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Atari Box?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RichardKain, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. FrankenCreations

    FrankenCreations

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    If you use your name on an internet forum to post sentences on the internet you can ony expect your name to be posted around the internet. I see no harm in quoting his previous statements and linking to their original location.
     
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  2. wheretheidivides

    wheretheidivides

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    I responded to their developer option and got this response back after a week.

    =======================================
    Hey there!
    Thanks a lot for contacting us!

    While we are not able to share a lot of technical details on the
    Ataribox project just yet, you have already guessed it is a hardware
    platform, and like any great hardware platform its content strategy will
    be critical. We'll be releasing more product information in the coming
    weeks/months, and specifically as we roll out our developer strategy you
    will be first to know.

    Thanks again for reaching out, we'll keep in touch!


    The Ataribox project.
     
  3. RichardKain

    RichardKain

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    If this is an actual gaming device of some sort, (and not just a PC enclosure) then developer relations and on-line community support are going to be crucial to its business strategy. The web-site and on-line tools they release for the device will be more important than the device itself.

    Hardware in this day and age is almost an afterthought for mid-to-low-tier development. If you aren't trying to craft the next Crysis or Unreal Engine demo, you don't need the kind of hardware power that most modern consoles already possess. Cramming a box full of high-end tech is a waste of time. Trimming the hardware down to be as lean, efficient, cheap, and developer-friendly as possible is far more significant.

    And convincing people to actually use, and continue using the platform is even more important. Getting a decent on-line community started and involved is crucial.
     
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  4. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    That's a pretty long response time for what amounts to an automated message.
     
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  5. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    An automated message that also says nothing you couldn't already glean from the website itself, as well.
     
  6. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    So they actually sent out an email after more than a month of being online.

    It looks to be about the size of a Wii U gamepad, and their use of an SD card slot and such a small profile along with their use of "PC hardware" that this thing will probably just be an emulator box that can run other games as well. That said though, I really doubt this thing is going to have any significant amount of power in it still, especially considering its profile. If my expectations were low before, they've pretty much bottomed out at this point.
     
  7. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Love this part of the response. We're shown USB ports, an HDMI port, an RJ45 port, and a normal power port. Every single one of those could be handled by a modified Raspberry Pi. None of those ports necessarily suggest modern specs either since even the newest one was available as far back as 2003 (HDMI for anyone not aware).
     
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  8. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Yeah, the only reason I think it's not a Pi or a Tegra is because they specifically said "PC hardware."
     
  9. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    Those are old style usb, not usbc. yea, nothing there saying "modern" hardware. Ouya+casemod. Besides doesn't modern mean "no cables"?
    Bah... $10 says the "innovation" it brings will be the brain fart of some MBA. All you can eat subscription or ad driven or some other nonsense.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017 at 12:58 PM
  10. Schneider21

    Schneider21

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    I want to like this thing. I really do. And while I don't have an issue with the design itself (it's actually a nice combination of throwback and "modern", especially the wooden one), it does come off as cheap, underpowered, and Ouya-ish. The red one, in particular, seems like it's so light it'd slide around on your entertainment center if the cats bumped up against the cords.

    I think for the Ataribox to succeed, they need to nail their marketing. Obviously with the NES Classic doing so well, there's a market for retro emu consoles. With how much interest Ouya's Kickstarter generated, there seems to be a market for homebrew consoles as well. But trying to nail both those markets at once is a big plate that would be tough to balance. It's gotta be powerful enough to satisfy the homebrew devs, but cheap enough to be an impulse buy for the retro crowd.

    It'd be better, in my opinion, to focus on one of those markets. And since I personally like the idea of playing retro games more than I actually enjoy doing it, I'm hoping for a homebrew console, but not expecting to see anything worth my time and money.
     
  11. wheretheidivides

    wheretheidivides

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    If it's a PC, then they will have tons of games available for it. You could have a laptop version as well with a keyboard and a screen. It look really cool, but I'd have a big Atari logo on top. Maybe even stand it upright. Just a big Atari logo. Again, it does not have to sell 100 million units to succeed. it's OK to have a nitch market of hard core gamers. 1 mil or 2 mil is OK. I also have a suspection it is PC because they said that and if they are going to release it soon, then that's not enough time for developers to write for it. But if it was PC based. then your unity games would be available for launch.
     
