Atari VCS: Here’s what we know so far

Eric Abent - Mar 26, 2018
Atari VCS: Here’s what we know so far

If you’ve been confused by the marketing campaign for the Atari VCS – previously known as the Ataribox – you definitely aren’t alone. Atari has released a few morsels of information here and there while at the same keeping a shroud of mystery around the entire project. Atari came to GDC 2018 armed with information, and while there’s still a lot we don’t know about the console, things are a little more clear now that the conference has wrapped up.

For starters, we know that the Atari VCS is going to be a console that plays both classic Atari games and some modern games. Like every other console out there these days, Atari also plans to have the VCS serve as a streaming box of sorts, which means that you can expect the company to woo the likes of Netflix, Spotify, and Hulu to the platform. Atari also plans to enter into partnerships with companies like Valve, which means that we may see Steam accessible through the console as well.

Keep in mind that things like Steam support aren’t guarantees at this point, as Atari COO of connected devices Michael Arzt says that partnership discussions are still ongoing. Just as well, development of hardware, software, and peripherals is ongoing too, so at this stage, there isn’t a lot that’s been finalized.

Atari, however, expects the VCS to be comparable to a “higher-end PC laptop” in terms of performance. With an AMD x86 processor under the hood, the VCS should be capable of achieving 4K resolution in some games, but again, without a final specifications sheet to look at, it’s hard to say that it will for sure. We do know that the VCS will feature a proprietary UI, which will be used to browse, purchase, and download content, but the apps we’ll use for that ultimately depends on the partnerships Atari can hammer out.

It sounds like the VCS is still a ways away from completion, so at this point, much of our understanding about the system is a bit nebulous. We may start learning more about the console next month, as Atari says it will announce a pre-order date for the VCS before the end of April. After that, presumably, is when Atari will launch its Indiegogo campaign for the VCS, which is when we expect to learn more specific details.

So, in the end, it seems like Atari wants to capitalize on the retro console fanaticism we see surrounding devices like the Super NES Classic while taking things a little further by giving the VCS the hardware to run more modern titles as well. It’s a cool concept, and it’ll be interesting to see how the gaming public reacts once we have the complete picture. What do you think about the Atari VCS thus far? Head down to the comments section and let us know!

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