Could Atari’s New Console Actually Succeed?
Over the past week, the internet has been scratching its head in unison over Atari’s baffling announcement that they’re planning on releasing a new console. Yes, you read that right, Atari’s planning on releasing a new console! You know, Atari, the company that went through so many ups and downs over the decades it’s hard to know where they stand in the gaming market or even who owns them right now. (Try reading Atari’s Wikipedia page, it’s quite the wild ride.) The news of Atari’s new console has been received with scepticism and it’s generally believed by most that they’re going to fail. This is completely understandable, as the console market is stuffed to the brim with competitors, including the huge giants that are Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft. But just for a second, let’s entertain the notion that, just maybe, Atari could pull it off.
Now, Atari does deserve some respect when it comes to the role they played in putting video games and in particular consoles, on the map. They’re responsible for Pong, which quickly became a staple of fun in many living rooms throughout the world in the 1970s. They went on to make a number of successful consoles all the way up to the video games crash of 1983, where they forever struggled to recover, and ten years later, after their console the Jaguar failed to sell, gave up on consoles entirely.
There’s an entire generation out there that have very fond memories of Atari. Although very little is known so far about this new console, there is a possibility that Atari could be planning their own Nes Classic type console, compiling all their old school games together in one place. This could play in their favour. Many consoles such as Sega’s Genesis and Nintendo’s Nes (with rumours of a Snes Classic in the books) have been successful in serving up a fresh piece of nostalgia pie to the now fully grown adults of that gaming era. Doesn’t the Atari generation deserve a slice of that pie too? It’s in no way a surefire success, but it’s certainly worth bearing in mind.
The now infamous E.T game, whose unsold copies ended up in a land fill in the middle of a desert in New Mexico, was on Atari. People could be curious as to what that game was really like? Atari could make this a unique selling point, “Come and play one of the worst games in history, no need for a shovel and sun hat, you can find it here, only on the new Atari!” (I actually played the E.T game as a child and it was truly awful. It really does serve as an early example of how terrible it can be to adapt films into video games in order to make a quick buck. Some things never change, I guess.)
Now, as humorously appealing the idea of an Atari Classic console is, the little snippet of news Atari has given on their new console seems to point in a different direction entirely. They announced that this Ataribox (I think that’s the official name for now) has been years in the making and that it will be based on PC technology. This seems to indicate that Atari is dead serious on competing with the other major consoles. It’s almost worth wondering if Atari has stumbled upon something truly innovative. After all, as stated above, Atari innovated with Pong. Have they found a clever way to merge PC and console gaming into one, hence making the need for unnecessary console updates every couple of years redundant? Okay, I must admit, it’s unlikely. But just the fact that Atari is willing to take a chance in the console industry again does make you wonder. After all, taking a chance has worked out in the past for other companies. Back in 1994, when Sony announced they would be taking a stab at the console industry with a new CD based console, the Playstation, people scoffed. At the time Nintendo was king and Sega, although struggling a little, was still successful. No one thought there was any more room for an additional console brand and look how that turned out. The gaming landscape was forever changed.
Of course, this is all speculation and it’s much too early to tell what Atari is really planning and what the outcome will be. Will they completely reinvent consoles? Will they find their own little niche in the gaming industry? Or will they simply fail miserably? I think a part of me would really like to see them succeed. It’s about time an underdog shook things up a little and I for one look forward to seeing what Atari’s next step is going to be.
ESA director explains why E3 2023 was cancelled
Only a few hours have passed since the cancellation of E3 2023 was announced, and we are still kind of in shock. Although we were aware that the legendary industry event faced an uphill struggle due to publishers withdrawing left and right, it still feels a little weird, don’t you think?
Stanley Pierre-Louis, executive director of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), discusses what transpired and what to anticipate in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. Pierre-Louis says that “we were off to a strong start. There was interest among exhibitors, industry players, the media, and certainly the fans. Ultimately, there were challenges that proved too large to surmount.” The ESA partnered with event coordinator ReedPop for the first in-person event in a number of years.
