Much like Bubsy’s puzzling return from obscurity with Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back, there’s been an air of great confusion surrounding Atari’s unexpected resurgence to penetrate the video game market with a new console. A crowd-sourced campaign on Indiegogo was originally planned for the system with modern and retro design variants, but the project was put on hold when “one key element” snagged the publisher’s progress with no word since then. With PC architecture running on open Linux-based software, creator and general manager Feargal Mac Conuladh told GamesBeat last year, “We wanted to create a killer TV product where people can game, stream and browse with as much freedom as possible, including accessing pre-owned games from other content providers.” Now, Atari has resurfaced with a plan.
The company has announced that the Ataribox has been renamed the Atari VCS. More details on the console’s capabilities will be disclosed at this week’s Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. In the meantime, the console is now accompanied with a modernized joystick and sleek controller reminiscent to the Xbox One’s button layout and build. COO of Connected Devices Michael Arzt said, “With the Atari VCS name, we know how important it is to get everything completely right and that’s why we briefly paused an imminent launch late last year. It was a difficult decision with the countdown underway, but we weren’t willing to go forward with even one thing out of alignment.”
A pre-order date for the Atari VCS will be announced sometime during April.
I’m getting Ouya flashbacks from this strange direction that Atari is going in with this new console. It’ll be key for the company to establish what makes the Atari VCS worth owning if consumers can already stream movies and play retro or modern games on other consoles. It’s admittedly attractive in design alone, but it needs to have a hook or meet some demand in order to avoid turning into a nostalgic decoration.