The upcoming Ataribox is the classic console/media device I’ve been waiting for!
Sadly, I have to admit that I only found out about the Ataribox during its recent announcement back in September. It started out as a crowdfunded project on Indiegogo and is set to be released in spring of 2018. The Ataribox is being built to be an open source media and gaming machine that will support a custom AMD processor and Linux OS. Atari says that you can expect a price point of $250 – $300.
There are many questions going around the gaming and tech worlds right now in regards to how this new console will fare in a highly competitive industry. The price point is in the same range as the Nintendo Switch but won’t support current-gen AAA games. In addition, the unit isn’t built to be able to compete, performance wise, against beefy PCs or current gen consoles. Lastly, how is the Ataribox supposed to succeed in a niche where so many others have failed?
Now, my expectations for what I would use the Ataribox for and what Atari is hoping adopters will use it for might be a bit different. I’m looking for a reliable media device that can efficiently run any streaming apps, has a good browser, and can run emulators for all of my classic gaming needs. Atari has already shown what the hardware will look like and it does support a LAN connection and USB ports, which are vital to my needs. I feel like the Ataribox should be able to cater to all of my requirements, and much more, however, only time will tell.
When you start comparing the price point of the unit to the major gaming consoles on the market it’s really not that different. That being said, you’re not purchasing games for it at $90 a piece which absolutely has to be considered. I personally don’t see myself purchasing any games initially, however, if I did I’m sure they would be very reasonably priced digital downloads. The current consoles pretty much sell at cost with plans to make money on accessories and software down the road.
One of the key selling factors for me has to do with its Linux operating system.
Since it’s going to be Linux based users will have the ability to customise the Ataribox in a way that no current consoles or media devices allow you to do. I will admit that I’ve actually never had a chance to use Linux, however, I’m aware of its capabilities and know a lot of very tech-savvy people that swear by it. That being said, I’m very excited to have an opportunity to give this a go, first hand, to see how it performs.
One of the main inspirations for the Ataribox comes down to the success that Nintendo, and to a lesser degree SEGA, has had with its recent releases of their classic microconsoles. The current gaming landscape certainly has a huge desire for retro consoles and classic games, which plays to the advantage of the Ataribox. I would expect this to be the case given the aging target demographic and the level of commitment it takes to tackle today’s AAA games. In addition, Atari is giving consumers the best of both worlds by offering a nostalgic experience with modern technology.
Some sources are criticising the Ataribox for entering a market where the Steam boxes have failed, which I can understand. The issues that plagued the Steam box market really came down to the price points and catering to a PC user world that didn’t want to be told what to buy. Appealing to the mass markets is something that the current and past console manufacturers know how to do, which is done through simplicity and a good user experience. I personally think that the Ataribox won’t have to deal with any of the issues faced by the PC/Steam world. Ironically, the Ataribox will be able to play Steam games too.
For me personally, spring can’t come early enough as my current living room setup is driving me crazy and I’m in need of a more reliable system.