One of these insurmountable difficulties was the current development schedules studios have been dealing with ever since the COVID pandemic started, and another was the global economic turmoil that followed. Some businesses have started to rethink spending on pricey exhibit space and significant marketing events as there is less money available.
When asked about E3 returning in 2024, Pierre-Louis sticks to the script, saying that “at that time, we will have more news to share.” He also adds that “we’re committed to providing an industry platform for marketing and convening, but we want to make sure we find that right balance that meets the needs of the industry.”
As you might anticipate, he gives a completely non-committal response. In our opinion, the E3 period appears to be coming to an end. The writing has been on the wall for a while now, with so many less expensive and more efficient ways of spreading the word about upcoming games and endeavors, not to mention public reluctance in the wake of a horrific pandemic. We can only hope that Sony has been saving the best for the much-anticipated Showcase.
Do you believe E3 will ever come back, or are the heydays of attending conventions really over?
Shuhei Yoshida wants to change how independent game developers see PlayStation
Shuhei Yoshida has worked in the video game industry for decades. He was president of SIE Worldwide Studios during a very important time in PlayStation’s history, and his fans love him very much. He was given a BAFTA fellowship for all he has done for the gaming industry and how he has helped it grow.
He is in charge of Sony’s Independent Developer Initiative right now, which helps independent developers bring their projects to life by setting up partnership and marketing deals. But some people think that the PS5 isn’t as friendly to independent developers as previous generations. We’ve written a lot about this in the past.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Yoshida talked about the difficulties of getting the word out and what he hopes to accomplish in the future. He said, “We’re trying to change people’s ideas about how hard it is to make and publish games for the PlayStation. This is a communication challenge we’ve been working on.”
Yoshida says that this is being done with a sort of PR blitz: “We’ve been doing conference tours, going to events, giving talks and keynotes, and other things to let developers know that we’re open to having their games on PlayStation.”
Yoshida says, “There are so many great quality games that no one knows about. It’s always been hard to get funding, but there’s more and more money coming into the industry all the time. Digital storefronts can have an unlimited number of games because they’re digital, but there’s only so much space at the front of the storefront.”
Subscription services like PS Plus could help with this problem by giving players another way to get them to try a game they normally wouldn’t. Yoshida says, “People who have subscribed to the service already have access to all these games, so there’s a better chance that your game will be tried by people who didn’t know it existed,” so subscription services can help more people find good games.
We don’t know if Journey will ever get back to its glory days, but we wish Mr. Yoshida the best of luck with this project. How do you feel about the state of indie games on the PS5?
Why PS4 and PS5 Owners Should Take Notice of the Tails of Iron DLC for PS Plus
Tails of Iron, a hardass 2D role-playing game, is one of the PlayStation Plus Essentials for the month of April. Don’t worry; we’ll tell you why you should check it out even if you don’t have a PS Plus subscription on April 4th, when it becomes available to those who already have one.
Redgi, the rat prince in Tails of Iron, is on a mission to regain his throne from the imperious toads. The amazing Doug Cockle, who is perhaps best remembered for his role as Geralt in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, narrates the animated video down below, which does an excellent job of setting the mood.
The gameplay is intense, requiring steel nerves since, like in 2D Souls games like Salt & Sanctuary and Hollow Knight, you’ll have to fully commit to every move you make. Redgi employs a deliberate, planned strategy in fighting, changing up his armor and weaponry to keep the odds even.
Despite its pleasant forest setting, Tails of Iron is known for being a difficult game with numerous demanding bosses. After completing the main mission (which should take 8-10 hours), you may dive into the meaty Bloody Whiskers post-game DLC.
Both the calmer 3D adventure game Sackboy: A Great Adventure and the genre-bending horror game Meet Your Creator have worthy companions in Tails of Iron.
In April, you can check out Tails of Iron if you haven’t already.
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