The company currently known as Atari has announced pricing and retail availability for the Atari VCS games console, which has already raised more than $4 million in crowdfunding and which has yet to be delivered to customers.
Originally known as the Ataribox and designed to evoke nostalgia for those who remember the Atari Video Computer System's 'Woody' design, which would later become the Atari 2600, the company currently wearing Atari's name confirmed that its effort to break into the console market was based on PC hardware back in September 2017 - much like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One families, which are both based on semi-custom AMD processors. The launch of a crowdfunding campaign for the device was delayed by an unspecified key issue, and while it would be rebranded to the Atari VCS in March 2018 the campaign wouldn't get underway until late May 2018.
Once launched, though, the Atari VCS crowdfunding campaign proved popular: The device quickly broke through its funding goal and has now raised more than $4 million, originally on the promise that backers would receive hardware early this year. In traditional crowdfunding style, though, the project was hit by a delay - though one which has seen its specifications considerably upgraded. By the time the team had reworked the design to make manufacturing simpler, it was scheduled to launch by year's end - a schedule Atari claims it can still keep.
During the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) this week, Atari announced its roadmap for retail availability: After the Atari VCS reaches crowdfunding backers by the end of the year, the Atari VCS will launch at retail through partnerships with Walmart and GameStop.com with the first shipments due in March 2020. Pricing for the retail models sits at $249.99 for the entry-level Atari VCS 400 Onyx 4GB and tops out at $389.99 for the Atari VCS 800 8GB All-In Bundle packs (around £197 and £308 respectively, excluding taxes.)
'Atari made a commitment to its fans to make the new VCS the best and most versatile game and home entertainment platform it can be, with a wide array of options,' claims Atari CEO Frédéric Chesnais. 'After so many months of working on defining and refining the products, and after the strong initial support of our thousands of original Indiegogo backers, we are excited to finally and officially announce our product launch configurations, first key retail partnerships and the launch of the online presale that will put the VCS into the hands of America’s gamers.'
International availability and pricing has yet to be confirmed. The company has, however, showcased its software dashboard and what it describes as 'Atari Sandbox Mode,' which allows third-party software to be installed on and run on the console's Linux-based operating system.
October 18 2019 | 17:00