  12. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Why would a bunch of hardcore gamers buy a dramatically underpowered PC
     
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  13. wheretheidivides

    wheretheidivides

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    OMG, you are just a hater. A Donald Trumper no less. You have no idea of how powerful it is but leave negative comments like this. Go back to your commodore 64 or Sega game gear or apple pippen and continue your flame wars there. I agree, your computer is better than my computer. It doesn't matter what Atari does, people like you are just haters.
     
  14. RichardKain

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    The digital mock-ups and suggested crowdfunding does make me a little worried. When you take that direction with it, it does make it seem like more of an OUYA-scenario. That could still work, especially considering the Atari branding. But we need to hear more about this, specifically the kind of development they are planning on supporting. If it ends up being just an Atari emulation box with some modern indie developer support, that is slightly worrying.

    Is there really enough of a market to support a device like that? Anyone with enough technical proficiency can make something comparable out of a readily available micro-computer. And how much nostalgia is there really going to be for the Atari line, and its games? While I am heavily influenced by nostalgia for older games, much of my personal gaming stems from the 80s, not the 70s. So the 2600 and subsequent Atari efforts don't figure very heavily into my gaming memories. A device like this can't trade purely on nostalgia, especially with the incredibly low hardware requirements for Atari emulation. (even lower than NES requirements, you could store the majority of 2600 games on a 3 1/2 floppy disk)

    What it would ultimately come down to is some manner of branding + development push. It would also require strong community support. (to keep people coming back) I don't know if whoever is running this thing has the chops for that.
     
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  15. Murgilod

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    Or, you know, I've seen this garbage before in the form of the Ouya. And the Gamestick. And MOJO. And dozens of other pieces of crap that came out in the microconsole boom of 2013-2014. This is all of those all over again with Atari branding on it, and Atari's name hasn't carried any clout for decades. This isn't just a less powerful computer than mine, it's a less powerful computer than you can get for $300 at a Walmart. In laptop form. PC hardware doesn't scale down well at all and to add to that, Atari isn't even Atari. They're the shambling corpse of Infogrames wearing Atari's skin.

    Hardcore gamers won't want it because it's an underpowered piece of trash. Midcore gamers won't want it because it's not going to have a decent library of games and will probably just ship with a bunch of emulated S*** you can get on the Atari Flashback consoles. Casual gamers won't even know it exists and if they did know they wouldn't care because they have phones. Maybe instead of insulting people you should actually look at the people who run Atari now and look at the history and performance of similar products.

    Edit:

    I did some quick calculations based on the size of the USB ports and got some rough dimensions of the renders they put out. It's about 12 inches long by 5.3 inches wide by 1.2 inches tall. The numbers may be slightly off due to the pixel error possibility of the photoshop measuring tool. If this thing is based on PC hardware, then the entire thing is probably going to have to be passively cooled because I don't see any heat vents on that thing. This means that the processor and GPU are going to be super low power which is fine for emulating things like the 7800 and probably even the Jaguar and Lynx, but it's going to be a complete mess for modern software development.

    There's plenty to take away from these designs if you look and pay attention.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017 at 8:35 PM
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  16. LaneFox

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    This is a rendering of a box with an Atari logo. It has USB and HDMI. It doesn't fit in the next-gen or even the high end spaces. Atari hasn't made any games in like 30 years.

    I'm not excited.
     
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  17. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    "Modern" and "new" aren't necessarily the same, and in the context of refreshing a product line from 1978 I think that something introduced in 2003, still in widespread use today, and updated a bunch of times along the way is "modern" enough.

    I care far less about what hardware is in it than I do about audience size and composition, how the marketplace works, and stuff like that. If the average mobile phone can run compelling games then I'm reasonably confident that a dedicated box with an AC plug will be just fine in that regard.
     
  18. Ryiah

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    A big logo that says "We are the company that have failed over and over to be successful".

    How is that any worse than being a raging fanboy who believes their favorite company can do no wrong? We have been shown absolutely nothing yet that gives the Atari Box any chance to succeed whatsoever yet here you are claiming the device cannot fail.

    You need to step back and look at this more objectively. Unless it has exclusives no one will waste their time purchasing a device to run games they can already run on their desktop, laptop, phones, consoles, etc.

