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Atari are launching a new gaming system, the 'Ataribox' and it runs Linux

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Another Linux-based gaming system is coming, this time from Atari. The Ataribox [Official Site] will run on an AMD processor and it sounds quite interesting.

It will use an AMD customized processor, with Radeon Graphics technology. This likely means a proper CPU for a desktop and not an ARM chip like found in other devices. It runs Linux, but they will be customizing the interface as it's mainly aimed at using it like a console on a TV. Even so, they say it will give a "full PC experience for the TV". You will also apparently get full access to the underlying Linux system, so there might possibly be a proper Linux desktop included to achieve this.

It sounds like it's going to remain quite open too, as they say you will be able to access games purchased from other "content platforms" as long as it's Linux-compatible. So, it sounds like installing Steam will be possible for example.

It will come pre-loaded with classic Atari games too and even some current titles from a range of different studios. It will be interesting to see if these current titles are games already on Linux, or games they will get ported. If they are new ports, I hope they continue to be open with them and not do some kind of exclusive "Ataribox store" deal. They say we will learn more about the titles soon, so I will keep you updated.

It will launch on Indiegogo soon, they say "this fall". It might seem strange for a bigger company to go to crowdfunding, but they say this is because they want the community to be part of the launch. Honestly though, it's mainly so there's less risk involved for them, but it's also a good way for them to gauge real interest in it.

As for the proper launch, that will be in "late Spring 2018" with a price between $249-$299. That depends on what edition and configuration is purchased.

The wood edition, pictured above, is made with real wood. Now that I would love to sit next to my TV! That's a real unit, not a render.

This is something that could help push Linux gaming further. Especially if it really will be as open as they claim, it could help Linux gain even more support from developers. I don't want to overstate how well it will help though, since it's not going to be massively powerful. Even so, it's hard not to get excited about the possibilities here. Another big name pushing Linux gaming can only be a good thing for us.

While Valve's Steam Machines didn't do as much as some people hoped, it did open up Linux a lot more to game developers and we've now got thousands of games on Linux as a result of Steam coming to Linux and later the SteamOS announcement. Perhaps this small kick from Atari will help continue progress, but who knows.

What do you think to this? Exciting or not? I will likely grab one, the price seems good and it sounds like a fun platform. It also looks pretty awesome!

Update: For those curious if it's really real (there's been a few comments about it across our various social groups). Here's the press email, also the official Atari Twitter account even linked to it, as did the official Atari Facebook. On top of that, it seems the AMD CEO is excited by it.

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slaapliedje 4 October 2017 at 6:09 am UTC
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Mohandevir
stretch611As for a Half-Life 3 exclusive on Linux... it isn't going to happen. Valve is a corporation seeking profit. While the numbers of linux users is increasing, it is dwarfed by windows gamers. They will not annoy the majority of their market by making them wait even longer.

Half Life 3 isn't going to happen... End of discussion. Didn't I specify that HL3 is an example in my previous comment? I was just stating the fact that Steam Machines would have been much more successfull if Valve had released them with an exclusive game. I know the official position of Valve about exclusives. It was all hypothetical to show that if Steam Machines had been a success, all the issues about compatibilty and performances would have been taken care of a long time ago. Larger player base = Better support.

This said, there is a nuance to make: Steam Machines and SteamOS are 2 diffrent things. The failure of the Steam Machines doesn't mean that SteamOS is a failure. SteamOS still has a lot of potential. Like you said, it's an awesome tool to prevent Microsoft from doing something foolish. But yeah, Valve could put a lot more of it's weight behind it.

I've been spouting this out at people for so long, but they just keep saying "SteamOS is a failure" or "Valve dropped all support for it." Come on, we all know the 'Valve time'. The fact they already have a release based on Debian Stretch is amazing on how much resources they have dedicated to it. Steam Machines... well it's arguable how much of a failure they are since Dell did do a hardware refresh on them a while back. But I'm still not sure if that was just bleed down from them updating essentially the same system with Windows. I think all the other ones have been stopped for production.

But it kind of sounds like Ataribox (hope they change the name, please change it...) will be SteamOS-ish. So not sure what the deal is there though. My hopes are kind of meh on that...

I think Valve isn't really in the hardware business. While yes they created the Link and Controller, they're both simply physical accessories to Big Picture Mode. It's kind of the same case with SteamVR how anyone can make a headset that complies with the API, while Valve themselves don't manufacture the hardware.
Mohandevir 4 October 2017 at 12:15 pm UTC
slaapliedje
Mohandevir
stretch611As for a Half-Life 3 exclusive on Linux... it isn't going to happen. Valve is a corporation seeking profit. While the numbers of linux users is increasing, it is dwarfed by windows gamers. They will not annoy the majority of their market by making them wait even longer.

Half Life 3 isn't going to happen... End of discussion. Didn't I specify that HL3 is an example in my previous comment? I was just stating the fact that Steam Machines would have been much more successfull if Valve had released them with an exclusive game. I know the official position of Valve about exclusives. It was all hypothetical to show that if Steam Machines had been a success, all the issues about compatibilty and performances would have been taken care of a long time ago. Larger player base = Better support.

This said, there is a nuance to make: Steam Machines and SteamOS are 2 diffrent things. The failure of the Steam Machines doesn't mean that SteamOS is a failure. SteamOS still has a lot of potential. Like you said, it's an awesome tool to prevent Microsoft from doing something foolish. But yeah, Valve could put a lot more of it's weight behind it.

I've been spouting this out at people for so long, but they just keep saying "SteamOS is a failure" or "Valve dropped all support for it." Come on, we all know the 'Valve time'. The fact they already have a release based on Debian Stretch is amazing on how much resources they have dedicated to it. Steam Machines... well it's arguable how much of a failure they are since Dell did do a hardware refresh on them a while back. But I'm still not sure if that was just bleed down from them updating essentially the same system with Windows. I think all the other ones have been stopped for production.

