Atari's new Ataribox system may not have a Nintendo focus, but the company's history in the games arena warrants some mention here regardless - hence our coverage of the news that the veteran firm was re-entering the hardware arena earlier this year.

Atari has now released renders of its new console, showing off a surprisingly fetching design which comes in two varieties - glass and faux-wood, the latter aping the look of the classic Atari VCS which dominated the early years of the home console arena.

In a newsletter published online, Atari has outlined its plans for the machine:

Our objective is to create a new product that stays true to our heritage while appealing to both old and new fans of Atari. 

Inspired by classic Atari design elements (such as the iconic use of wood, ribbed lines, and raised back); we are creating a smooth design, with ribs that flow seamlessly all around the body of the product, a front panel that can be either wood or glass, a front facing logo, indicator lights that glow through the material, and an array of new ports (HDMI, 4xUSB, SD). We intend to release two editions: a wood edition, and a black/red edition.

As you can guess, those ports suggest modern internal specs. It also means that while we will be delivering classic gaming content, we will also be delivering current gaming content.

We know you are hungry for more details; on specs, games, features, pricing, timing etc. We’re not teasing you intentionally; we want to get this right, so we’ve opted to share things step by step as we bring Ataribox to life, and to listen closely to Atari community feedback as we do so. There are a lot of milestones, challenges and decision points in front of us in the months ahead. We’ll be giving you lots more information and status updates as we progress, and we are thrilled to have you along for the ride!

While details are sketchy, Eurogamer has spotted an interesting note which was issued to French investors by Atari recently:

To limit risk taking, this product will initially be launched within the framework of a crowdfunding campaign.

That sounds to us like a mix of the NES Classic Mini - which was Nintendo's attempt at leveraging its past - and the ill-fated Ouya micro-console, which was crowdfunded a few years ago but failed to find a place in the market. The scope for playing classic Atari games on the console is obvious, but hints that it will also play "current" titles suggests it could be Android-based, like the Ouya.

What do you think the Ataribox will turn out like? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

[via mailchi.mp, eurogamer.net]