Atari VCS: everything you need to know about Atari's comeback console
The Atari title nonetheless carries a number of cachet with online game followers, given the corporate’s function in creating the house console market – however its final piece of recent {hardware}, 1993’s Jaguar, was a large flop. 

Since then, the Atari model has modified arms a number of instances, emerged from chapter, and been used to market social video games and on-line playing.

It has been a tough couple of many years for Atari, that is to make sure. 

However that might all change with the corporate’s new, crowd-sourced console: the Atari VCS (the console previously often known as the Ataribox). 

Whereas particulars are nonetheless scarce, the Atari VCS represents Atari’s hopeful comeback within the console world, promising each entry to authentic Atari video games and new experiences, pairing the traditional with the fashionable. 

The system has but to be absolutely detailed and whereas we’re enthusiastic about the opportunity of the a brand new console able to enjoying Atari’s biggest hits like RollerCoaster Tycoon, Driver and NeverWinter Nights, the truth that so little is thought concerning the console is worrying. Atari has but to unveil a working prototype to the general public and, to make issues worse, introduced that it could open pre-orders up on December 14 … solely to delay the pre-order course of on account of “growth issues”. Yikes.

However, only in the near past, Atari has re-opened its doorways to the general public to announce that the Atari VCS will likely be obtainable to pre-order beginning on Might 30, 2018 and will likely be bought at a particular pre-sale worth of $199. Better of all, Atari says backers who place an order early will obtain items by Spring 2019. 

Look out nostalgia, Atari is making its massive comeback subsequent 12 months.

[Latest update: Atari has just announced a pre-order date and pricing info for the first batch of backers.]

Lower to the chase

  • What’s it? A brand new Atari console that performs outdated video games and new ones too.
  • How a lot will it price? $199 throughout the particular pre-sale interval
  • When does it come out? Spring 2019 is Atari’s goal

What’s an Atari VCS?

Atari first teased the Atari VCS again in June 2017 with a pretty lightweight website and a short YouTube clip, after which lastly spilled the beans again at E3. 

Atari CEO Fred Chesnais, who purchased the corporate following its 2013 chapter, told VentureBeat: “We’re again within the {hardware} enterprise.” The article additionally claimed the system can be “based mostly on PC expertise”.

It wasn’t till July of 2017 that we received a greater sense of what to anticipate when an e-mail blast to followers who subscribed to Atari’s publication answered some questions: The Atari VCS will likely be obtainable in two fashions – one with a traditional wooden grain entrance, and one other that is black and crimson – with a really slim, streamlined aesthetic that appears a bit like a cable field or streaming set-top field. Each variations share the identical, easy total design, with ribbed strains and a raised again.

Primarily based on a prototype engineering unit we have seen that the Atari VCS can have a number of trendy ports within the again, together with an HDMI output, 4 USB ports, and an Ethernet cable port for wired web entry. It is also deliberate to assist SD playing cards, which might make it simple to carry video games, media, and different content material to your Atari VCS, or maybe assist maintain a homebrew group. Or possibly it will simply present expandable storage so customers should buy as a lot or as little as they want, slightly than Atari packing the field itself with it.

“Our goal is to create a brand new product that stays true to our heritage whereas interesting to each outdated and new followers of Atari,” learn the e-mail. 

Contained in the field you may see an AMD personalized processor with Radeon Graphics expertise highly effective sufficient to run video games like Minecraft and light-weight indie titles simply in addition to the opposite consoles can. It is going to additionally be capable of run conventional Atari video games – although it will not take a lot horsepower to run them.

In keeping with a press launch despatched out in late September, all this {hardware} will assist the console carry a full PC expertise to the TV, together with the flexibility to stream exhibits and films, entry functions (the console runs on a taste of Linux), log-on to social networks, browse the net and stream music.

Then there’s the controller – nicely, two controllers to be actual. 

One of many aforementioned controllers is a duplicate of the Atari paddle you grew up with. It includes a singular button and a directional joystick. Additionally delivery with the VCS is a extra up to date controller – just like what you’d discover coupled with an Xbox One. It has 4 face buttors, a d-pad and two thumbsticks. 