But it kind of sounds like Ataribox (hope they change the name, please change it...) will be SteamOS-ish. So not sure what the deal is there though. My hopes are kind of meh on that...

I think Valve isn't really in the hardware business. While yes they created the Link and Controller, they're both simply physical accessories to Big Picture Mode. It's kind of the same case with SteamVR how anyone can make a headset that complies with the API, while Valve themselves don't manufacture the hardware.

Valve time... Yeah, so true. This is why we haven't seen the advertised UI overhaul yet and it's not Linux related. ;)
still-dreaming-1 4 October 2017 at 2:54 pm UTC
This pretty cool, but I think it will flop financially. If you already own a good gaming linux system, it is probably more powerful than what this will offer, and you probably prefer to play it on your computer instead of a TV in the living room. I guess you might want to have a separate system to play multiplayer games with people in your house, but you wouldn't want it to be less powerful than what you already have. If you really want a powerful console experience, you will probably want a PS4 PRO or whatever the latest XBOX thing is. It seems the only people who would buy it are people who really like Linux, only have a not so powerful linux gaming PC, don't have any other high end gaming systems, and this is actually a more powerful gaming system than what they already have. Those are the people who would have a potential interest in buying it, especially since it can do more than just play games. But how many of those people would actually buy it? Probably not many. The only way I see this working is if they can make a profit even if they don't sell very many.
slaapliedje 4 October 2017 at 3:53 pm UTC
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I don't know, there is a certain draw for people like me who have close to 1k Linux games under Steam already, and depending on how they handle emulation...

Let's just say right now I use the Steam Link, and my brother and I played through Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite last weekend, and it was a blast. Granted that is a Windows game, but think of all the great fighting games supported by MAME.

Can't do that on the PS4, though arguably you can do it on a raspberry Pi. I've said before, I would be all for this, but at the same time I don't think I want to back it on crowd funding, since it's done by some rather shady individuals. Brian Fargo gets my crowd funding money, because he's delivered already two games that I wanted (Wasteland 2 and Numera.) But this Feargal Mac guy has already had some fishy results.
const 4 October 2017 at 9:52 pm UTC
What we hope for is an all out war between valve+allies against microsoft. Let's hope we will have some more time to prepare for it, as our weaponry really improves over time - mostly thanks to valve.
Atari has a name, but I don't think this little machine will be a gamechanger for itself. It might be a financial success, it may become something we want in our living room, but from a mainstream-gamer perspective, it will most probably "fail" as only dominance is a win for those.

AMD and Nvidia getting their Vulkan-Drivers into Mesa. Atari and Sega releasing new consoles. An semi-exclusive startup by valve, sega and atari. All at the same time. That might really change things drastically.
slaapliedje 4 October 2017 at 10:38 pm UTC
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Funny thing is, even back when Atari was really mainstream, they'd done some really quirky things. The 2600 is admittedly legendary, and was synonymous with video games for a long time. Then the 5200 had a fantastic failure rate on the included joysticks (innovative, but not dependable analog controllers!), then the 7800, which was drowned out by Nintendo's success. Though to be fair for that, the Sega Master System (arguably a better machine than the Nintentdo Entertainment System) was also trounced due to Nintendo's exclusivity deals. The tables truly turned when Sony bought out the idea that Psygnosis was working on and created the Playstation. Which oddly also was going to be an addition to the SNES before Nintendo had rejected the idea. It was a weird, Atari had said 'me too' against Sega, Nintendo and newcomer Sony. Them trying to pop in and make a name for themselves when now all we have is Nintendo (smaller, but still in there), Microsoft (Gorilla) and Sony (who have had issues, but still a Gorilla). And what does 'Atari' do? Try to play on the nerds who most likely ended up using Linux and loved the 2600.

All I know is I want a fully ASCII version of Adventure! (okay, you can use ANSI colours).
elmapul 5 October 2017 at 11:49 am UTC
"t's kind of the same case with SteamVR how anyone can make a headset that complies with the API, while Valve themselves don't manufacture the hardware. "
SteamVR = acessory.
Nintendo didnt made all their acessorys, they outsourced some of then, that dont mean they arent into HW business.
elmapul 5 October 2017 at 11:51 am UTC
slaapliedjeTry to play on the nerds who most likely ended up using Linux and loved the 2600.

i dont think they are even trying to target the linux users, we already have our pcs to play, they are more likely targeting Atari fans (if there are any left after the disater of they trying to launch remakes of their classic games)
slaapliedje 6 October 2017 at 6:05 am UTC
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elmapul
slaapliedjeTry to play on the nerds who most likely ended up using Linux and loved the 2600.

i dont think they are even trying to target the linux users, we already have our pcs to play, they are more likely targeting Atari fans (if there are any left after the disater of they trying to launch remakes of their classic games)

I am both (Love both old Atari and Linux) and have been following the threads, and I can tell you, there are more positive conversations from Linux users than there is from the Atari community. They mostly think it is a scam like the Coleco Chameleon was.
slaapliedje 6 October 2017 at 6:09 am UTC
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elmapul"t's kind of the same case with SteamVR how anyone can make a headset that complies with the API, while Valve themselves don't manufacture the hardware. "
SteamVR = acessory.
Nintendo didnt made all their acessorys, they outsourced some of then, that dont mean they arent into HW business.

Nintendo makes their own hardware platform, that is what I am saying. SteamVR isn't an accessory at all, it is software. The Vive and LG's VR headset both can use SteamVR. Because LG and HTC are in. The hardware business in the same way that Logitech is.
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