Gaming pioneer Atari is getting into the hardware business with its Ataribox, a retro-themed game console with modern guts. The physical design pays homage to the original Atari 2600, a video game console released four decades ago this month, only it is sleeker and does not accept game cartridges. Instead, the Ataribox runs Linux and is powered by an AMD accelerated processing unit (APU) to deliver a "full PC experience for the TV."
The Ataribox team posted a handful of new images of the upcoming console, and also shared a bit more about the game system. With Linux at the core, it will feature a customized interface with an aim towards making it easy to use. The decision to go with Linux was based on a preference towards open source software and the flexibility it affords.
"Most TV devices have closed systems and content stores. Linux lets us be more open; you can access and customize the OS, and you can access games you've bought from other content platforms (if compatible with the OS and HW)," the Ataribox team said.
The Ataribox will come preloaded with "tons of classic Atari retro games" and even some current titles from different studios, though Ataribox did not elaborate on the latter. Radeon graphics built into whatever AMD APU the company decides to go with will power the experience. Outside of gaming, users will be able to browse the web, post to social media, stream videos, listen to music, and more.
Ataribox is planning to use crowdfunding site Indiegogo as a launchpad for its game system. It will seek funding this fall, with special editions up for grabs, along with introductory pricing. One of the models will be a wood edition built with real wood.
The Ataribox will ship in late spring of next year. It will range in price from $250 to $300, depending on the edition and memory configuration.