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Goochman

New Atari Console that Ataribox?

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By the way, a weird hint... Jeff Minter had popped into a thread talking about llamatron or something similar a while back, and mentioned he was working on a VR project.

 

I have no idea if that actually pertains to anything to do with the Ataribox though.

Oooooo Virtual Light Machine 2017!!!

 

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What about Chinese gamers that fairly recently were legally allowed to have more gaming options? This device could be only meant to target Western developers with the gamers targeted mostly being Chinese.

And I heard that Ouya, or Microconsoles like it, were quite popular in the Chinese market where they could not afford "big three" price teirs.
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You'd be surprised. Sony released the PS TV a few years back- it was a Vita-based microconsole that could remote-play PS4 games (it's main selling point) but also play Vita, PS1 and PSP games. Not a bad deal for a low price! Yet it didn't take off- one of the biggest complaints was that it didn't have Netflix and YouTube. I could not understand this criticism, because I'd look around and every device I owned could play Netflix. The people making the complain surely must have a way to watch Netflix now. But yet, that was surprisingly important to people.

Atari 2600 didn't play Netflix. Nobody complained! :grin:
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Just noticed an interesting line in this article.

 

https://www.extremetech.com/gaming/251142-atari-manufacturing-first-console-decades-heck

 

In 2014, the company announced that it would expand into growing markets that focused on the LGBT community, “social casinos, real-money gambling, and YouTube.”

 

Seeing as they've already done two and three, I'm now thinking the value add Bill mentioned for this console could either be a cheap streaming to internet setup for YouTube and the like, because he did say the only streaming he ruled out was game streaming to the user, or possibly a gay matchmaking service.

 

Not sure how I'd feel about the latter. I guess I'd try anything once. >_>

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By the way, a weird hint... Jeff Minter had popped into a thread talking about llamatron or something similar a while back, and mentioned he was working on a VR project.

 

I have no idea if that actually pertains to anything to do with the Ataribox though.

I'm pretty sure that was about Polybius on PS4 with VR support.
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Yeah, while it's almost always fun to wildly speculate, it's safe to say Atari is not partnering with Sega or doing anything in terms of VR hardware. It's also safe to say that that won't be the last of the "out there" speculative grand ideas hoped for what Atari is doing. There have indeed been some doozies. It just goes to show how powerful nostalgia for a brand can be and how emotionally invested some of us can become in recapturing glory days.

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Not really. The problem is that nobody knows when the Chinese government may have a change of heart. Might never happen; might happen next Tuesday. From the standpoint of a company selling gaming hardware (and possibly software) in China, that makes developing a long-term strategy for the platform next to impossible because three minutes after launch you might not be able to put it on sale.

 

And I wish them the best of luck. But I'm fairly certain that they've already developed an exit strategy if the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China decides that Nintendo may no longer operate in China due to historical unpleasantness in Manchuria or similar. There's a solid chance it may be needed.

 

But the devices that seem to not be ruled out from what Bill is saying that it is not seems to be devices that wouldn't be very appealing here, niche, and would be prohibited here not because of the government like in China but because the market it already saturated and there is no place for it. In other words, he seems to be ruling out everything awesome and a total piece of shit that would have no place here but would be perfect for China's new console market that companies are trying to penetrate. Nintendo is trying to enter by doing things like porting New Super Mario Bros. to the Nvidia Shield. Bill even compared it to being a niche product like that but not that. It is some kind of PC based console but not one in the traditional sense and not for things like Steam. It is making me imagine this little woodgrain "console" with cheap ass PC hardware in it, plays tiny indie like games but not Android games, has its own little Atari app store, maybe based on Linux, download only with no physical media, the downloads having very small file sizes, the games being full of IAP's and microtransactions, and the name sounding cool to the target audience. In other words, something that would only potentially be appealing to developers here but not gamers because it would be crap but the kind of crap that would be perfect for Chinese gamers.

