If you got game and money to potentially burn you can pre-purchase an Atari VCS at the end of the month. ‘Game, stream, connect like never before’ is the pitch. Killer Atari games, hot new indie titles, open Linux OS, join the revolution says Atari. For a mere $199 USD you can snag yourself one of these mysterious consoles via indiegogo, note though the official launch is anticipated to be sometime in 2019. According to Atari the VCS will feature 100 classic Atari games (ET?) so come release day you can play Centipede or Missile Command in style on your brand new several hundred dollar retro console. Atari are quick to point out there will be a full range of modern games that will be announced at a later date.
The Atari VCS is a mysterious and perplexing box with a hefty price tag for sure. A roll of the dice with your money perhaps. A (formerly) relevant hardware company with a checkered past featuring multiple bankruptcies and spectacular failures putting its hand out for some crowdfunding. There is a landfill in Mexico somewhere with the bones of a company that once owned and then destroyed an industry. Would you crowdfund a PlayStation? Perhaps. A software title? Maybe. An Atari Console? I don’t know. Either way, if you are going to take the plunge and join the revolution it’s best to have an idea of what you are buying into.
Atari describes their VCS as retro inspired but not a ‘retro box’, described as a fully customisable entertainment experience. They have partnered with AMD who provides the Atari VCS with a custom processor featuring Radeon Graphics Technology. Support for 4K resolution, HDR and 60FPS content, onboard and expandable storage options, dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0, as well as USB 3.0 support. That is about it as far as description of capability goes. The Indiegogo pre-order gives brave buyers a choice of a special time limited classic Woodgrain design (above) or Onyx Black (below). The Atari VCS is described as a connected device, implying it will be online all the time and either stream or download games.
Games wise, as already mentioned, 100 classic Atari games and as yet unannounced modern games. Making this the most expensive loot box in town. A fair question could be what exactly Atari considers as modern? There has been no announcement of third party support that we can find and absolutely not even a rumour as to which modern games will find their way onto the Atari VCS. For all we know Kingdom Hearts 3 could show up or a Red Dead Redemption 2 port for launch. It could launch with an indie catalogue packed with games that have been widely available on other platforms for years. Maybe this is a shock and awe strategy, maybe there is going to be a hot lineup of exclusives announced mere months from release. Or maybe Atari got nothing, are running out of capital, and need some funding to keep going while they figure it out.
Essentially here we have crowd funding to pre-purchase the Atari VCS at the end of the month with a couple of controllers. The classic games come with the box, the rest is a surprise. It is certainly rare to have what could be considered a comeback console from a company such as Atari available for pre-purchase with not even a whiff of the games to follow. To say that jumping on the bandwagon is a leap of faith is an understatement. Hopefully they have their E3 booth booked, a system that works, and a readiness to showcase some wares. The story of the Atari VCS is going to be a rollercoaster for sure, much like the story of Atari itself.
Are you going to jump on the Atari VCS pre-sale and lock your console in?