The name "Atari" might not make a young gamers' eyes light up like Nintendo, Xbox or PlayStation, but it still carries a cultural cachet with old timers. Now the company has announced that it's getting back into the hardware game for the first time in over 20 years, with a new console called the Ataribox.
A big player in the video game industry during the 70s and 80s, Atari slowly lost ground to Nintendo during the late 80s and eventually bowed out of the console market in 1996, after the Jaguar failed to sell well. Like Sega, it became a software brand – until now, apparently.
During E3 last week, Atari released a video teasing something called the Ataribox – and that's almost everything we know about it so far. In an interview with Gamesbeat, Atari CEO Fred Chesnais has confirmed the unit will be "based on PC technology", and the teaser shows some slow pans over a box with the distinctive wooden panelling and rippled black plastic in the style of the company's classic home consoles, but what it will actually do is anybody's guess.
The most likely answer is a "classic" console, in the style of Nintendo's NES Classic Mini or the Sega Mega Drive Classic line. Both of these are essentially emulators with dozens of games stored on an internal hard drive and playable through a TV – but Atari's already doing this with the Atari Flashback line, and two new versions of that were just announced as well.
The Ataribox might even be part of the new line of Internet of Things devices announced about a year ago that Atari and Sigfox are developing. We could speculate all day, but the company promises we'll know more "soon."
Check out the teaser video below, and if you want to be kept in the loop, sign up for the mailing list on the Ataribox website.