Atari has confirmed that it is developing a new video game console, the first in over twenty years. The company is largely synonymous with early video game development, and famous for titles such as Pong. Its first home console, the Atari 2600, came on the scene in 1977. Years later, in 2013, it filed for bankruptcy. In the interim years, it has largely been focused on mobile and online casino games, but that seems to have finally changed.
The new console is called the Ataribox. There are no details beyond its name and some elementary design features.
The chief executive, Fred Chesnais, announced to Gamesbeat website during E3 last week: "We're back in the hardware business." The company previously teased a short video that shows the front of the new console. It appears that the console will have Atari's signature wood-paneling. Most significantly, Chesnais stated that the console would be based on PC technology, giving rise to the hope that it'd be able to run Emulator software, and thus we would get a chance to relive its original hits - Space Invaders, Frogger, Pac Man, and Asteroids, on the new console.
PREVIOUSLY: IS ATARI MAKING A NEW CONSOLE?
Retro gaming has had a significant comeback in the last few years. Most notably probably, would be the re-release of the NES Classic Mini which quickly sold-out, and then, under some scrutiny, was discontinued. Quite famously, Atari was advertised in the 1980's sci-fi film Blade Runner, and alongside Coca Cola, appears to be the only companies advertised that are still in business. The sequel, Blade Runner 2049, comes out later this year, and will also feature Atari marketing. It is likely that Atari and Chesnais are capitalizing on this new retro-popularity, such as the NES Classic Mini's brief but profitable run. Nintendo is also doubling down in development, now working on the NES's successor, the Super Nintendo, into making it smaller and more portable.
Back in the days of the Atari 2600, the console was incredibly popular, selling over 30 million units. While the Atari Company will likely never directly compete with the cutthroat modern gaming industry, there is reason to believe it may find a niche in retro gaming. We do not know what the new console's controller will look like, but here's hoping for the iconic single button and joystick that was popularized by the 2600.