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article imageAtari is making its first new games console in 20 years

By James Walker     Jun 19, 2017 in Technology
Atari has confirmed it is making a new games console that will mark its return to the hardware business after a two decade absence. Not much is known about the new device. It is based on "PC technology" though, implying it will use high-performance parts.
Rumours of a new Atari console started circulating earlier this month. As VentureBeat reports, Atari uploaded a teaser video of a new hardware product to a website, Ataribox. Since the video shows little of the device and the website is separate from the company's homepage, many suspected it was a pre-E3 hoax.
While the teaser may not be real, the basic premise certainly is. In an interview with VentureBeat, Atari confirmed it is working on a new console. The device is still in early development and precise details haven't been disclosed. The scope and scale of the project remain unclear. While Atari could choose to directly rival Microsoft's Xbox, Sony's PlayStation and the Nintendo Switch, it may also have more narrowly defined ambitions.
Speaking during the interview, Atari CEO Fred Chesnais said that the console is based on "PC technology." As with everything else regarding the device, further details weren't provided. The comment suggests "Ataribox" could use off-the-shelf hardware or even run PC games though, perhaps allowing Atari to avoid creating its own gaming platform and library of titles again.
Regardless of the particulars of the console, Chesnais seems optimistic that Atari's new project will see success. While the launch is likely to be many months away, he appeared confident that the company can make a significant return to the console market. "We're back in the hardware business," he stated in the interview.
Assuming everything goes according to plan, the console launch would be highly significant for Atari's history. One of the original pioneers in the industry, the company ended up conceding its market share to incoming rivals. After a merger with technology firm JTS in the mid-1990s, much of Atari's original property was sold on to Hasbro Interactive.
In 2013, a much diminished Atari filed for bankruptcy having last made a profit in 1999. Rather than see the company bite the dust, Chesnais – a former employee – stepped up and bought it, purchasing a controlling stake and committing to reversing its fortunes. While it wasn't initially apparent how this would be achieved, the company has now recovered to the point of making a small profit.
In the years since filing for bankruptcy, Atari has focused on gradually rebuilding itself, launching various mobile games that have provided it with a steady source of income. All the while, it seems as though these funds have been quietly reinvested into a secretive new hardware project that's only just beginning to emerge.
There's no word yet on when the console will release or even when it'll be shown off. You can register to get news updates as they arrive on the Ataribox website, although currently only the introductory video is available on the page.
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