    No one will purchase it solely for media center purposes when they can already purchase the Amazon Fire TV (a $40 device that is listed as Amazon's Best Seller in Electronics) that already handles the job.

    https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Fire-...-Remote-Streaming-Media-Player/dp/B00ZV9RDKK/
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017 at 1:16 AM
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  19. Arowx

    Arowx

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  20. FMark92

    FMark92

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    "Retro and micro aren't mutually exclusive" console.
    Also it actually looks huge.
    I half expect top to open and see a keyboard.
     
  21. derf

    derf

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    More and more this thing does NOT look like an attempt to build a competing console against the big three, but some weird steam box or Ouya or something like that; so all that chat I got was just wet dreams and wishful speculation after all.

    A shame though, I rather like the idea and was looking forward to Atari stepping up with the big three and show them how it's done old school. :D

    Imagine it...Atari wood trimmed consoles with the cartridges in colorful boxes, rabid commercials of crazy people getting excited by on screen game play of Atari games.
     
  22. RichardKain

    RichardKain

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    Making an inexpensive micro-console has merit. But an effort like that has to be far more than just the hardware. In fact, the hardware is the least important aspect. Reasonable games can be run on almost anything these days. I got a Unity APK running on a Raspberry Pi 3 last night. The hardware doesn't particularly matter. Cram enough processing into a small, tasteful box, make sure you have some nice convenience features like wifi and built-in Bluetooth, and you're done. SD cards are fine for extended storage, and USB covers just about any other charging or input needs.

    What really has me worried is that we don't have any confirmation on whether this current iteration of Atari has what it takes to make the other, more important, elements work. They need a solid on-line community. They need a vibrant development scene. They need support for middleware. They need to get people excited to make and deploy games on this box they're making. That's what we need to see, and at the moment all of that is just an enormous question mark. This is what caused projects like the OUYA to fizzle out. The hardware for the OUYA was fine, it worked great. But the community support wasn't there, and the sales model was broken, and inflexible.
     
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  23. ShilohGames

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    I am not sure Atari can show anybody how things are done old school. Is there anybody left at Atari from the original company?

    At best, the Atari Box is merely a PR stunt to gauge enthusiasm for the brand. Maybe the current owners at Atari can hype it enough to get a bigger company to buy Atari without anybody actually developing an Atari Box.
     
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  24. Murgilod

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    Nope. Like I've mentioned before, Atari nowadays is just the shambling remains of Infogrames wearing Atari's skin. I say "shambling remains" because even Infogrames is barely what Infogrames was originally, having sold off Atari Europe and a good portion of their more successful IPs like 15 years ago. They basically survive as a mid-tier publisher while periodically putting out games that are... poor, to say the least.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017 at 8:33 PM
  25. wheretheidivides

    wheretheidivides

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    Atari have made tons of games in the last 30 years. They make games every year. WTF dude. Another hater?
     
  26. wheretheidivides

    wheretheidivides

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    I'm a fan boy of anything. I was first to say Ataribox is a dumb name and I'd call it Lightwave or Photon. I was the first to say the design is OK, but gave insight on a better design. All I am saying is that haters just hate. You make up lies and spread them here and on Wikipedia and youtube. Others see this and think that. The fact is you do not know what is on the inside. Besides, my underpowered phone sold a lot. Specs don't matter. If they did, no one would buy Apple products.

    All that matters is 1)marketing and 2)the games. Nothing else.
     
  27. FrankenCreations

    FrankenCreations

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    On the same thought....if people want it they will buy it crap or not. I've personally bought a ton of junk in my life as I'm sure most have. My boss buys hundreds of tons of chicken crap every year.;)
     
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  28. GarBenjamin

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    It looks cool enough. Very interested in their grand plan and pricing. The RetroVGS tried a similar thing not that long back but their crazy high price (and a few other things such as it not actually existing lol) basically killed it. But they had enough people willing to spend to generate over $50k or so the first day. There are only so many people willing to throw out $400+ on such a thing though.

    I hope it succeeds. If they can somehow get all of the retro crowd behind it then it would. But sadly just as there are Windows vs Linus vs MAC fanatics, Unity vs UE fanatics there are still Spectrum vs C64 vs NES vs whatever fanatics as well. Although I think many of them have loosened up and started appreciating all retro systems in general to a degree.

    Rambled again... anyway some real info would be good.
     
