Video game console company Atari has released a'Speakerhat' baseball cap with stereo speakers embedded inside. Atari, best known for its 1977 Atari 2600 home game console, says that the hat has high-fidelity stereo speakers and a microphone that can connect instantly to any Bluetooth-enabled device. The Speakerhat also has a multiplayer mode that will allow multiple Speakerhat users to pair up with one another and listen to the the same audio stream in sync. According to Atari, the wearable can connect to any smartphone, tablet or personal computer to play any music or other media content. The feature also allows for making and accepting phone calls and receiving voice commands.
The video game arcade is the cathedral of the games industry. Veteran players see these increasingly endangered places as shrines to design purity, difficulty and player skill, bathed in the glow of flickering monitors. They were, after all, the places where the conventions of the medium were forged, and their gradual disappearance has only served to make them more alluring. Mobile gaming, meanwhile, receives a great deal less reverence, thanks in part to its vast popularity. Despite design masterpieces like Monument Valley, The Room and Hearthstone, smartphone titles are collectively seen as casual time-killers, lacking cultural clout.
Ever since the "Ataribox," now the Atari VCS, was announced, there was really only one question everything was asking about it. What is this thing exactly? Everyone's first thought was that the VCS was a retro console, following in the footsteps of Nintendo's mini offerings, but while it does play old Atari games, the company soon made it clear that this is something else entirely. "We very consciously try to avoid using the word'console,' because it's not really a console," Atari COO of Connected Devices Michael Arzt tells me. "A console to us means Xbox, PlayStation.
Despite the pandemic, it's been a pretty great year for video game hardware. Microsoft launched the Xbox Series X, a powerful obelisk packing a 12-teraflop GPU, and the smaller Series S, which can run games natively at 1440p resolution. Sony, meanwhile, released the PlayStation 5 and a cheaper Digital Edition that doesn't come with a disc drive. Both companies are struggling with stock shortages at the moment and a number of user-reported hardware issues. Still, it's a minor miracle that neither Sony nor Microsoft was forced to delay their next-gen launch.
Atari, the same company behind the Atari Computer System, has announced a new product called the Atari Speakerhat. The new device is exactly what the name describes: a baseball cap with built-in speakers. "The Atari Speakerhat is a baseball-style cap with high-fidelity stereo speakers and microphone that can connect instantly to any Bluetooth-enabled device," the company said on its website. "Connect to any smartphone, tablet, personal computer to play any music or other media content, initiate or accept phone calls, receive voice commands, etc." The speakers are embedded right in the underside of the cap's bill/visor.