Atari - not the Atari of your dad's generation but the new Atari which is basically a company that owns the brand - has been in the press a lot of late. The 'new' company is doing everything it can to profit from the cachet which surrounds gaming's first major player, from licencing the logo for Blade Runner 2049 to publishing new titles (with the help of crowdfunding).
However, the Atari VCS (which borrows the name of the company's most successful console, also known as the Atari 2600) is a step into a much larger league. Announced a while back, it seemed to be part NES Classic Edition, part Ouya; it will run classic Atari games but is apparently powerful enough to play modern titles, too.
We say 'apparently' because it would appear that even Atari itself has little idea what the final machine will do. Tech site The Register visited the company's stand at GDC for a live demo and was shocked to discover that not only was the hardware just a mock-up (the wireless controller was a dummy unit without working buttons) but the executive overseeing the project - Michael Arzt - was unable to convincingly answer even very basic questions about the system, its accessories and the software we'll (apparently) be playing on it.
Atari took issue with the coverage and published the following statement:
We honestly can't explain that article either. Our executives sat with that reporter for half an hour and he wrote what he wanted instead of what was discussed with him. Sadly there are even irresponsible trolls in 'professional' positions I guess.
We clearly said that we were bringing engineering design models to GDC and lots of people clearly don't understand what that means. Hunks of plastic? Well, yeah, that's how you finalize the designs and confirm that you can get the look and feel you want for the finished products. Sad.
The Register has responded by publishing the full audio interview with Arzt, in which he fumbles questions about key info. The most Artz is willing to divulge is that the VCS will cost around $250 / £180, will handle 4K video, will be powered by an AMD chipset (although it hasn't been decided which yet) and will use Linux. Given that it's unlikely to be challenging the PS4 and Xbox One - or their successors - in terms of processing power, it's fair to say that Atari's closest competitor may well end up being Nintendo.
However, judging from the responses given by Artz, it seems likely that Atari doesn't even have a functioning prototype yet and is essentially using the crowdfunding campaign to raise the capital required to begin work in earnest - a very dangerous strategy, but one that appears to be working. There's a week left on Atari's VCS Indiegogo campaign and it has raised a whopping $2,921,382 at the time of writing - its initial goal was a modest $100,000. That's a handsome sum of cash, but is it enough to create, manufacture and promote a new piece of gaming hardware? We're not so sure.
Can the modern-day Atari possibly deliver on its promises? Or will the VCS turn out to be little more than vapourware, much like one of Atari's previous crowdfunded efforts, the troubled Gameband? Let us know what you think - and if you believe Nintendo should be worried about this potential rival - by posting a comment.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Fri 22nd June, 2018.
[source theregister.co.uk, via theregister.co.uk]
Well, good luck.
It was proved the thing is a scam a few weeks ago, also I heard it’s being made by the same guy as the Atari watch. Just don’t fall prey to these scams, why people still trust crowdfunding is beyond me.
I’ve gone back and forth in my mind whether or not I should join the funding campaign, but this pretty solidly helped me decide to hold off.
People are idiots if they still think this empty box would be anything.
Just as I expected. Everything Atari does is just a big scam. The new Roller Coaster Tycoon (for Switch) will be too, just as the new PC version was. Atari is a very evil organisation.
Honestly this project has stunk since it was first announced and the smell isn’t getting any better. Atari is dead, this is just a vulture animating it’s corpse.
The sad thing is it raised 2 million in like 2 to 3 days. Funding has leveled off as Atari has come under fire this past month for many things. Some even think Atari put a million on their own campaign to hype interest.
I always love a good vaporware story.
I don’t trust crowdfunding. I just don’t. As cool as some ideas are, and as genuine as some products are, and as successful some things can be, it’s hard to tell who’s legit and who’s not.
Genuine entrepreneurs who use crowdfunding platforms probably hate consumer practices like mine, where I wait for something to actually get crowdfunded before buying it (for example, Tadpole Treble for the Wii U by Matthew Taranto).
So I guess you should only crowdfund people you trust, is what I’m getting at.
I love the idea of a micro console, but I think the Nintendo Classics series and Neo Geo Mini are the closest we will get for now. I would have loved to see the Ouya succeed (or even the Atari VCS appear), but I don't think there is a chance for that.
This kind of crowdfunding is such a bad idea. If something has a working prototype and needs funding for a full manufacturing run then fine. But funding something that amounts to just an idea is simply unsafe.
