Atari VCS
Image: Atari

Atari is one of the most famous names in the video game business, even if the brand itself has changed hands many times over the decades.

The company is currently undergoing something of a revival thanks to the efforts of chairman and CEO Wade Rosen, who came on board in 2021 – the same year that Atari relaunched its VCS system as a Linux-based "computer in a box" complete with streaming services and compatibility with games developed for Windows.

The crowdfunded system endured a rather torrid route to market, and in 2022, Atari was forced to admit that it had been a commercial flop.

While Atari remains committed to the platform in terms of firmware updates and software, Rosen has admitted that, had be been in charge when the VCS was being pitched, it probably wouldn't have made it to market.

Speaking to Time Extension in a new interview, Rosen said:

So the VCS is a great case study of something that is probably a little outside of what we would go towards today. It had been in the works for quite a few years when I stepped in. And it had been released shortly before I came on board.

So, while it’s probably not what we would design or put out today, we still wanted to make sure that we continued to support the people who supported us with that. So we’ve continued to invest in firmware updates for the platform, we have new content coming out for it all of the time.

Rosen gives the VCS title Neo Sprint as an example of how Atari remains committed to supporting the VCS' audience, even if it's smaller than it would like it to be:

If you’re playing Neo Sprint and you provide feedback to us, we’re reading it and we’re responding to it and taking it into consideration. We’ve also started using it as a platform to put out some of our games to understand what’s resonating and what’s not, and tap into our dedicated community. And also, it’s started to take on more of a retro focus as well. So that’s how we will continue to support the VCS, with our own content and as a direct means to tap into a passionate community.

It's also noted that Atari will seek to leverage its relationship with Polymega maker Playmaji in the future, which we would assume means having the Polymega app on the VCS. "We’re also hoping that our partnership with Polymega will continue to unlock functionality with the VCS too. So more to follow on that this year," says Rosen.

The Atari VCS remains on sale, costing $239 for the 'base' bundle and $299 for the 'all in' bundle. It is not to be confused with the Atari 2600+, which is a recreation of the original '70/'80s system, made in collaboration with Plaion.

[source News: Interview: "Underpromising & Overdelivering" - Atari CEO Wade Rosen Talks Winning Back Trust]