My 2 cents:
First of all, we all must think about marketability. Atari 2600 VCS was/is a HUGE PLANETARIAN SUCESS. You can find clones, spinoffs, legal-royalted-versions and like in any dirty place of the world. Ditto for cartridges and accessories. So the popularity of the Flashback 1/2 is immediate - it can sell by tons anywhere in the world. I know of at least 20 (!) people inside my (short) circle of friendship, that already ordered one OR MORE FB2 for them here from Brazil.
So we must think - How much known is for the common american and for the rest of the world, the 8 bit line and the 5200/7800?
In my humble opinion, I'd love to se an A8 computer or like as the FB3. But I must put my feed on the ground and think that if Atari does something, it must be sold at milions, Atari cannot fall back to the same error of the last-generation Atari - "if you have been thru hell, and came back, is because you loved it!"
Why create a product that will not have stellar sellings in USA and outside? There are easier options, all of them cheaper and more marketable. One of them being a REAL 2600 portable, with a cheap LCD (an integrated controller can do wonders) and all the bells and whistles a product like this must have. If people buy the GP32 for atari playing, why not the PortableFlashBack3?
But, IF I were Curt, I'd create a system like this:
- Nice case, remembering old atari products
- No keyboard, you can always use a PS/2 or USB one
- Mouse: Ditto.
- External connectors (or internal ones, to get cheaper) for everything you can imagine
- SD ROM/Flash media, to have some security and be CHEAP
- OPEN core, OPEN schematics, CLOSED legal license (not to create copies)
- Re-loadable emulation core to a special ASIC/FPGA, which can run almost anything
I'll explain better this part:
The FB2 is a redrawing of the original 2600 circuits into an FPGA, and later to an ASIC. Ok, but what about an ASIC that would have a kind of "unencrypting feature" or like, that would be needed to run the complete core.
Or better, it could hold inside "system modules" like the TIA and like, and accept external VHDL code to connect them and emulate other systems. So everything from Pong video board up to XEGS games could be run, and homebrew hardware/software development would be great.
Of course, the best ones on hardware development could be attracted to Atari, as Curt was, to develop the FB4.
This is a very interesting propositon, and I think that THIS is the right way to go - a completely reconfigurable videogame, that could run code from most Atari / arcades games from the past, could accept SD ROM cards with recorded games / reconfiguration code / vhdl code - so Atari could keep developing and keep cashing on selling games and reconfiguration code, and accept user changes thru a very specialized compiler or common VHDL code. Since most of the VHDL "fat" code is inside the ASIC chip, you couldn't create a copy of it in an FPGA and sell.
Curt, what about that? Feel free to take this propositon to Atari management
Greetings from Brazil,