Atari recently revealed its new Ataribox mini-console, which draws inspiration from the classic Atari 2600. The designers hope to follow the path of success set by Nintendo’s Mini NES and Mini SNES.
Like the original 1977 console, the Ataribox color scheme will be either wood or red and black. Additionally, the gaming system will play both “classic” and “current” games, in contrast with the retro Nintendo mini-consoles.
Without giving away too much technical information, Atari shared in a fan newsletter that the Ataribox will have SD card assistance, an HDMI port, and four USB ports.
“As you can guess, those ports suggest modern internal specs,” the company said. It is so far unclear whether the Ataribox will play newer PC games or mobile games.
Other information like specific prices, dates, games, and technical details haven’t been shared by the company yet. Atari reasons that, “we want to get this right, so we’ve opted to share things step by step as we bring this to life and to listen closely to the Atari community feedback as we do so.”
While the Mini NES sold extremely well because of its lack of complicated features and low cost, many recent micro-consoles have ultimately crashed and burned. Atari is taking a risk by selling a more complex system that can play both new and old games.
Atari’s most recent prior venture, the Atari Jaguar, only moved a few hundred thousand units. This disappointment came despite the company’s marketing the Jaguar as the first 64-bit console while its competitors were still at 32-bit.
However, if the Ataribox can ride on the coattails of the victory of Nintendo’s Mini NES, Atari could see record sales.
Not only did Nintendo sell 2.3 million Mini NES consoles, they left consumers still wanting more. Users already bought all the launch day pre-orders for the follow-up console Mini SNES, although Nintendo assured customers that they would produce more. Already, eBay has marked up the SNES 150%, anticipating running out ahead of schedule.