Eh I might get one if it turns out to be a real product and is decent otherwise. The price is steep though for what they're describing so far, so I'll personally need some convincing.
its a con people they arent atari just bought the name. remember the rollercoaster switch con fiasco. just look a spectrum vega on indiconcon to see what a fffffffffff disaster this is., bunch con men trying cash in on atari name no console will ever see the light day this is cameleon mk2
It could crowdfund $4million, doesn't matter if they don't deliver on the product. With the suggested release date, them lying about everything from hardware capability to an interview, and using Trumpisms (Sad), this is going to be a hilarious trainwreck.
The keyword for this KS campaign will be: Refund
The whole thing is a scam
Yep, it's probably a scam. But I like the design))
My issue with it is that I can't see why anybody would have paid to back the thing anyway. They've been SO ridiculously shady about the product since it was announced. No specs. No game list. No price (until very recently.) No launch date. Until very recently, nobody even had any idea whether it's supposed to be JUST a console to play old-school Atari games, or if it's a media box that happens to play Atari games.
Now it turns out that it's essentially a Linux box that will play some emulated Atari games, and whatever else they can manage to force it to run. Oh, and it'll play movies. Because they somehow think that's a USP in today's market where most people own 894 devices that can play movies.
Yet people are throwing money at it. Raspberry Pi 3 plus an 8bitdo controller will play the full Atari library (plus tons more), set you back £80, and you can have it delivered tomorrow. But no, they'll just pony up the extra £100 and wait for never. Then complain loudly about how they never ever imagined that they'd get ripped off.
All but accused the reporter of fake news and ended the post with "Sad."
This company seems very unhinged.
I figured this thing would crash and burn, but I didn’t expect it to be this bad.
@Alikan Actually, they've recently accused several YouTubers of "fake news" because they made similar critical videos. I'm guessing they'll soon lash out at NL for making "fake news".
Said it from jump: this is a terrible idea and will crash and burn. Not sure who they think this will appeal to?
I really can't believe how shady this all seems and that people are willing to plunk down $300 to preorder a console that doesn't have a definitive release date or even any confirmed titles. This simply cannot end well.
Whatever about crowdfunding, this is destined to be the next Ouya. It'll bomb once all the hardcore hardware folks pic one up.
Errrm Ouya made it to retail, it delivered all its kickstarter quota, OK it didn't set the world alight, it was underpowered and nobody was ready for an android box but it did pave the way for the likes of nvidia with the shield tv.
Atari on the other hand don't have squat
Seems like the "new" Atari is capturing a lot of failed thinking that ended the "old" Atari
I just cancelled my contribution. If it ever makes it to retail...then I'll pick it up
Maybe it`s not a scam, maybe they are just that incompetent. I would`ve liked to see a new Atari console. It`s a shame either way...
@Jop This is the same Atari who created the Alone in the Dark reboot, Roller Coaster Tycoon World, Roller Coaster Tycoon IV Mobile, and the Haunted House reboot. Stop pretending it’s a different company.
By the time this thing release the Nintendo Switch would had already got big in the console, mobile, handheld, and retro market making this thing completely obsolete. It's open source so that would kill it from day one as being open source means it could easily be hack and games could easily be acquired for free thus developers who jump on board won't be able to make money on it and if no games would sell no customers would support or buy this thing thus ending the same demise the Ouya did. All I could say is good luck Atari you already got close to $3 million from a bunch of believers now you gotta deliver the product or else you'll be the joke of next year. I'm not trolling you to fail nor I am accusing you of being a scammer but I do expect to hear more about the console as the campaign closes.
I get the nostalgia, but even if it's for real it's not competitive on the pricing.
I was really interested in this strictly due to nostalgia and was close to hopping on board a couple times. Really glad I didn't, and I genuinely hope that folks that want their money back get it back... and then the company tanks. Truly is a despicable response to The Register's article.
It's not that same Atari, and it definitely isn't the same Atari that created the original VCS. Read throught he acquisitions part of the wiki... it's a bit confusing/convoluted.
I very nearly backed this but thankfully I saw sense if this article is anything to go by . The thing that annoyed me was that even though I could get a special deal for signing up early when u factor in the shipping , vat and import charges to the uk it meant there was no saving basically . Also I think alarm bells should always be ringing when a company is so vague about the end product. I genuinely like the idea but this seems unlikely to either get off the ground or of it does more than likely will sink quickly as there will probably be very little support for it . I would love to be proved wrong !
As an American, I'm sick of the word "sad" being used as an apparent exclamation point at the end of personal statements responding to unfavorable media coverage of a person or organization.
Ever hear of desensitization? Yea, well, that's happened to me and I'm sure many others. Doesn't have the effect you people think it does, anymore.
Get the Retron 77 people. Avoid this emulator box dressed in expensive clothes.
@BraveBiT That won't work here though, this is from Indiegogo, not Kickstarter. Atari may never deliver the product and could still get away with all those money. At least with the Ouya they actually did took a risk and start with Kickstarter but in the end failed due to financial burden and lack of sales for the product.
