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The Linux-powered Ataribox pre-order launch has been 'officially paused'

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*sniff* do you smell that? It has a certain fishy aroma to it. The Ataribox [Official Site] IndieGoGo launch is now 'officially paused'.

It was only a few days ago, that we reported about the Ataribox pre-order campaign date and it has been delayed already. It's not surprising, since they had given out so few details about the unit that it became more than a little concerning. It's even more concerning now that it's suddenly 'paused' before it even began.

Here's what the official update sent to my inbox said:

The countdown to the Ataribox launch on IndieGoGo has been officially paused. Because of one key element on our checklist, it is taking more time to create the platform and ecosystem the Atari community deserves. Building Ataribox is incredibly important to us and we will do whatever it takes to be sure it is worth the wait.

An updated launch plan is underway and more detailed information will be available soon. 

We will be keeping you, our community, informed every step of the way. Thank you again for your support of Ataribox. 

It will be very surprising if it ever appears again. A shame though, it could have been an interesting unit. We will keep you informed if we hear anything else, especially if this 'updated launch plan' actually materialises.

I don't mean to be too negative, as the possibilities are exciting to a tech and Linux enthusiast like myself. The problem is how everything is still so secret. We know hardly anything about the device, apart from the few details they've let trickle out.

If it does actually come out, I will be quite pleased and I will likely grab one to play with and review. I hope it's just a case of letting the entire project bake a little longer, to get more games ready and to polish the user experience. Delays aren't always a bad thing, so we will just have to wait and see.

If any Atari reps read this, get in touch.

Article updated after publishing with more thoughts.

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26 comments
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slaapliedje 14 December 2017 at 9:54 pm UTC
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Except they never opened it up for taking orders at all. Many people thought they never had any money to begin with.

My whole thinking is... did they actually have a prototype? Did they finally take some advice and decide to do the funding launch sometime in the spring so that they aren't asking for 250-300 RIGHT before Christmas for something people wouldn't have in their hands until MAYBE August of next year?

Who knows, but some pages said they've postponed it 'indefinitely' while the email said 'paused'.
thewho 15 December 2017 at 11:00 am UTC
Maybe they just realized how big the interest for this box was.
So they want to make something big and don't want to release "just another Android-gaming console"
Joeyboots80 15 December 2017 at 11:31 am UTC
Well that sucks. I was looking forward to seeing what this thing is. I hope this isn't as bad a sign as it appears to be........
tonR 15 December 2017 at 8:23 pm UTC
Sorry people. I have some doubts about this Ataribox. The best way for Atari to show they’re serious is porting and optimizing some of their modern games such as RollerCoaster Tycoon or Test Drive Unlimited 2 (Test Drive series now owned by BigBen Interactive) to Linux first.

Let’s hope it will be success. Right now, just wait and see.
stretch611 15 December 2017 at 11:17 pm UTC
tonRSorry people. I have some doubts about this Ataribox. The best way for Atari to show they’re serious is porting and optimizing some of their modern games such as RollerCoaster Tycoon or Test Drive Unlimited 2 (Test Drive series now owned by BigBen Interactive) to Linux first.

Let’s hope it will be success. Right now, just wait and see.

The probable problem is most likely funding. If they do not have the funds to bring the Ataribox to market now, they will not have the funds to enhance a game to prove they are serious.

If they want people to have interest in the Ataribox, they need to finalize the specifications and send it to manufacturing. They need to communicate the details to the mass market, get a prototype running and show actual usage of the prototype. Right now, a youtube (or other media) video showing off the system and UI would go a long way to getting back people's interest. Have it run some of the games that will be included in the base system would only help.

Optimizing their more recent software titles for the system will go a long way, but useless if they are not at a point that they can show them off.

As for Roller Coaster Tycoon, if you like it and have one of the original two games, I suggest you get OpenRCT2 to play them on modern hardware and on linux.
Dunc 16 December 2017 at 6:04 pm UTC
Well now, this is interesting...

The guest on last week's 100th episode of the Retro Hour podcast was none other than Nolan Bushnell. I finally got round to listening to it today. Towards the end, almost in passing, they bring up his involvement with the “new” Atari. He says that he's no longer on the board, but is still an advisor, and was in fact going to meet the company “next week” (i.e., either last week or the week before, depending on when it was recorded) to talk, specifically, about the AtariBox.

What I find really interesting, though, is that he's clearly quite excited about the idea, and throughout the rest of the interview is very vocal about what Warner's did wrong with Atari, what Jack Tramiel did wrong with Atari, and what Commodore did wrong with the CDTV (on which he was also an advisor). He also mentions that he has a project of his own which will be launched in the new year.

Hmm. I wonder... (I'm not sure exactly what to wonder, but I wonder in general. It certainly sounds like Bushnell may have suggested the “official pause” himself. Which might mean that this isn't quite the Bad News it appears at first sight.)


Last edited by Dunc at 16 December 2017 at 6:05 pm UTC
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