Not that I’m huge on making this blog about gaming news as such. I’ve been quite invested in the Atari VCS, both on this blog, and in my own general interest over the past year. Lastly in my hobbies, I’ve gotten back into the old Atari 2600 and thoroughly enjoyed playing some of these old games.
Which is why I want to talk about the latest Atari news which we saw come to light in an email:
So what does this mean to consumers, like me and anyone reading?
Based off the talk of 4K graphics, HDR and 60FPS content, a custom processor and Radeon Graphics technology amongst other specs. It certainly sounds like a competitive console right?
Well it does, but I can’t help but be skeptical. RGT 85 a popular gaming channel that I occasionally follow but mostly because of his association with Spawn Wave more than anything else, brings up some interesting points in one of his most recent videos. That Atari VCS is seeking crowd funding via an Indiegogo and not a Kickstarter. On Kickstarter you need a working prototype, on Indiegogo.. you don’t. Further he mentions, if Atari is touting 4K graphics, HDR and 60FPS content.. and then showing off games like centipede isn’t a great way to do it. Centipede for Atari 2600 could run on almost anything with some kind of graphics processor.
Not to mention it will be running an open source custom Linux distribution so any modern games it can run, could just be run elsewhere. Platforms like Steam operate on Linux, and many games these days, primarily indie games are released on Linux. Not to mention any game that is released on the AtariVCS could just be run on a Linux PC. Linux is an open platform, the only thing that changes really is the GUI and what comes pre-installed, the underlying Kernel is generally the same.
So it is no surprise that many are hesitant to jump on board the Atari train, skeptical that it will actually release, and if so, be worth while, relevant and enjoyable as a gaming experience beyond the novelty of being able to play 100+ Atari games.
Now lets assume the Atari VCS, comes installed with 100+ Atari games as it’s touted to be coming with (Or to be specific, it comes with the Atari Vault, and the vault has 100+ Atari games.. read into this how you choose). Maybe that’s all it ends up offering, potentially other games will release on the system, but nothing exclusive, only ports that can be played on other systems.. I doubt any one will pick up an Atari VCS as their primary gaming system.. at least not in the early stages of release.. and certainly not if it turns out to be terrible…. but if we assume all it has to offer are 100+ Atari games.. then would it be worth it? I don’t think so. Maybe to collectors, nostalgia addicts and Atari enthusiasts. Maybe to tech hobbyists, YouTubers, and programmers. But to the average consumer.. I can’t imagine any way it will be relevant to them, unless it could play GTA 5, Fortnite or the latest Call of Duty.
But I absolutely will be pre-ordering.. why? I’m a tech hobbyist, Atari enthusiast and collector, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.. hell I recently lost a bid on an Ouya which I’m trying to buy for a cheap price because I wan’t to see what it’s like… actually the AtariVCS is starting to sound almost exactly like the Ouya. An entire console built around 1 gimmick.. and both open source. Both destined for demise? Well.. 1/2 way there.. I guess I remain skeptical.
It will definitely be interesting to see what happens when the Crowdfunding goes live on May 30th.
We know the base package is $199 for the Atari Onyx, but I’m curious about the other packages available, the incentives provided for those who signed up to the email alerts and the limited edition Atari VCS. Atari has initial shipments planned for early spring 2019 which if anyone recalls in a previous post I put my estimate at mid-2019.. Well. I wouldn’t be surprised if the shipment date didn’t push out a few months!
Image 1 – Ouya: By Evan-Amos [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
Image 2 – Image Credit to Atari.
Atari VCS email – Screenshot of email posted as an image. Credit to Atari for the excerpt of the email I received.