@Darknyht Ouya failed cause they don't understand competition or their position in the market. They make a box that is too user friendly, very easily hackable, and open source with games having free-to-play options in them thus most of their audience simply just play the games once and never touch them ever again or just play free roms through emulators.
This means that there's literally no purchase to be made at all and when the money aren't coming, developers who put their games there won't see any royalty thus persuading them to move away from the platform (Square Enix only released one game for the Ouya and Sega only released 3, after not seeing sales result they just do not want to bother with it anymore). With no major developers on the platform it doesn't attract consumers so the console end up having little dev and consumer support which eventually contribute to its demise.
Pre-order an Atari VCS today, receive a copy of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial ABSOLUTELY FREE! (Limited quantities available, first come first serve, no refunds or exchanges, some exclusions apply, excavation equipment sold separately.)
Honestly, can the situation GET any more Atari than this? Lets bring Nolan back, make it count. We can complete the cycle of suck once more!
$250 for a Linux based Atari? You can get an XBox One S for cheaper than that, new, on sale. Heck, you can get a WiiU....it's still a better value. And unlike this, it actually exists!
> VCS will cost around $250
Well there's your problem... This alone says to me they have no idea what they're making or for what audience.
I thought the announcement of the Atari V.C.S. was weird but now...
This is nothing more than a nostalgic cash grab. Anyone foolish enough to pay hundreds of dollars up front for this console is going to get exactly what they deserve.
I did 1 Kickstarter Project.
I have yet to receive the game I backed but... they're now selling it on best buy. So the A-holes got enough money to ship and print copies to retailers but backers are still waiting...
What’s the largest sum of money people have lost on crowd funding?
I’m amazed it’s a thing.
If like someone else said - it’s for a completed thing and it’s just to simply pay for production all good.
Otherwise your just paying someone to muck about and see if anything sticks.
I believe if you have an idea and want to get it to market you have to invest yourself (and not just your time) and make the project viable first - if you don’t you just won’t have the same passion to see it through.
I listened to the entire 30min interview. The interviewer was not trolling in any sense what so ever. He asked very simple and basic questions that the CEO Mike could not answer. It was actually very comical to hear Mike dip and dodge almost ever question and overall just sound ignorant of his own product. How are you managing a project you know nothing about? The people who back this project are idiots. Seriously. $3 million for an barely put together idea and prototype with not even working buttons. I am going to laugh a lot once they don't deliver.
Honestly, even if it was a retro play, I don’t think I’d be interested. I’ve been fortunate enough to live through every generation of gaming, and while the VCS (2600) introduces me to gaming, it was the Nintendo that made me love it. Atari games are just not that great to play now.
Looks like the atari execs have their Christmas party paid for.
@Yorumi yeah I was just going to make that comparison. If you don't even have a real basic prototype you probably have nothing and aren't ready to make a console.
Everyone makes fun of the Ouya but it actually delivered it's product and started a small trend of micronsoles. Was the first steps of android on TV. Plus some good devs like the creators of towerfall got their start on Ouya.
I understand Mighty Number Nine is a launch title.
Atari died a long time ago. This nostalgia-filled, cash-grab of a company doesn’t deserve your money.
@Jop that's factually inaccurate. That was microprose. "Atari" is a brand custodian and employs no full time developers or engineers. This is public information.
I wouldn't defend them if I were you, they don't deserve it. They're coasting on their name, which is the only reason that have any backers on IndieGogo at all.
Don't spread misinformation.
"Let us know what you think - and if you believe Nintendo should be worried about this potential rival..."
I think Nintendo can rest easy.
If it was just a high quality Atari emulation machine, offering say arcade games, Atari 2600, 5200, and 7800 games, I would have been completely fine with it. I would however ask for joystick and paddle controllers and the wood finish version to be much cheaper then $300+. As a "modern console" designed to play "modern games and compete with MS, Sony, and Nintendo," I call bull.
The kickstarter has proven there is a hungry market for a device with this kind of nostalgic power, so gaining additional investments and/or loans should be pretty easy. Those backers didn't know the specifics when they handed the money over, and as much as this information will scare some people, Atari can pretty much just launch a me-too console with their own properties on it.
My thing is, I just want a spinner for some games like Blasteroids and Tempest. This isn't going to it.
Man this just keeps getting worse and worse. I was absolutely floored when I read they raised that amount of money. This thing had red flags all over the place and the fact that people so willingly threw money at it was shocking. Honestly hard to feel sorry for those that backed it.
So it can play crappy Atari games and 4K video....that means it's no more powerful than a cheap chinese media player box.
Seriously, there just isn't a market for this.
