At E3 this year Atari said it was “back in the hardware business,” and today in a newsletter to its fans the company revealed the look of the Ataribox – a PC-based system that plays old and “current” games.
There is no price point, release date, or other hard details at the moment, but the system comes in regular and retro configurations. Both have an HDMI port, four USB ports, and SD card support.
Atari is funding the console via crowdfunding. It says it is bringing the system along slowly, “[listening] closely to the Atari community feedback as we do so.”
Hopefully there will be more concrete details about the Ataribox soon.
As far as Atari games go, I don’t think the well is deep. There are few games from Atari’s heyday in the ’80s that have any staying power, and there already have been retro roundups of those games via the Flashback series.
In terms of more modern Atari titles, perhaps the Ataribox hosts such as the BioWare-developed Neverwinter Nights when Atari was allied with Infogrames. Otherwise, there’s the RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise, Test Drive, and not much else. Although, I bet Neverwinter’s rights are tied up with EA to the point of being inaccessible.
Speaking of which, I worry that using third-party licensing to get content into the box would make it more expensive than the system needs to be in order to sell.