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posted by martyb on Wednesday September 27 2017, @02:55PM   Printer-friendly
from the more-than-a-game-[machine] dept.

Atari will crowdfund an "Ataribox" console this fall, but it can do much more than play old Atari games:

Atari released more details about its Ataribox game console today, disclosing for the first time that the machine will run Linux on an Advanced Micro Devices processor and cost $250 to $300.

In an exclusive interview last week with GamesBeat, Ataribox creator and general manager Feargal Mac (short for Mac Conuladh) said Atari will begin a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo this fall and launch the Ataribox in the spring of 2018. The Ataribox will launch with a large back catalog of the publisher's classic games. The idea is to create a box that makes people feel nostalgic about the past, but it's also capable of running the independent games they want to play today, like Minecraft or Terraria.

The new box will have an AMD custom processor with Radeon graphics. It will run the Linux operating system, with a user interface it's customizing for TVs. Mac said that the machine will run PC games, but it will also be capable of doing streaming, running apps, browsing the web, and playing music. As far as games go, the machine will run the kind of games that a mid-range PC can do today, but it won't run Triple-A games that require high-end PC performance.

[...] "People are used to the flexibility of a PC, but most connected TV devices have closed systems and content stores," he said. "We wanted to create a killer TV product where people can game, stream and browse with as much freedom as possible, including accessing pre-owned games from other content providers."

So it's a PC that comes preloaded with Pong, Asteroids, and presumably E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Who needs this?

Also at PCWorld, BGR, Gizmodo, and Techpowerup.

It seems whoever owns the Atari name [takyon: Atari, SA] is going to cash in with a new Linux and AMD based "console". I guess Hollywood is not the only one that can drag up old properties and wring the blood from them. Might make a decent Steambox, I suppose. Also, wouldn't be complete without crowdfunding!


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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by edIII on Wednesday September 27 2017, @07:07PM (2 children)

    by edIII (791) on Wednesday September 27 2017, @07:07PM (#573960)

    Maybe. They're directly competing with MAME, which is free, along with its ROMS that are easily found. Most people with any IT skills at all (like us here) can put together a MAME machine, hookup console controllers to it, and start playing whatever Atari titles we like along with thousands of others. Unlike what will probably be a reboot of some kind, these are the original video arcade ROMS. For those that can tell the difference between a stock arcade Galaga and one refactored 10 years later.

    The customers are people that enjoy retro gaming, are lacking in any IT skills, and also lack any other console out there, including a Steambox. I can't be exactly sure, but I know there are some Atari collections out there for different platforms (previous milking of the IP). Positive there was a Sony PSP release that had the most popular titles. Most likely it was released as a PC collection too somewhere. Never participated in the Sony online ecosystem, but I think the Play store(if that is what it is called) had some retro titles available too. I'm willing to bet real money that some kind of machine just like this already exists for retro gaming.

    All of my retro gaming needs are met by MAME quite handily. In any case, I would not buy a console when MAME is a superior product in the way an auto-piloted Tesla is superior to a tricycle. A handheld [flickeringmyth.com] is an entirely different story. That would be because I want it. I had already outfitted my Sony PSP with a rather large memory stick and multiple emulators, along with my GBA that also had emulators and arcade games. If I were to waste money on this thing, I would have at least 5 different devices capable of playing Galaga, most of them playing with the stock ROM.

    This is as if Atari forgot the lessons from 1983 and E.T. The market is already saturated with consoles, and many of those by much bigger players with longer histories of success in the console business. Then you have Steam trying to edge into the market with their "consoles", Microsoft trying to jam an entertainment center into their console, and Sony doing whatever the fuck it is doing now. Nintendo still exists, although bruised from their lack of success lately. What is Atari doing it with? The original titles most of which predate 1983. I could be wrong, but I don't think they will find much success outside of handheld consoles for less than $100 price points.

    Unless this becomes a huge "grandma" gift like the well received E.T game ;)

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  • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Thursday September 28 2017, @12:10AM (1 child)

    by Immerman (3985) on Thursday September 28 2017, @12:10AM (#574111)

    What could be interesting is if they actually made it essentially a low end Steambox in addition to a legal emulator. $300 isn't exactly going to buy you blistering performance, especially in a well-designed form factor, but Steam holds an endless reservoir of older games that would run like greased lightning on a modern $300 pc.

    • (Score: 2) by edIII on Thursday September 28 2017, @01:48AM

      by edIII (791) on Thursday September 28 2017, @01:48AM (#574167)

      I think you're right. All they need to do is build a Steam client. That's not insurmountable, and Steam does exist on Linux.

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