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But the devices that seem to not be ruled out from what Bill is saying that it is not seems to be devices that wouldn't be very appealing here, niche, and would be prohibited here not because of the government like in China but because the market it already saturated and there is no place for it. In other words, he seems to be ruling out everything awesome and a total piece of shit that would have no place here but would be perfect for China's new console market that companies are trying to penetrate. Nintendo is trying to enter by doing things like porting New Super Mario Bros. to the Nvidia Shield. Bill even compared it to being a niche product like that but not that. It is some kind of PC based console but not one in the traditional sense and not for things like Steam. It is making me imagine this little woodgrain "console" with cheap ass PC hardware in it, plays tiny indie like games but not Android games, has its own little Atari app store, maybe based on Linux, download only with no physical media, the downloads having very small file sizes, the games being full of IAP's and microtransactions, and the name sounding cool to the target audience. In other words, something that would only potentially be appealing to developers here but not gamers because it would be crap but the kind of crap that would be perfect for Chinese gamers.

Ah, OK. I think I see what you're proposing - something similar to a Famiclone in terms of price point and intended market, but with Atari branding. Note that I'm not saying it would be a Famiclone, just similar in concept. Is that fairly close?

 

For China, at least internally, that might work. But I agree with you that in the rest of the world it would basically be of no more interest than the flea-market Famiclones that crop up on this side of the water.

 

However, I feel that it would have limited market appeal, even in China. The Atari name doesn't really carry any nostalgia or recognition there (except, perhaps, for a few people in Hong Kong), and the Chinese market is steadily (slowly, I'll admit, but steadily) moving away from wanting lower-end devices. Branding and perceived prestige through owning certain brands of items are increasingly important to Chinese consumers, so Atari would be facing an uphill battle to establish themselves in that niche.

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Well, maybe if Atari makes a profit off of whatever this thing is, it could lead to larger things down the road.

 

...Bill's right, I'm emotionally invested. :-(

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I can't see China ever being remotely in play for present day Atari. It's hard enough for the big three to make inroads there.

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Well, maybe if Atari makes a profit off of whatever this thing is, it could lead to larger things down the road.

 

...Bill's right, I'm emotionally invested. :-(

 

For some perspective, we're talking a company (liberally) worth millions competing against companies worth billions. You don't go from millions to billions on a straightforward consumer product. This is no iPod in the making. Again, not claiming any inside info here (I stress again, I have none; I'm putting on my analyst's hat now), but my impression and speculation is the best this can do is carve out a small market niche with a definite ceiling. If it succeeds at that could it be something to build from? You bet, but there's a lot of steps in-between.

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I was thinking this the other day.... they better not leave the name as 'Ataribox' that's terrible. They should follow their tradition of cats (Yeah, I know they only had two that launched and one that didn't) and call it the Puma!

I wouldn't say their tradition is 'cats'. Their biggest tradition was to name consoles some multiple of 2600

or namewise: Video Computer System, Super System, Pro System, XE Game Sysstem.

 

Naming it after a cat would remind people of the Jaguar, not the most well received Atari console.

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By the way, a weird hint... Jeff Minter had popped into a thread talking about llamatron or something similar a while back, and mentioned he was working on a VR project.

 

I have no idea if that actually pertains to anything to do with the Ataribox though.

I don't think it was. But I also read that Atari sued him in 2015 over his game TkX which Atari believed used some of its IP.

 

So he and Atari may not be on great terms. Unfortunate, because I think he's the kind of person who knows how to make a modern flashy arcade game, and could help turn old Atari IPs into worthwhile modern remakes.

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For some perspective, we're talking a company (liberally) worth millions competing against companies worth billions. You don't go from millions to billions on a straightforward consumer product. This is no iPod in the making. Again, not claiming any inside info here (I stress again, I have none; I'm putting on my analyst's hat now), but my impression and speculation is the best this can do is carve out a small market niche with a definite ceiling. If it succeeds at that could it be something to build from? You bet, but there's a lot of steps in-between.

3cb68e606849c196aa7f6f075e9f3beaec51ff2a

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I wouldn't say their tradition is 'cats'. Their biggest tradition was to name consoles some multiple of 2600

or namewise: Video Computer System, Super System, Pro System, XE Game Sysstem.

