Ataribox: everything you need to know about Atari's comeback console


The Atari name still carries a lot of cachet with video game fans, given the company’s role in creating the home console market – but its last piece of new hardware, 1993’s Jaguar, was a massive flop. 

Since then, the Atari brand has changed hands multiple times, emerged from bankruptcy, and been used to market social games and online gambling.

It’s been a rough couple of decades for Atari, that’s to be sure. 

But that could all change with the company’s new, crowd-sourced console: the Ataribox. While details are still scarce, the Ataribox represents Atari’s hopeful comeback in the console world, promising both access to original Atari games and new experiences, pairing the classic with the modern. 

The system has yet to be fully detailed and while we’re excited about the possibility of the a new console capable of playing Atari’s greatest hits like RollerCoaster Tycoon, Driver and NeverWinter Nights, the fact that so little is known about the console is worrying. Atari has yet to unveil a working prototype to the public and, to make matters worse, announced that it would open pre-orders up on December 14 … only to delay the pre-order process due to “development problems”. Yikes.

So will this be Atari’s answer to the NES Classic, or should we expect another Ouya-esque microconsole bomb that falls well short of expectations? We can’t say for sure at this point, but here’s everything we know so far…

[Latest update: Atari has delayed pre-orders for the new console and has released this statement to interested parties – “The countdown to the Ataribox launch on Indiegogo has been officially  paused. Because of one key element on our checklist, it is taking more  time to create the platform and ecosystem the Atari  community deserves. Building Ataribox is incredibly important to us and  we will do whatever it takes to be sure it is worth the wait.”]

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A new Atari console that plays old games and new ones too.
  • How much will it cost? Estimates are between $250-300
  • When does it come out? Spring 2018 is Atari’s target

What’s an Ataribox?

Atari first teased the Ataribox back in June with a pretty lightweight website and a brief YouTube clip, and then finally spilled the beans back at E3. Atari CEO Fred Chesnais, who bought the company following its 2013 bankruptcy, told VentureBeat: “We’re back in the hardware business.” The article also claimed the device would be “based on PC technology”.