Atari Ataribox: 5 things you need to know

Today we got our first real look at Atari's incoming console, the Ataribox. Atari, of course, did not spill the beans on every little detail because this console is still a ways off. It did, however, share some important details, so for those who missed the newsletter containing this information, here are five things you need to know about the new Ataribox.

1. It's designed to look like a classic Atari console

Make no mistake: Atari is definitely going to rely on some amount of nostalgia to sell the Ataribox. That much is clear from the images Atari shared today, which show off a console that can best be described as a modern take on vintage Atari hardware. There's even a model that has a woodgrain design, which is a pretty distinct throwback to the Atari consoles that were released in the 1970s and 1980s.

2. It will play classic Atari games...

Given the success of the NES Classic Edition, it's not that much of a shock to see that the Ataribox will serve as a platform for playing classic Atari games. None of those games were confirmed today, but it's not hard to make some educated guesses about what will be loaded on it. Expect to see classics like Pitfall, Breakout, Asteroids, and Missile Command (among others) present when the Ataribox launches.

3. ...but it will also play modern games

One of the more interesting parts of today's announcement includes Atari's statement that the Ataribox will also play current games. What this means is anyone's guess. Will there be physical retail releases for the Ataribox? An online store? Perhaps a certain number of indie titles will ship pre-installed on the system? No one knows at this point, making this one of the more interesting Ataribox reveals.

4. It'll offer more than the NES Classic Edition

For what it is, the NES Classic Edition is a decidedly solid device, but there isn't a whole lot to it. With one HDMI output and one microUSB port to power the thing, you're limited in what you can do with the NES Classic (without tearing it apart that it). The Ataribox, on the other hand, will ship with four USB ports and an SD slot, potentially allowing you to connect third-party controllers or side-load new games through an SD card.

5. It probably won't be able to compete with modern consoles

Atari's claim that the Ataribox will play modern games is a bit too vague for our liking, but this doesn't seem to be a console that will be able to hold its own against the big kids on the block – the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Instead, this seems like it could be more of a "premium" classic console, sort of like an NES Classic Edition with some extra features. Who knows, though? This could ultimately end up being Atari's re-entrance into the console business after 30 years away.


Obviously, we don't have the full picture just yet, but what Atari shared today does give us a general idea of what to expect. We'll likely hear more about the Ataribox soon, as Atari is now looking for fan feedback as it continues development. Hopefully details on pricing, release, games, and specifications will be coming around the bend shortly, so stay tuned, and in the meantime, be sure to read about how a new Atari could be great for the games industry.