Which video games will it play?

Effectively, that is the large query. In spite of everything, what good is one other console if it does not have nice video games to play on it? 

That was one of the crucial apparent issues with the Atari Jaguar, however that was greater than twenty years in the past in a totally completely different period for gaming, to not point out on notoriously complicated {hardware} that was tough to develop for.

Atari says that the Atari VCS will run traditional video games – digitally, that’s, whether or not they’re built-in or downloadable (or each) – which makes a ton of sense. In spite of everything, the NES Basic was an enormous hit, promoting out each time it hit shops and leaving a number of followers determined and wanting when Nintendo opted to cease producing the field. 

Atari owns the rights to greater than 200 completely different online game properties, together with Pong, Missile Command, Asteroids, and Centipede. For a greater trace at what to anticipate from the corporate, simply take a look at the Atari’s Greatest Hits app for iOS and Android: it presents 100 traditional Atari 2600 video games that you could purchase in small bundles, or you’ll be able to unlock the whole library for $10.

If the Atari VCS is patterned extra just like the Ouya microconsole, then it might function a platform for brand spanking new and experimental content material of all types, particularly from indie builders.

Clearly, Atari is not going to launch a customized piece of {hardware}, promote a $10 pack of video games for it, and name it a day. That why the corporate has additionally teased “present content material” for the Atari VCS. Will that imply appearances by different, extra trendy Atari franchises like Rollercoaster Tycoon, Take a look at Drive, and Ghostbusters? That might imply ports of Atari video games we have seen on cell platforms and different consoles over the past couple many years, and even ported PC video games.

Perhaps! Nevertheless it might additionally imply model new content material. 

If the Atari VCS is patterned extra just like the Ouya microconsole, then it might function a platform for brand spanking new and experimental content material of all types, particularly from indie builders. That would appear to make a number of sense, particularly if the system finally ends up being powered by a low-end PC processor, or even perhaps Android with a cell chip within the combine (regardless of the “PC expertise” suggestion). However for now, it is all simply hypothesis. We all know nothing for sure.

When will the Atari VCS come out?

Atari has been a bit obscure round this subject however, thus far, it seems like the corporate is concentrating on Spring 2019.

“We all know you’re hungry for extra particulars; on specs, video games, options, pricing, timing and so on,” learn the corporate’s July 2017 e-mail to subscribers. “We’re not teasing you deliberately; we need to get this proper, so we have opted to share issues step-by-step as we carry Atari VCS to life, and to pay attention carefully to Atari group suggestions as we accomplish that.” 

However we do know one essential element: the Atari VCS will likely be crowdfunded. Atari does not appear to be fairly as flush with money it was again in its early glory days, plus the Atari VCS is a large danger and would require ample funding. 

That is clearly a little bit of a double-edged sword: If the field will get all of the funding it wants inside a matter of days – it will be clear that Atari has a possible success on their arms. If they do not, nicely, it could possibly be an early dying for a neat concept.

It would not make sense to crowdfund a tool that is already manufactured and able to hit retail. Additionally, the e-mail mentioned there have been nonetheless selections to be made “within the months forward.”

However hopefully we’ll see it in 2019, then, or past. Nevertheless, even when the console makes its option to the mass manufacturing stage, crowdfunded consoles have not had an incredible run thus far by way of longevity: the Ouya ended up being a short-lived phenomenon that yielded tough launch {hardware} and few important video games you could not play elsewhere. In the meantime, the PlayJam GameStick landed with a whimper and the Coleco Chameleon flamed out earlier than it was even constructed.

But when Atari can efficiently commerce on its traditional model, ship an genuine old-school 2600 expertise, and supply sufficient compelling trendy content material to justify the value, then possibly the Atari VCS can succeed the place different microconsoles have failed. As with a lot of the exhausting particulars right here, we’ll simply have to attend and see – and we’ll hold you up to date.

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