The New York-based Atari has two different designs for the Ataribox. One version has wood-grain siding, giving a nostalgic look to the PC-based box (the original 2600 had similar paneling). The other version is a modern black console with a red logo and a red back.
Atari hopes to cash in on the popularity of retro games and Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition, which turned out to be surprisingly popular for providing a method to easily play old games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda in HD on a TV. That retro box even outsold the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in April.
Atari still isn’t disclosing many details about the machine. The company said “we’re not teasing you intentionally.” Rather, it said, “We want to get this right, so we’ve opted to share things step by step as we bring Ataribox to life, and listen closely to Atari community feedback as we do so.”
Chesnais told us at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) video game trade show that Atari’s revival is well under way. Atari filed for bankruptcy protection in 2013, but Chesnais bought it and pledged to make it great again. The company is now profitable, and it is engaged in making mobile games. It is licensing its brands more widely, such as licensing its Atari name for the upcoming Blade Runner 2049 movie.
“We’ve been blown away by the feedback since the teaser release, and today, we’re excited to share an exclusive first look at the Ataribox design with you,” the company said in a post. “Our objective is to create a new product that stays true to our heritage while appealing to both old and new fans of Atari.”
The post went on to say, “Inspired by classic Atari design elements, such as the iconic use of wood, ribbed lines, and raised back, we are creating a smoother design, with ribs that flow seamlessly all around the body of the product, a front panel that can be either wood or glass, a front facing logo, indicator lights that glow through the material, and an array of new ports [HDMI, 4xUSB, SD]. We intend to release two editions: a wood edition, and a black/red edition. As you can guess, those ports suggest modern internal specs. It also means that while we will be delivering classic gaming content, we will also be delivering current gaming content.”
Atari said it has lots of details to figure out in the months ahead, and it promised regular status updates. For now, it wants feedback for the designs on its social channels.