Breaking news on the latest (and most unexpected) entry into the gaming device market – the Ataribox – will be crowdfunded and will include a custom AMD processor with Radeon graphics, running on Linux.
The Ataribox creator, Feargal Mac, spoke to VentureBeat about the new machine, which they expect to ship in Spring 2018 following a round of crowdfunding via Indiegogo later this year, and outlined their vision for the machine:
“People are used to the flexibility of a PC, but most connected TV devices have closed systems and content stores,” Mac said. “Ataribox is an open system, and while our user interface will be easy to use, people will also be free to access and customize the underlying OS. We’ve chosen to launch Ataribox with Indiegogo given their focus on delivering technology products, and their strong international presence in over 200 countries, allowing us to reach and involve as many Atari fans around the world as possible.”
We are getting details about the device very slowly – with Atari being very careful about the information they are announcing right from the word “go”.
The first trailer video gave no specifics, other than the device was “coming soon” and had wood-effect panelling (I mean, what more do you need):
Since then, we have seen new images of the different designs for the machine, including the wood-effect version and an alternative red-and-black offering:
The price has not yet been confirmed but it is estimated to range from $250 to $300. This should get you the console itself, alongside “a large back catalog of the publisher’s classic games”.
Basically, for around £300, you will be getting a streaming box with enough graphical clout to play most indie titles on your TV… but potentially no exclusive games lined up. You may be able to customise the operating system, although this will depend on the particular version of Linux used and Atari don’t lock down the settings. From the sound of it, you would be able to use applications from other content providers, rather than being locked into using one service – either Steam/Google Play Store/Apple App Store.
This all sounds like good news, but I’m still missing the key feature that makes this device stand above the rest. You could make a device (or buy one dirt cheap) which is a Linux box that can hook up to your TV. With a bit of effort, a Raspberry Pi would also offer this functionality, albeit with more room for issues with custom setups. You can even get the Atari back catalogue in various formats, emulated or reformatted, which you can play on many mobile devices now.
The Ataribox, from the details given so far, is a middle ground. The device which is simple to install and lets you play your current gaming collection through your TV. Aside from the purdy design and open attitude, for me, there is little else to set this apart from thousands of streaming and set top devices available for under £100.
What are your thoughts on the Ataribox?
Will you be funding the project when it goes live?