So apparently we’re there, Ataribox is ready to be purchased. From today the pre-sale will be available on Indiegogo website so you can pre-order your Ataribox at a tag price between 250$ and 300$ and receive it next spring.
So, what are my thoughts about it?
Well, let me clarify a couple of things. During these years the hype of retro gaming has produced some interesting side effects: there’s more awareness of the huge world of gaming and gaming consoles, there are more revival dedicated to games otherwise destined to oblivion and it’s easier for collectors and amateurs to find informations and phisical copies of everyting retro-related. However there’s also the other side of the coin.
A lot of people started to speculate and increased the prices of games that a few youars ago you could have found in clearence boxes for a few euros and some companies started to develop and release forgettable and useless remakes and reboots of old games riding the nostalgia effect wave. This can be seen almost as a nerd-tax: people that love old games and consoles are almost “forced” to buy these products that in some case are just overpriced plastic boxes with no actual value. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the fact that Nintendo put on the market the NES Mini and SNES Mini even though the japanese company keeps doing the same mistakes (or is intentional?) when they come to the distibution worldwide, but some companies just want to exploit the retro-craze until its exhaustion.
Just to give an example ove all: why the hell they made seven different Atari Flashback? One or two weren’t enough?
And here we come to the Ataribox: for sure it’s a remarkable piece of hardware at least design-wise. It’s really beautiful and its smooth lines remind the original design of the Atari 2600 and the console could be perfect even as an ornament for your living room. Well, as far as I’m concerned, these are almost the only things that make the Ataribox appealing. But only if it would cost less than 50€.
I think the price tag of the Ataribox, compared to what you can actually do with it is simply ridiculous. Just make some copmparison with what’s on the market at the moment. On the console side we have PS4, 200€ for the base model”, XBox One S, 190€ for the base model, XBox One X, 500€ but just because it came out last month and Nintendo Switch, 400€. All of them have a remarkable games library, they can be used as multimedia stations and offer a gaming experience at the state of the art.
Let’s see what we have in the “console replica” department: NES Mini, 30 games bundled, 59€, SNES Mini, 21 games bundled at 79€, Atari Flashback 8 Gold, 100€, Genesis Flashback, 100€. All of these items for a rather affordable price offer to the old games lovers a 1:1 experience of the games that they played 30 years ago without the need of the (sometimes expensive) phisical copy of the game itself.
What makes Ataribox so expensive? It has a catalog of old Atari 2600 games everyone should love (as in the Atari Flashback), even though it seems like even more modern Atari games will be featured (like the ones for the 5200, 7800 and Jaguar), has a friendly user interface when connected to a TV (O, RLY???) and the most modern outputs, as USB, HDMI and stuff like that (as everything on the market right now). And plus it can run the most recent indie games developed fore the old console and download additional contents. That’s all? I mean, I can buy an Atari Flashback for a fourth of this price and have anyway tons of games! Consider also that the company that market the Ataribox doesn’t have the right on all the Atari games released in 40 years.
I fear that the Ataribox can suffer the same fate of the Ouya that simply disappeared from the market. It would have beed an interesting piece to have at a price around 100€. But not three times greater.
What you think about it?