  29. Ryiah

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    They were only charging $299 according to the Indiegogo campaign. For a console that was built around the concept of reprogramming an FPGA that isn't very expensive. Equivalently specced FPGA dev kits tend to be priced around the same amount.

    https://joelw.id.au/FPGA/CheapFPGADevelopmentBoards

    Complete lack of a prototype in every demonstration was the real killer for the platform. We may see a similar situation with Atari too as the pictures we're being shown are basic renders and with a design that just about anyone could come up with on their own.
     
  30. Murgilod

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    Yeah, it's the complete lack of a prototype that got me too. It makes me wonder if the RetroVGS ever had even a functional, casing free prototype.
     
  31. GarBenjamin

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    As I recall (which admittedly might be wrong) I spent over $300 thought it was nearly $400 for the lowest priced unit... the black one. That could be wrong though. But they had some selling much higher like $600 or more per console. It does seem like it was supposed to be less than $300 but came out more and is another thing that ticked people off.

    I do agree though for what it was I didn't mind spending the money on it. Ended up getting it all back when it was canceled anyway so I figured had nothing to lose.

    EDIT: I searched my email and it was $339. So yeah cheaper than I had remembered but it was nearly 2 years ago and again that was the lowest priced option to actually get a console.

    I think Atari should target $199 or less to move a decent number of these. If they do a $299 plus s&h for one of them and $399 + s & h for the other style they will likely reach only a small segment of the market. There were a lot of people disappointed at the price of the RetroVGS who said they would order (back) it if it was $100 cheaper.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017 at 9:25 PM
  32. RichardKain

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    If they want to shift product on this thing, they need to price it low, and sell it for only slightly above cost. Depending on the internals, this may be feasible. What they are proposing from those renders is a relatively simple device with no moving parts and no major external input source. (such as a cartridge slot) All of the basics that are going into it are the kind of things you see all the time from systems-on-a-chip. (standard SD card slot, USB ports, HDMI, possibly a CAT 5 network port, nothing out of the ordinary) They don't even seem interested in having proprietary controller ports.

    With all that, they should be able to sell such a device for relatively cheap per unit. $100 would not be unreasonable if the specs are kept within a realistic range. But the circuit board is more important than the exterior case. They need a working prototype pronto, and they need to be shopping it around to software developers. Software support will be far more important than the physical device.
     
  33. wheretheidivides

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    I agree $199 is about as high as it should be. $99 is considered impulse buying, but $200 requires the misses to give approval. I say they should sell it at cost but have the game downloadable from there own website. Developers could push updates fast, Atari gets all of the profits and it's cheap enough that people would buy. Under $149 and it is not a competitor to the bigger 3 consoles. They could sell a lot at cost but get the money from the downloads. I'd say make it windows 64 compatable, but have an encryption. Then unity could easily export to Ataribox and the developers wouldn't know it's really a windows game. Allow developers to have free accounts. There would be no reason not to just export a copy to Ataribox. genious.
     
  34. RichardKain

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    The problem is that without some manner of unique hook, it will be "just another box." The market has shown that they aren't really interested in "just another box." It's become difficult for the major console pushers to get people to buy and keep just one video game system. Many console consumers just want one system, and aren't interested in acquiring multiple systems in order to gain access to all the games. A lot less people are buying an XBone and a PS4, more often they just get one and stick with it. Most of them won't shift over to being multi-platform until the price on the individual units go low enough. And the strategy that these console manufacturers are taking is specifically designed to keep the price on their systems relatively high. (new bundles with games and larger hard drives, and new models like the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X)

    With minimalist options like the Fire TV, smart-TVs, and various media devices littering the market, there is much less of an argument in favor of a small-scale console. In order to persuade consumers, it needs to offer them something more that they would want. And that's the big question mark. Right now we aren't really seeing that hook. Nostalgia can serve as that hook, but it isn't going to be persuasive enough to draw a wider audience. There just isn't enough nostalgia for the Atari brand. Exclusive games is the other usual hook, but Atari hasn't been a solid software developer for a long time, and even in their heyday they weren't all that great. And Atari is already cannibalizing their own potential market by licensing Atari games and retro-boxes that already serve that nostalgia market.

    This is why so many people are dubious.
     
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  35. LaneFox

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    It looks like
    • USB (3 - 4, one might be DP)
    • HDMI (1)
    • SD?? (1)
    • CAT5 (1)
    • DC (1)
    Power input looks too lightweight to be running anything significant. It looks like it has an SD slot - but why? I started wondering if it might be a mobile battery powered thing maybe for vr stuff, but with no vents i doubt it would have the horsepower.

