Previously called the Ataribox, the Atari VCS was revealed last June to be a reissue of a home Atari console. Sporting an open Linux OS, Atari is said to have “Killer Atari Games” and “Hot New Indie Titles”. This week, Atari has changed the name, built a retro-inspiration into modern tech and will be opening up pre-orders beginning next month. From their FAQ:
Atari VCS is expected to ship with a variety of game and entertainment content available. Classic IP from Atari’s profile of more than 200 games…will be accessible, plus modern games (including reimagined classics) as well as streaming video, audio, and other entertainment apps.
What keeps me skeptical, is that although they’ve done their song and dance of a “reveal”, they haven’t actually revealed gameplay or anything of how it runs, and what games. Apparently, it will have “expandable storage, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth support and USB 3.0”. It has also been revealed that the Atari VCS will have a full PC experience on the TV, bringing streaming, social media, applications and music. What else keeps me cautiously optimistic is since the not-so-successful debuts of Steam Machines, custom-built consoles haven’t seen great strides outside of the big three. We all remember the fabled OUYA. Now, the Atari VCS has the Atari name behind it, which will help them. Problem is, that won’t be the be-all and end-all.
Now where things get interesting, is that the Atari VCS is running open Linux OS. This means if you’re not excited about Atari’s “handpicked” list of games they’ll be bringing onboard, you can simply install Steam and expand your library instantly. Unfortunately, the details on the hardware inside the Atari VCS aren’t exactly clear yet, so no one knows what exactly you’ll be able to play. The controller (yes it ships with a classic joystick too) does look decent though, for a prototype:
At the end of the day, it’s still a gamble. In my opinion, they should have followed in Nintendo’s footprints, and do a “classic” version. I mean, at least tell us what’s under the hood, or at the bare minimum, tell us what games are going to be on it for Bushnell’s sake. If you’re interested, head over to Ataribox.com and sign up for your preorder.
What about you geeks? Are you going to be a day-1 preorder type of fan? Let us know in the comments!