Crowdfunding has given rise to dreamers, scammers, and everything in between. It has become an almost level playing field where even big companies may fail to deliver on promises or even make them a reality. It may be too early to judge the already delayed Atari VCS “retro” gaming PC “console” but it seems that it is getting dragged into controversy yet again after the departure of the still-unfinished product’s designer.
With a big name behind it and the always effective element of nostalgia, the Atari VCS was able to easily gather enough funds for its stab at a console that isn’t exactly just an Atari remake. The Atari VCS has always been intended to be a PC masquerading as an Atari 2600, and all the design and hardware changes that entail.
Despite actually owning the brand, it seems that Atari didn’t have the talent to actually design the Atari VCS and employed the expertise of design consultancy Tin Giant and Rob Wyatt, credited as the system architect of the first Xbox. However, as of the start of this month, Wyatt and his company have parted ways with Atari on less amicable terms and without delivering the final design of the VCS’ motherboard.
According to Wyatt, Atari has failed to pay Tin Games’ invoice for the past six months and even if he wanted to see the Atari VCS through, the situation became untenable and unjust. Atari hasn’t responded to the news becoming public but it’s definitely not looking good if the company doesn’t have the final core parts in place to start manufacturing the gaming PC.
On a new blog post, however, Atari does imply that things are still rolling smoothly without making any mention of Wyatt and his company’s involvement. Wyatt, for his part, has made no mention of taking any legal action against Atari when most would have probably already sued it.
After the delay caused by switching to an AMD Ryzen platform, the Atari VCS’ new schedule was pushed back to the end of 2019. Although it is trying to assure backers that things are proceeding as scheduled, it might meet yet another hiccup with Wyatt’s departure, especially if the latter does take legal recourse to the alleged breach of contract.