 

Naming it after a cat would remind people of the Jaguar, not the most well received Atari console.

Ha, there is that. Their naming scheme hasn't always been the greatest. Consoles; 2600 (or VCS), 5200, 7800, Lynx, Jaguar. Computers; 400, 800, 800xl, 600xl, 1200xl, XEGS, 65XE, 800XE, 130XE, 260ST, 520ST, 1040ST, Mega ST, TT030, 520STe, 1040STe, Mega STe, Falcon...

 

I don't think it was. But I also read that Atari sued him in 2015 over his game TkX which Atari believed used some of its IP.

 

So he and Atari may not be on great terms. Unfortunate, because I think he's the kind of person who knows how to make a modern flashy arcade game, and could help turn old Atari IPs into worthwhile modern remakes.

That's lame. He was pretty much the sole reason I bought a JagCD. The Virtual Light Machine was extremely awesome. Still use mine to this day.

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That's lame. He was pretty much the sole reason I bought a JagCD. The Virtual Light Machine was extremely awesome. Still use mine to this day.

 

To be fair, Minter is not exactly a safe commercial bet these days. He makes stuff that's appealing to a relatively small group of gamers, so his involvement or lack thereof in a particular project is not exactly of significance.

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To be fair, Minter is not exactly a safe commercial bet these days. He makes stuff that's appealing to a relatively small group of gamers, so his involvement or lack thereof in a particular project is not exactly of significance.

I don't know, with marijuana being legal in more and more places... seems some of his stuff would be VERY popular!

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Apple naming their OS releases after cats don't count, needs to be hardware! Granted, I still like Debian's use of Toy Story characters. Yay for Stretch being released!

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I had another thought noone's mentioned yet, I believe. Does the value add in question have to with productivity? I think I heard about Atari maybe getting into quality of life products somewhere.

 

Maybe this thing gamifies productivity like some apps do, only in a more advanced way that only a console with controllers is capable of?

 

I was thinking maybe edutainment too, but I think Bill shot that down somewhere.

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Ah, OK. I think I see what you're proposing - something similar to a Famiclone in terms of price point and intended market, but with Atari branding. Note that I'm not saying it would be a Famiclone, just similar in concept. Is that fairly close?

 

For China, at least internally, that might work. But I agree with you that in the rest of the world it would basically be of no more interest than the flea-market Famiclones that crop up on this side of the water.

 

However, I feel that it would have limited market appeal, even in China. The Atari name doesn't really carry any nostalgia or recognition there (except, perhaps, for a few people in Hong Kong), and the Chinese market is steadily (slowly, I'll admit, but steadily) moving away from wanting lower-end devices. Branding and perceived prestige through owning certain brands of items are increasingly important to Chinese consumers, so Atari would be facing an uphill battle to establish themselves in that niche.

There is zero nostalgia for anything Atari related anywhere in the far East.

 

Schizo brought an interesting point about budget ARM devices like a reinvented Ouya doing well there. I heard stories about a Chinese version of the Ouya with a China specific store a while back, don't know if it was successful. Standards of living is subpar there so a $50-$100 box with downloadable games from fly by night developers would be perfect in a market where few could afford Playstation or Nintendo offerings. The Famiclone market is on the decline in China because the public has been played to death with bootleg NOAC devices.

 

Cheap ARMs that rival or exceed the power of Wii are plentiful and easy to manufacture, and people won't get upset that the games are inferior to PS4/Xbox because those markets don't exist there. And many western or Japanese style games would need to be heavily censored for the Chinese market. China has a tight anus, allowing for very little cash flow out of their borders, so foreign companies are rightfully leery to manufacture and distribute consoles in mainland China, on China's terms. For instance if Sony distributed the PS4 in mainland China, setting up factories to produce modified PS4s meant for Chinese market, and paid devs to make necessary changes to games to translate and comply with censorship laws, they would likely see little return on their investment since the pressing plants would just print extra copies of the game discs and sell them royalty free to citizens.

