Atari CEO Teases First Gaming Console in Twenty Years
Gamers have always ridden a wave of nostalgia, talking fondly about their favorite games or consoles and wistfully remembering something as simple as blowing in the cartridges. Thanks to Nintendo’s NES Classic, nostalgia has become a game changer in the console market. Now Atari wants to jump in, not just into the nostalgia market, but into the major home console market.
Possibly called the Ataribox (hopefully that’s still up in the air), CEO Fred Chenais didn’t reveal much in the VentureBeat article, except that the hardware will be based on PC technology. The teaser they released also hints at the return of the wood veneer on the front. Whether it will be a proper console like the PlayStation or XBox or only a throwback is still to be seen, but considering how firmly Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have locked in the market, is it a good time to re-enter the fray?
Additionally, the retro game console market is getting a little flooded. Last year, Atari released its Flashback 7 with over 100 classic games including Frogger, Centipede, Asteroids, Space Invaders and Missle Command. This September they intend to release an additional three classic consoles – the Flashback 8 and the Flashback 8 Gold, both with 120 classic titles, and a new Flashback Portable with 70 games, including Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Frogger, and Pitfall, and the ability to add more games with an SD card and to link to your television.
Sega is also releasing a Genesis Flashback console with 85 games in September, topping last year’s edition that held 80 games, including both the Mortal Combat and Sonic the Hedgehog series. And although Nintendo recently stopped production of its NES Classic, it’s rumored (or just cynically assumed) that they are working on a SNES Classic.
Although wildly popular and incredibly hard to find, the NES Classic held fewer games than the Atari Flashback, which also topped it with wireless controllers. Maybe Nintendo will learn from Atari’s throwback when it does release the SNES Classic.
Atari filed for bankruptcy in 2013 and has focused mainly on mobile gaming since. It’s a risky move diving back into the console melee, whether it’s a retro console with a fixed number of games or a standalone hard drive. But even nostalgia nuts love variety, so the time could be ripe to attempt to give the big guys a run for their money.