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Atari’s hint at its development of a new console dubbed the Ataribox at E3 this year left many wondering if it wasn’t all a publicity hoax. After all, the last console Atari ever released was the Atari Jaguar and that was back in 1993. Why wait so long to get back in the game, and how could they hope to compete with today’s giants like the Xbox One X and Playstation 4? These are all questions we still don’t have the answers to, but the hoax theory can at least be put to rest: Atari Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Fred Chesnais confirmed to GamesBeat yesterday that the Ataribox is very real indeed.
All we know about its launch date is that it’s ‘Coming Soon’, according to the Ataribox’s website. And we know little more about the project or the new game console itself. According to Chesnais, Atari has been working on this project for years. He adds that the hardware will be PC based, which leaves us wondering just what kind of gaming console it will be – little more than a glorified gaming PC? An emulation box? We just don’t know, and will have to wait to learn more. Still according to Chesnais, the final design has not been decided upon either, so we don’t even know what this new PC-based game console will look like.
Chesnais purchased Atari out of bankruptcy in 2013 and the company has since been working on mobile games. Since the Ataribox has been in the works for some years, it is probably safe to assume that the idea of a new gaming console was at the back of its new CEO when he decided to go ahead and buy Atari. After all, Nintendo has had a measure of success with the launch of its NES Classic edition last year. For a lot of older gamers, the nostalgia of once again being able to play games they used to spend all their allowance on at the corner arcade is a big seller. If Atari somehow succeeds in offering its clientele some modernized version of their classics via the Ataribox, perhaps with a few new arcade-style games thrown in for good measure, they may be sitting on the game console that will bring the company back in the spotlight. Maybe Atari doesn’t have to compete with the giants. Maybe it can be its own behemoth.