Do not adjust your calendars, folks, we have not traveled back in time to the 1970s or 1980s. Be that as it may, Atari is working on a new game console. The website you might have seen is real, as are Atari's intentions to get back into the hardware business after a 24-year hiatus. Remember the Jaguar? That was the last game system to come from Atari, and it was only in development for a few years.
Of course, Atari has had bigger console launches, most notably the Atari Video Computer System (VCS), later renamed to Atari 2600. I spent endless hours myself on the Atari 2600, playing games like Pac-Man, Pitfall, and Adventure. Atari is largely responsible for popularizing playing video games at home in front of a TV as an alternative to rushing to the local arcade with A Fistful of Quarters (great movie, by the way).
What exactly Atari's comeback console will entail remains to be seen, but it is indeed happening. Atari CEO Fred Chesnais stated as much in no uncertain terms. His confirmation comes a week after Atari teased a new hardware product it is calling Ataribox, along with a video to promote the upcoming console. There was skepticism that it was really happening, though not anymore.
"We are back in the hardware business," Chesnais told GamesBeat.
Chesnais is not yet ready to talk specifics, only saying that whatever Atari is cooking up will be based on PC technology, with the promise of more details to come. That leaves the field wide open. Atari could release a modern age system that is capable of emulating iconic games from a previous era, as Nintendo did with its NES Classic. Or maybe Atari has aspirations on taking on the big three—Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo—though that is a little tougher to imagine.
The teaser video does not offer much help, at least on the hardware inside. Externally, you do get a glimpse of a gloss black finish with wood grain on the side. You also get a quick look at a couple of ports, though it's not clear if they are USB or something else.
Whatever Atari has in store, it is just great to see the name having relevance in the hardware space again. If you want to be one of the first to know, head over to Ataribox and enter your email address.