During E3 2017, Atari teased its return to producing video game hardware with a brief trailer for a mysterious product dubbed the Ataribox. Now, the company has offered up some more details on the project in an email blast distributed to fans who subscribe to a newsletter on the system’s official website.
The email offers up a slightly clearer view of the Ataribox than the quick cuts that we saw in the previous trailer. Its design is clearly inspired by the Atari 2600, but it’s been streamlined a little for 2017, and outfitted with a glowing Atari logo that will presumably be used as a power indicator.
It seems that there are currently two designs of the Ataribox being developed. One utilizes the classic wood-grain aesthetic of the 2600, while the other is predominantly black, with red highlights. While retro gamers will appreciate the throwback model, it makes sense that a more modern variant would be released, too.
The email doesn’t offer up too much information in terms of technical specifications, but there are some interesting hints at the scope of the project. There is confirmation that the system will feature four USB ports, a HDMI port, and an SD card slot.
The blurb notes that this array of ports suggests that the system will possess “modern internal specs” — although it falls short of detailing exactly what those might entail. However, it does state that the Ataribox will offer “current gaming content” alongside its library of classic titles.
A follow-up note that was issued to investors at the end of June 2017 has recently surfaced, according to Eurogamer.net, which indicates that the Ataribox will be a crowdfunded effort:
“To limit risk taking, this product will initially be launched within the framework of a crowdfunding campaign.”
The fact that the system features expandable storage options seems to confirm that games will be downloadable, rather than being drawn from a fixed library in the vein of Nintendo’s NES Classic. The reference to current content is intriguing, although it remains to be seen how powerful the Ataribox will be, as of course that dictates what kind of software it will be able to run.
We still don’t know too much about the Ataribox — and there are still some valid doubts about whether the project will ever progress beyond the conceptual stage. The team behind the console obviously has a lot of ambition, but there’s a long way to go before the hardware is ready for prime time.
Updated: Added information that the project will be crowdfunded.