Atari hits pause button on AMD-powered Ataribox preorders

Atari was set to kick off a crowdfunding campaign today on Indiegogo for its Ataribox, a PC tech-based game console powered by a custom AMD processor with Radeon graphics, running Linux. The company even sent out a reminder this past Monday, saying it will offer a limited number of discounted units when preorders go live. But then this morning Atari put the word out that it's delaying the launch. Why? That's a good question.

"The countdown to the Ataribox launch on Indiegogo has been officially paused. Because of one key element on our checklist, it is taking more time to create the platform and ecosystem the Atari community deserves. Building Ataribox is incredibly important to us and we will do whatever it takes to be sure it is worth the wait," Atari said.

Outside of Ataribox, that's all anyone knows at the moment. It would have made more sense had Atari not hyped the launch just three days ago, but apparently something developed since then and it's not sitting right with Atari. Or maybe it never really intended to launch the campaign today, but is trying to drum up hype. We hope that's not the case, because this is a bad way of doing that.

"An updated launch plan is underway and more detailed information will be available soon. We will be keeping you, our community, informed every step of the way. Thank you again for your support of Ataribox," the company added.

Atari is attempting to capitalize on the retro gaming craze, as Nintendo has done with its NES Classic and SNES Classic consoles. However, the Ataribox will also run "hot new indie" games on a Linux platform.

"People are used to the flexibility of a PC, but most connected TV devices have closed systems and content stores," Ataribox creator and general manager Feargal Mac told VentureBeat earlier this year. "We wanted to create a killer TV product where people can game, stream and browse with as much freedom as possible, including accessing pre-owned games from other content providers."

Whenever it launches, the Ataribox will be available in two models—one with a classic wood grain front, and another with a red and black color scheme. Around back, the Ataribox will have modern connectivity options, including HDMI output, an Ethernet port, and four USB ports. It will also have an SD card slot.

It's not clear what CPU and graphics architecture the custom AMD chip will be based on. Hopefully at this point will be a pairing of Zen and Vega, especially since the Ataribox won't actually release until sometime next year.