Sat. Feb 4th, 2023
Atari makes IoT devices and destroys childhood

Remember when the word Atari meant something? If it meant a wasted youth throwing quarters for a haggard Grab man arcade machine while saying “don’t you want me baby?” to the girls gathered at the change stall? Or ditching joysticks for a floppy CRT TV and a battered copy of Space invaders while your parents, dissatisfied with your failing schoolwork, mumble something about square eyes before retiring to the kitchen for a well-earned glass of pinot?

Come to think of it, I’m neither American enough nor old enough to remember any of that. But damn, I remember enough to know that Atari, the once great voice of video games, shouldn’t be making IoT devices and smart home products with French wireless networking company Sigfox. It’s just not cricket.

According to Sigfox, the company will license the Atari branding and add it to a range of connected products for the home, pets, lifestyle and security, all of which will connect directly to Sigfox’s wireless network, rather than directly to the Internet. Sigfox’s network, which currently only works in Europe with a planned US launch, is mostly used for irregularly relaying small bits of information, such as data from an electricity meter. This, the company says, means its IoT devices have much better battery life and don’t require complicated pairing or configuration.

According to Engadget, Atari and Sigfox are targeting the mass market and charity sector, with devices offering features such as GPS tracking, temperature information and panic buttons. Work on the new products will begin later this year, though no date has been set yet, or the exact products we might see.

That’s fine. After all, if prepubescent me thought the mighty Atari would give up games and move to the high-flying world of temperature tracking, I don’t think he’d be too concerned about the end result. On the other hand, maybe Atari and Sigfox can trade in the brand’s nostalgia and convince people to shell out some cash for a range of IoT devices with questionable functionality. Stranger things have happened, after all.

By akfire1

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