IMHO, the Atari FlashBack came into itself with FB5. Up until that point I could not stand the bloody things -- seriously, lacking a noise channel (very much evident in Missile Command) is an inexcusable offense. I got rid of all of my old FBs.
Wait, are you saying that the FB2 (i.e., the one built on the Michele 2600-on-a-chip) lacked a noise channel? I've never heard that before. Can anyone else confirm?
Erm, maybe because Taito is not Namco? Namco did a decent plug and play with Pole Position around 2005, it's built with Ms Pac-Man and has a twisting motion on the joystick for steering your car.
Yeah, I would assume that Namco's properties command a higher licensing fee, maybe much
higher, than Taito's, given their broader name recognition. The chances of them doing a collaboration with AtGames seem low. Incidentally, please forgive me as I pick some nits: it wasn't so much Namco doing a plug-n-play as Jakks Pacific doing a Namco-licensed plug-n-play, in 2004. Nits picked! Trophy unlocked?
I'm sure you are right, but they seem to do "ok" selling the paddles and joysticks separately. At least they do "ok" enough to keep selling them on the website. They would be able to sell actual compatible Intv controllers as well. That's at least SOME sales they are losing. Perhaps that is insignificant.
If you're primarily interested in replacement controllers for your original Intellivision hardware, Intellivision Productions has been selling replacement Intellivision Flashback controllers, along with adapter cables for using them with original hardware, at their online store
for a few months now. The adapter cables are the same as what nurmix has sold here at AtariAge (the ones INTV Prod. sells are, in fact, made by him). Just make sure you choose the right adapter cable for your particular model, and you'll be set.
AtGames is very unlikely to make and sell original-compatible Intellivision controllers themselves, though. They sell the Atari controllers to support their Atari console systems, which sell well for them--unlike the INTV/CV FB systems.