Should have stuck to t-shirts.
I'll sell all my Nintendo stuff and put the money in this project.
“Atari - not the Atari of your dad's generation but the new Atari”... yes, thanks for making me feel old. 🙄
@Nintendzoey yea right?? 😂
I don’t know why anyone here is so surprised that so much money has been raised! We’re talking about Atari...once a Titan of the arcades..a beast in the home console and pc market...a game and hardware dev lab loaded with geniuses...once the fastest growing company in American history...a company that had millions & millions of loyal fans like Nintendo does today....guess what? That loyalty still prevails just on the power of the name Atari alone!! Cmon guys read up on Atari. The worst thing that happened to Atari was NOT E.T. Like everyone thinks but was Bushnell selling his Atari company to Warner Bros who had no clue what the hell to do with Atari!! Nolan still regrets selling it today!!
Absolutely nothing to worry about for any of the gaming companies. Atari has been very unprofessional during this entire process. I have been following with interest but no longer have any interest as they have been stupidly secret. Then they jump out every six months and say hey look at this video of our mock up. It's been a terrible campaign and just gets worse. I was interested but decided it looked like it was going to be a scam. It's due out in June 2019. They should be showing some titles. They met their crowdfunding yet no news comes to those who funded. That's terrible.
@joey302 There is an excellent history of Atari video on YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. It gives an excellent view of what happened and has alot of Bushnell being interviewed. Atari could have been Apple if they played it right. Of course they didn't. Funny thing is Steve Jobs once worked at Atari. I could go on and on. Checkout the video it's a great watch. https://youtu.be/tOUxetHEn6Y sorry I don't Know how to post videos in my messages. This videos is very long an hour and a half so get some popcorn.
Ah, the same Atari that sued a website for writing a negative review of Alone in the Dark.
I used to admire the original Atari, but these guys are clearly just a joke. DO NOT buy their games or their hardware; Atari deserves to go bankrupt and stay dead.
This is like the stupidest thing ever. As a kid who grew up in the 80's and had a 2600 and a 5200 at the time and it was always crap. Most Atari games have very little content, and most you get bored of after 5 minutes. The only thing cool about the Atari was the paddle controller, because you got good accuracy, and it was something different, but, that's not even included here.
If it was the old Atari, or the new Atari, it really shouldn't make any difference to anybody. Those games didn't age well when they were released, I don't know what anybody is expecting now.
@Windy well thanks I appreciate that! I’ll check it out and see if I’ve seen it as I’ve watched countless videos and docs on Atari! Popcorn will be ready. And don’t feel bad ...I can’t post pictures, videos or hell even my picture/avatar next to my name. Just don’t know how lol
Infogrames still looking to mine that retro gold.
While seemingly still knowing as little as ever about what makes gamers tick.
With the complete lack of interest in this console, and the blatant lack of basic details or strategy, I find the amount of money it raised so quickly... inexplicable.
Who even cares about Atari? Intellivision: The closest thing to the real thing.
Weird question at the end of the article. Nintendo shouldn't be concerned at all, seeing as how all they need to do is focus on their own products and ensure top quality. They already have a massive consumer base, who will choose Nintendo as long as the quality is there. That, and the Atari isn't even comparable to the Switch as it has no portable mode.
This isn't going to end well
I was excited almost a decade ago when Atari came out with a new "Yars Revenge" and another title, updated for current gen. Then I saw them, and they were hot garbage. I played like two minutes of the Demo, and then uninstalled it. Same will happen with this new creation. I do like my Atari Flashback, though.
Did anyone back the Enkko64 Kickstarter campaign, new quality sticks for the Nintendo 64 controller? From what I understand, the creator disappeared, and no one knows what happened.
@retro_player_22 I did not know that, well good luck to those backers then lol. Once the campaign closes, Atari will be running to the bank so fast
these people should have known atari's history. its all but bla bla bla.
atari could never build great machines.
even their atari ST was horrible and over-expensive. the jaquar was alsi an example of scam, bragging about 64bit power before release, but did not even looked as nice as the super nintendo, it only had 16 million colors thats it. and that joypad man.....
the company leans on the a2600 era, wich should have been expanded, if these guys had the patiance to work on a decent predeccesor, instead of making small updates of a2600 hardware. they almost killed the industry, if it was'nt for nintendo.
@PALversusNTSC very true. Atari to me was always "the console before I got my first Nintendo" and little else. They never gave me a reason to look back.
Shame because this new console is pretty. Then again, so are a lot of concept art on Deviantart. Even the Joyboy looks cute (if impractical).
@Lumine me too
One thing is for sure. Today's Atari is not the Atari of yesteryear and will never be again. That's to bad.
Tap here to load 77 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...