We’ve been keeping an eye on the upcoming Atari VCS system over the years, mainly because following the drama around the new console has been massively entertaining.
However, for all of the issues it has experienced, the VCS does appear to be nearing the finish line – and Atari’s Chief Operating Officer Michael Arzt has taken to Medium to answer some questions about the machine, the hardware and the company’s ambitious vision for the living room.
One of the most interesting questions relates to where the console fits in the grand scheme of things; is it a PC, a games console, or is it more akin to the Raspberry PI or even a smartphone? To be fair, Atari hasn’t made it easy for itself by proclaiming that the VCS can play both modern and retro games, stream in 4K and host PC titles, but Arzt feels that thinking outside the box is all part of the approach – and he cites what Nintendo has achieved with the Switch as an indicator that sometimes, if you create the market, success will follow:
We also did not want to engage in an arms race with any of the console makers. Atari’s goal is to reach the mass consumer that may not want to pay a premium for a layer of hardware performance they rarely tap into, and who may be looking for something a bit different from what the dedicated consoles provide. Nintendo has done an amazing job of breaking from the mold by emphasizing portability over processing power, combined with unique games and proprietary IP, and with other new retro-style consoles coming to market alongside us, clearly we were not the only ones that saw an opportunity to do something different.
The Atari VCS 800 Onyx Base system will sell for $299.99 USD, while an “all-in” bundle – which includes the Atari VCS Classic Joystick and Atari VCS Modern Controller (both of which cost $59.99 on their own and are created by PowerA) – will set you back $399.99 USD. According to Arzt, sales availability will be announced “soon”.
Do you think the much-maligned VCS will eventually find its niche? Let us know with a comment.