For years now, the competitors in the game console space have been pretty well defined. Since Sega’s exit from the console business in the early 2000s, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft have been the three major companies competing for market share. It may not be much longer until a new company enters the ring, though, as Project Cars developer Slightly Mad Studios has announced that it’s working on a new console.
Not just any console, either, but as Slightly Mad Studios CEO Ian Bell explains it, “the most powerful console ever made.” The console is called the Mad Box, and it was revealed in a series of tweets to Bell’s freshly-created Twitter account yesterday.
In fact, the first tweet Bell published after creating this account says simply, “The Mad Box is coming.” In an interview with Variety, Bell later elaborated on what he means when he says that the Mad Box will be the most powerful console of all time. “It will support most major VR headsets and those upcoming and the specs will be equivalent to a ‘very fast PC 2 years from now’,” Bell said, noting that Slightly Mad is still in early talks with component manufacturers so specifications aren’t hammered out yet.
Bell also told Variety that the console will launch around three years from now, which will probably make it a competitor to the next Xbox and PlayStation. When asked how much the Mad Box will cost, Bell explained that Slightly Mad is planning to price it competitively, as it’ll be taking a smaller cut than other console manufacturers. Slightly Mad also won’t pursue exclusivity deals with developers, as it believes that console exclusives are “exclusionary.”
It’s a interesting announcement to be sure, because it isn’t every day that a company steps up to the plate to go head-to-head with the likes of Sony and Microsoft. If the Mad Box won’t be here for another three years, we probably won’t get any solid specification details for a while yet. Bell did say that Slightly Mad will be ready to share images of early design builds at some point in the next four to six weeks, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for those.
And there we have it: suddenly there’s a new challenger in the console space. There’s a long way to go between announcement and release for the Mad Box, and during that time, and there’s the potential for plenty to go wrong in that time. More competition is never a bad thing though, so assuming that the Mad Box actually makes it to shelves, it’ll be interesting to see the effect it has on the console market.