Atari CEO confirms a new console, says it's based on PC technology

Atari is a legendary name in gaming, but the classic arcade-era company has been out of the home console market for quite some time — that is, until now.

Shortly after a tease for a mysterious “Ataribox” was uploaded online, Atari CEO Fred Chesnais confirmed in an interview with VentureBeat that the long-running game company is working on a new console.

During the interview, Chesnais said that Atari is “back in the hardware business,” but gave away little else other than its upcoming device will be based on PC technology. He also said the console will be formally revealed later down the road.

Given the old-school wood grain finish on the Ataribox’s concept design, it’s most likely that Atari’s new machine will be similar to Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition, offering a way to play retro games with some added modern conveniences. 

Adding to this hunch is the mention of “PC technology” Chesnais says will power the Ataribox. Retro consoles like the NES Classic Edition (and homemade variants) are, in a very broad sense, just boxes with a dedicated emulator inside that could run on a computer OS.

Granted, this is us speculating (pretty much all game consoles are based on PC tech in some way or another) but a nostalgia-inducing dedicated console also wouldn’t be a stretch for Atari. The company’s Atari Flashback machines, for instance, predate Nintendo’s plug-and-play NES Classic Edition by several years.

Though it’s still too early to tell where Atari is going with its new console, we hope it learns a lesson from the Nintendo and ensures customers can actually buy one before it’s discontinued.

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Updated: June 16, 2017 — 7:16 pm

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