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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

AtariBox - Why Atari Has an Uphill Battle

So, I am going to jump on to this right quick.

AtariBox. Yeah, I am excited about the potential of the device. However, I am with bated breath due the Coleco debacle. As many are, with good reason. Something of a missed discussion opportunity is the issue of whether it is wise to even get into the hardware scene in today's very crowded market.

Why I bring this up? Well...

First off, we have AtGames with the popular Atari Flashback line of consoles. They don't offer anything new to the scene, as it is just re-releases of classic games. Not that this is a bad thing, as it's nice to have these devices with these games due to ease of access. It also doesn't help Atari out much regarding the fact that the units sell for $60 (and up when the Flashback 8 Gold editions hit shelves).

Second, Hyperkin is releasing an Atari console that can play actual cartridges WITH HDMI support! No modding required. This is something that I have seen in discussion for a long while since the Atari Flashback 2 hit shelves all of those many years ago. The drawback to this unit? It won't come with any preloaded games, and will probably sell for $40, which is what the RetroN 1 HD is selling for. (src - Hyperkin website)

AtariBox Render from Atari
Third, there is speculation that the AtariBox is going to be (most likely, as again...speculation) an Android TV device. This isn't exactly a terrible concept, but it just means we get emulation, not an accurate recreation of original hardware. Personally, I love the idea, but I don't need it as I already have a Nexus Player. The only reason this would make me interested is if it provided accurate 5200, 7800, Jaguar, and 8 bit emulation.

If Atari can not sell the AtariBox for a competitive price around the $60 price point, it will fail. It will fail simply due to the fact that there are "better" options currently available. Most people already have connected devices connected to their televisions, such as Apple TV, Android TV, and Roku's, along with Chromecasts. Then there are Smart TV's that have similar software installed.

Atari is facing these hurdles with a limp. They do not have the funding, or the infrastructure.  Atari doesn't even command faith from those they intend to sell to. They are looking to use crowdfunding to help support this endeavor, and hardware specifications are currently not available. We may not get a proper prototype until the crowdfunding even starts!  This is a problem that is all to familiar to many retro console collectors that got excited about the Coleco Cameleon.

What are your thoughts regarding the AtariBox?  Discuss.

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