New Atari console could be just what the game industry needs

Eric Abent - Jun 16, 2017, 2:45pm CDT
New Atari console could be just what the game industry needs

Last week, a 20-second trailer that appeared to tease a new Atari console was uploaded to YouTube. In the time since then, fans of classic consoles like the Atari 2600 and the 2800 have been speculating about what this could mean. Is Atari about the re-enter the console business? It turns out that the answer is yes.

That’s according to Atari CEO Fred Chesnais, who told GamesBeat in no uncertain terms that Atari is plotting a new console of its own. “We’re back in the hardware business,” he said during an interview at E3 2017. That’s a bold statement for a company that hasn’t made gaming hardware since the Atari Jaguar launched 24 years ago.

So, what is this new console going to be? Chesnais didn’t give too many details. He said that the new console is “based on PC technology,” according to GamesBeat, and that it won’t be revealed until Atari decides on a final design. Other than that, though, we’re being left in the dark.

With what little information Atari has given us, we can probably assume that this won’t be another retro console along the lines of the NES Classic. Retro consoles that offer dozens of Atari games are readily available, and Chesnais probably wouldn’t want to announce this as a return to gaming hardware if that’s all this was.

Can we really take that to mean that Atari plans to re-enter the console wars with a fourth competitor all its own? It certainly sounds that way. If that is what Atari’s planning, then this is a very interesting development.

After all, Atari has been out of the console game for decades now. Many other companies have dropped out of the console business since video games started becoming popular with the mainstream, but the difference here is that Atari was once the ruler of the roost. Before the NES saw mainstream success, it was the Atari name that was synonymous with video games. If we owe the current video game industry to Nintendo, then we could very well owe Nintendo’s rise to Atari.

In my opinion, it would be absolutely fascinating to see Atari’s take on the current console market. Even if you grew up in a post-Atari age, more competition never hurt anyone, and if Atari manages to do something truly unique, it would be good for both the industry and gamers.

Obviously, this is all just speculation on my part, and since it sounds like we’re still a ways off from a true reveal, getting too hyped isn’t going to do anyone any good. Still, Atari officially has me intrigued, and I wonder if there are enough people who grew up with Atari to make this console is a success. Hopefully we find out more soon, but for now, jump down to the comments section and give us your take – would you buy a new console from Atari?

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