It’s been a long road, but it looks like Atari is nearly ready to ship out the first Atari VCS units. The VCS was first revealed a couple of years ago as something of a jack-of-all-trades; a console that seemed to tap into the nostalgia-fueled success of the NES Classic and the Sega Genesis Mini, but one that could still play more modern games at the same time. After all these years, the Atari VCS still feels a bit mysterious, but that veil should be finally pulled back entirely next month.
In a new blog post published to Medium, Atari announced that the first 500 VCS consoles – give or take a few – will be rolling off production lines in mid-June. Atari says that these first units are slightly delayed because of “rejected plastic parts that required re-fabrication.” Regardless, it seems that the first indiegogo backers should get their consoles at some point this summer.
Unfortunately, Atari doesn’t say when those first 500 consoles will ship out to backers, nor does it say when the rest of its indiegogo supporters can expect to get their consoles. The company does, however, note that “the procurement teams have made significant progress in their efforts to close the gaps on the outstanding parts and materials,” which presumably means that production can ramp up at this point.
Of course, one thing that’s likely complicating the matter is the global pandemic we find ourselves in the middle of at the moment. Atari’s team, like many of us, have been working from home since March, though the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped Atari from being able to carry out its Atari VCS @Home Group A, which involves people “who have deliberately kept from having too much first-hand exposure to the Atari VCS and its accessories,” testing the console in their homes and providing feedback to Atari.
Atari says some of these users have tested “an assortment of classic Atari and 3rd party games, the Antstream App, and streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ in Atari Mode,” while others have used Atari PC Mode to run Windows and play PC games. Videos of some of those tests have been embedded in this article, while others can be found at the Medium post linked above. We’ll keep an ear to the ground for more on the VCS and when these consoles will be shipping out, and we’ll let you know when there’s something new to share.