Earlier this month Atari attended the Summer Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and showed off yet another piece of hardware. Despite launching its 7800 last year in short supply and with very few games, it’s now attempting to springboard yet another system to the market with its Atari XE home computer hybrid. It’s almost like they haven’t learned a single thing from 1984. Simply throwing new machines at a recovering market doesn’t work. You need good software to propel hardware sales, and they’ve all but abandoned 7800 owners with no new titles in the past 6 months. That’s not a way to garner consumer loyalty.
Still, it wouldn’t be the video game industry if we didn’t have comparison ads. Atari touted its heritage and large library of mostly ancient games as reasons why customers will want to buy its latest gadget: the Atari XE. Despite not even being as powerful as the 7800, Atari somehow expects customers to spend another $150 to have access to 5200 and 2600 software that virtually everyone has grown tired of. We don’t see this as something that has a chance of catching on. If gamers want to play something current with state of the art graphics and refreshing gameplay mechanics, then they’re better off investing in the Nintendo Entertainment System or even the Sega Master System. Atari doesn’t have the software support or market clout to win this race.