    Four lights on the front are usually controller indicators, and they match the 4 usb's on back and probably support the idea that there is no DP slot.

    It kinda just seems like a puny game console and that really doesn't make much sense right now, it doesn't really fill any interests of consumers today.
     
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  36. zombiegorilla

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    Modern take on "cartridges", probably. SD cards are dirt cheap, and small. You could put a spinner rack in GameStop full of games on mini carts.
     
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  37. LaneFox

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    True, but it's on the rear, that seems like a weird place for 'cartridge' IO.
     
  38. Murgilod

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    It seems odd to put the controller ports back there too.
     
  39. LaneFox

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    Huh, good point. I wonder if it's more of a cloud media device or something.

    Whole thing seems weird. Hard to even speculate.
     
  40. zombiegorilla

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  41. LaneFox

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    Dude, can you imagine Missile Command in 4K?
     
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  42. zombiegorilla

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    Definitely. My suspicion is that there isn't much of plan (or a well thought out one). The folks running Atari today are no relation to those who made Atari what it was. They are doing casino and other random crap. I suspect that they are just your run of the mill business folks who bought the company/trademark and are trying to spin the name into money without actually having a clue. In fact... a quick look at the key players in the company show that they are mostly all money folks, the ceo was a financial lawyer before heading the current incarnation of "Atari". Not a lot of cred to expect any real innovation. It also appears that it is(or was) going to be originally crowdfunded. yea...
     
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  43. hippocoder

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  44. wheretheidivides

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    Question: can a company use a SD card, but encrypt it to handshake with a device? I mean can Atari put a SD card slot in the Atari Lightwave (AKA Ataribox) with a standard SD car, but have the SD card be encrypted so it only runs on the Lightwave? Would that be cheaper than having a propertary cart slot? And would it be fast enough to run a game off of? (This being a way to figure out if they play on releasing games on SD card or download only).

    I'd say to get stores to sell it, they would have to have physical cards so the store can make money off of it. However, all download content is appealing too.
     
  45. wheretheidivides

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    Missile COmmand VR in 4K would be better. Someone call up Virtuality.
     
  46. angrypenguin

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    Sure, it's possible. I mean, SD cards just store data, and "encryption" is just a thing you do to data to make sure it can only be understood by the intended recipient. If they did that there'd be nothing unusual going on there.

    I'm pretty sure it's exactly how DVDs and Blurays work. The data on them is (optionally) encrypted, and the decryption keys are a closely guarded trade secret only shared with people who purchase licenses.
     
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  47. Ryiah

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    The SD acronym stands for "Secure Digital". One of the main features of the SD standard is a form of DRM.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_Protection_for_Recordable_Media

    For that matter SD cards are not restricted to data. You can have custom circuitry in there to bring additional features to a device that may not already have them. Just as an example you can buy WiFi SD cards.

    https://www.amazon.com/Memory-Class-New-Generation-Share/dp/B00BN2AJOQ/

    Of course it goes without saying that at some point the data will need to be decrypted. Zelda Breath of the Wild was downloadable on the Internet almost immediately after release despite using a custom cartridge. Nintendo is known for having encryption chips in their cartridges so it was likely protected too.

    Yes, but you might be overestimating the performance necessary for a game. Nintendo's game cartridges for the Nintendo Switch, for example, are actually slower than budget SD cards. For that matter the Switch's internal storage is only slightly faster than the same budget SD cards.

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/d...rosd-cards-for-switch-loading-time-comparison
    https://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Class-UHS-I-Memory-SDSDUNC-016G-GN6IN/dp/B0143RTB1E/
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017 at 4:48 AM
  48. zombiegorilla

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    It's not going to be anything fancy, even if they do use sd cards as "carts". It'll all be off the shelf tech, including the operating system/software and hardware. Custom (unique) hardware is large/hardware company type thing (like.. ugh... sony likes to do). That kind of stuff is simply way beyond their resources, they are a very small software company. It's a sure bet whatever they do will largely focused on ip/brand and/or business model.
     
  49. schmosef

    schmosef

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Posts:
    764
    Ryiah and zombiegorilla like this.
  50. FMark92

    FMark92

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Posts:
    212
    Oh wow I just remembered how full of experimental consoles the 2000s were. Wasn't there even something that promised full serverside rendering?