remain skeptical there will be a sufficient number of nostalgic Atari players to warrant its creation. Nevertheless, you can go to the Ataribox website and sign up to their newsletter to be the first to know more.