How New Atari Gaming Console Can Change The Whole Gaming Industry

Huge questions are swirling around my head as I watch the brief, 22 seconds long teaser Atari that has just dropped. The trailer itself reveals nothing but a few deep zoom shots that glide across what must be the new console, so far titled “Ataribox”.  We see wood grain, which must be a throwback to Atari’s original console, the Atari 2600. We also have a quick glimpse of a shiny plastic grill which might be for ventilation or just aesthetic design. Aside from that, there’s an Atari logo that lights up, then the words “Coming Soon” appear before it fades to black.


So what does this mean?

Well, we know that Atari has made consoles before, many of them, but the only one that was truly successful was the first one. The Atari 2600 was what defined consoles as we know them today, where you can remove and replace cartridges to play another game. But quickly afterward Atari had to battle console competitors and failed. Since, Atari has declared bankruptcy at least once and has moved to a software producer, abandoning hardware completely (or so we thought). But we know that Atari has been able to make a competent console, and the Atari president claims the Atari box will have PC-like capabilities.


I have a few concerns. First of all, I doubt the market can really handle another traditional console. Microsoft is barely in the game, having “lost” the console war for two generations in a row. Slice the market three ways and none of the competitors will be happy with the sales.

They could be doing something less traditional like Nintendo often does. Marketable gimmicks like motion control for the Wii, a screen on the controllers with the Wii U, and a portable console with the Switch have contributed to Nintendo’s success in the wake of the hardware juggernauts that are the Playstation 4 and the XBOX One. We all see a blossoming VR market on the horizon, but I doubt Atari has been working on a console with better VR capabilities than what we are already seeing. And the problem with gimmick consoles is that game developers prefer to make a game that can be sold to the largest pool of gamers and sold cross-platform. Nintendo developers practically all of the games for their console because other developers don’t want to make a game designed for the motion controls or hamstrung by the Switch’s low-performance standards.


I also worry about developers wanting to make a game for the Ataribox simply because Atari has gone bankrupt before and also has to compete with three well-established companies. Why would a developer take a risk and make a game for a system that has no promised market, especially if Atari goes bankrupt before their game is even finished with development? And there’s no way Atari has the funds to make a cheap console and a library of games by themselves. And they’d have to make the console cheap for anyone to be interested in purchasing this new system. Sony actually loses money on their system, getting most of their profit through game purchases rather than console purchases. And Atari cannot afford to lose any money.

It seems to me that Atari has basically announced their next bankruptcy, but what do you think? How can they make this work? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me at @chadmwilson

#How New Atari Gaming Console Can Change The Whole Gaming Industry