The company that started it all with Pong in 1972 is planning to reenter the game console marketplace. Atari CEO Fred Chesnais gave GamesBeat an exclusive interview at E3 2017 in which he declared that his storied game company is working on a new game console. While he declined to give too many details, he did confirm that the rumors were true, and that the device will be based on PC technology. He related that they’re still designing the device, and that they don’t have a release date in mind yet.
That hasn’t stopped them from teasing the new console. It’s called the Ataribox, and the video shows very little (which makes sense, given that there’s no actual hardware yet). Here is that video:
Atari has been testing the waters by rereleasing old titles as mobile games and cheap retro gaming products, and more are on their way this summer. For example, the new Atari Flashback 8 Gold is launching this September. This device includes two 2.4 wireless controllers, as well as two controller ports for those who want to use classic wired controllers. The console also features 720 HDMI output and scan line filtering, as well as a feature that lets you save, pause and rewind the action in every game. There’s no word yet on pricing, but it’s expected that it will be under $200.
Also coming this September is the Atari Flashback 8 Classic console, a budget-friendly option that includes 105 games and two wired controllers. The Atari Flashback Portable Game Player will also launch this year. The device includes 70 games, including Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Frogger and Pitfall, and additional games can be added with an SD card. While games can be played on the built-in 2.8 inch screen, the Portable Game Player also supports TV output with an extra cable
Chesnais bought the beleaguered company as it was making its final descent into bankruptcy in 2013. The company is now profitable, depending mostly on licensing and mobile gaming to keep itself in the black.
Atari’s Pong was the first console game for home use, released on November 29, 1972. The home console gaming market didn’t really ignite until five years later, with the release of the Atari 2600 – the first cartridge based console. That invention took the gaming world by storm. By 1983, Atari had managed to all but destroy the console games market through its toxic business practices and litigious nature. The niche rescued from oblivion two years later by Nintendo with its Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985.