During E3 2017, Atari CEO Fred Chesnais let the world know that the iconic company would be returning to the hardware side of the gaming industry after their last attempt 24 years ago. In a move that seems unwarranted, Atari released a twenty second teaser video of a close-up shot of a familiar wooden panel ending with an Atari logo flashing on.
In a console climate that is currently being dominated by the PlayStation 4, with the Xbox One trying to catch up, and Nintendo who just released a brand new beast on us after the Wii U failed I find myself asking, is there room for Atari? I can’t imagine them bringing something to the table that would warrant having another machine that does something similar. For the most part, the Xbox One and the PS4 do the same thing, what really separates them is the software– and at this stage of the game it’s not much. Nintendo is in it’s own lane and doesn’t necessarily directly compete with Sony and Microsoft, due to them having a treasure trove of their own IPs and consoles that typically go for a new approach to gaming while the other two are fighting in an arms race.
So what will this “Atari Box” bring to the table? If Atari thinks they can just whip out another comparably powerful square– or other geometric shape– and sell units, they are in for another Jaguar. Even if the newly announced console can get all of the big third party developers on board, without their own first party titles, exclusive games, or some gimmick to make the console stand out, they are just going to fizzle out.
I’m intrigued to see if they have some new approach that defines their console but I just don’t anticipate that being the case. To hear us discuss and divulge deeper on the matter, check out episode 37 of the podcast here.