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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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Comments
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Jajcus 26 September 2017 at 10:34 am UTC
It have been decades since anything under the „Atari” trademark really succeeded and there were many attempts. I would like to believe, but I have no hope left for them.
Guppy 26 September 2017 at 10:39 am UTC
Seems suspiciously cheap, but then that is properly the american price - by the time it hits EU it will most likely double in price due to the "accounting says you can afford it" tax
timothyja 26 September 2017 at 10:44 am UTC
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liamdawe
madpingersounds better than a steamlink. With full baseOS access, it could be modded into something useful like any other platform. In fact, why can't I find these low power amd embedded boards on the market ?
Well, it sounds like they're not using anything already available, since it uses some custom components. It's funny to see so many people saying it's an expensive raspberry pi across the net, when in fact it's very different. Since this won't be ARM-based, it should run any Linux game it has the specs to be playable.

Yeah that's a bit silly for a number of reasons. For one a Raspberry pi setup costs a lot more that just the board, you need a power supply, quality case, storage, controller, etc before you can even start comparing the basics such as performance (of which the pi has very little).

This device also sounds much more useful than those limited Nintendo consoles people have been falling over to get their hands on. At this price I'll give this device a go, worst case scenario I have a nice looking media player.
liamdawe 26 September 2017 at 10:54 am UTC
timothyja
liamdawe
madpingersounds better than a steamlink. With full baseOS access, it could be modded into something useful like any other platform. In fact, why can't I find these low power amd embedded boards on the market ?
Well, it sounds like they're not using anything already available, since it uses some custom components. It's funny to see so many people saying it's an expensive raspberry pi across the net, when in fact it's very different. Since this won't be ARM-based, it should run any Linux game it has the specs to be playable.

Yeah that's a bit silly for a number of reasons. For one a Raspberry pi setup costs a lot more that just the board, you need a power supply, quality case, storage, controller, etc before you can even start comparing the basics such as performance (of which the pi has very little).

This device also sounds much more useful than those limited Nintendo consoles people have been falling over to get their hands on. At this price I'll give this device a go, worst case scenario I have a nice looking media player.
My thoughts exactly. It will either be a good indie/retro gaming console that can help Linux gaming carve another gaming place, or it will end up being a rather nice unit to tinker with and be a fun little media player.

It might even make a fantastic unit for kids.
Restmensch 26 September 2017 at 11:09 am UTC
Well... if I owned a TV I would love to have something like this
dmantione 26 September 2017 at 11:46 am UTC
Valve must be involved here for two reasons: First, Valve have been working hard on the AMDGPU drivers. The only explanation is if they have business interrest in that. Second, Atari needs games. Who has thousands of Linux games? Valve.

Therefore my interpretation of this is that this is simply a new Steam Machine. I have always been suspecting Valve, with there long-term plans, were silently working on the Steam Bomber, and that it would use a custom AMD APU. Things seem to be coming together now.

The fact that Atari is involved also means that a game publisher commits its future to Linux.

Very, very good news.
Tchey 26 September 2017 at 11:48 am UTC
I have no interest at all in this kind of device, as my PC is my main and only support to play, work, watch movies, etc, but it's nice to see some new challengers trying to do something with Linux.
Dunc 26 September 2017 at 12:18 pm UTC
Heh. I thought it might.

To be fair, I half-expected it to be a SteamOS device, but it's interesting that they're saying (effectively) that Steam will be possible. I think that actually fits well with Valve's Linux strategy, even if it's not exactly what they planned themselves. This sort of thing, in fact, is more what I expected right back at the start than their explicitly-branded “Steam Machines”.

JajcusIt have been decades since anything under the „Atari” trademark really succeeded and there were many attempts. I would like to believe, but I have no hope left for them.
I know what you mean, and I won't deny that it does have a bit of the air of those doomed-to-failure projects like Ouya and Nuon, but I can see this one succeeding. Atari might have been out of the hardware business for a long time (and some would say the renamed Infogrames isn't really Atari anyway), but they aren't nobody. There will (should) be some really big titles on this thing.

It could go either way.
liamdawe 26 September 2017 at 12:22 pm UTC
The AMD CEO seems excited:
Quoteanother great gaming win! Proud to work with @atari on the new Ataribox with @amd chip with @Radeon graphics!
Mohandevir 26 September 2017 at 12:40 pm UTC
If it is Zen AMD APU based, chances are that it will be more powerfull than the actual Nintendo Switch and will probably play in the same league. If Atari gets back into the publishing game again for futur titles, this is the Linux box I've been waiting for. Mine! Mine! Mine!

More informations:
http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2017/09/atari-ataribox-runs-linux

"While there are no firm specs revealed (as of writing) beyond the use of a ‘customised’ AMD CPU and Radeon graphics, we do know that the machine will be sold in a range of 'memory configurations'."

Looking forward to these 'memory configurations'.
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