 

That's why all the fake Wiis and junk existed in China, some entrepreneur just blatantly copies what they see is popular globally, with almost universally inferior product, and the people eat it up. So I think Android boxes are the perfect target platform for Chinese consumers, and let Chinese developers write games for them, since China protects it's own and said protection does not extend to foreign interests. Stuff like Ouyas and what not are perfect for this...

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Ah, OK. I think I see what you're proposing - something similar to a Famiclone in terms of price point and intended market, but with Atari branding. Note that I'm not saying it would be a Famiclone, just similar in concept. Is that fairly close?

 

For China, at least internally, that might work. But I agree with you that in the rest of the world it would basically be of no more interest than the flea-market Famiclones that crop up on this side of the water.

 

However, I feel that it would have limited market appeal, even in China. The Atari name doesn't really carry any nostalgia or recognition there (except, perhaps, for a few people in Hong Kong), and the Chinese market is steadily (slowly, I'll admit, but steadily) moving away from wanting lower-end devices. Branding and perceived prestige through owning certain brands of items are increasingly important to Chinese consumers, so Atari would be facing an uphill battle to establish themselves in that niche.

 

Instead of Famiclone it is more like all their Android consoles/boxes. I'm thinking something more along the lines of how OUYA was trying to get OUYA Everywhere in China on those devices, OUYA developers here localizing their games for China not just by language but on other things, making sure it is only the games that fit within their censored criteria, and the selling points of it all for the developers is that OUYA wouldn't have the same bad reputation there as it does here and that China is a new console market with potential. Something like that but instead of an Android console it would be more like a cheap Steambox maybe running something like Ubuntu Kylin instead of SteamOS but instead of having Steam in the Ubuntu Software Center it would be an Atari app store preinstalled on the desktop that is proprietary to this device. So, it would be a "console" but also a desktop with other uses and not just for playing "Atari" games. Yes, it would be very niche but that could be a lot of people in a country made up of a billion people and I'm not thinking of a China only device. It is more like one intended to be international and localized for different regions but it would have a quality to it that would look like it would be the shit in third world countries and just shit here. Concerning the branding and perceived prestige, we don't know what the name of the other company Atari is working with yet and that company could be part of the branding like Company Inc.'s Ataribox just like how there is AtGames Atari Flashback. So, I guess a better analogy would be more like Steamboxiclone instead of Famiclone.

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There is zero nostalgia for anything Atari related anywhere in the far East.

 

Schizo brought an interesting point about budget ARM devices like a reinvented Ouya doing well there. I heard stories about a Chinese version of the Ouya with a China specific store a while back, don't know if it was successful. Standards of living is subpar there so a $50-$100 box with downloadable games from fly by night developers would be perfect in a market where few could afford Playstation or Nintendo offerings. The Famiclone market is on the decline in China because the public has been played to death with bootleg NOAC devices.

 

Cheap ARMs that rival or exceed the power of Wii are plentiful and easy to manufacture, and people won't get upset that the games are inferior to PS4/Xbox because those markets don't exist there. And many western or Japanese style games would need to be heavily censored for the Chinese market. China has a tight anus, allowing for very little cash flow out of their borders, so foreign companies are rightfully leery to manufacture and distribute consoles in mainland China, on China's terms. For instance if Sony distributed the PS4 in mainland China, setting up factories to produce modified PS4s meant for Chinese market, and paid devs to make necessary changes to games to translate and comply with censorship laws, they would likely see little return on their investment since the pressing plants would just print extra copies of the game discs and sell them royalty free to citizens.

 

That's why all the fake Wiis and junk existed in China, some entrepreneur just blatantly copies what they see is popular globally, with almost universally inferior product, and the people eat it up. So I think Android boxes are the perfect target platform for Chinese consumers, and let Chinese developers write games for them, since China protects it's own and said protection does not extend to foreign interests. Stuff like Ouyas and what not are perfect for this...

 

This is along the lines of what I'm thinking but instead of ARM based it would be PC based(Not PS4 level but more like the kind of cheap PC that you can fit in a TV stick), instead of Android it would be Linux, instead of Google Play, OUYA, Steam, etc. it would be Atari App Store with very tiny indie style games.

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