The ‘New’ Atari Is More PC Than Retro Gaming System

Don't call it a console

May 30, 2018 9:00 am

The mysterious Atari VCS, initially announced back in April with little detail, finally debuted on Indiegogo on Wednesday. Within hours, the revived gaming system had raised three-quarters of a million dollars.

But what are people getting for their money, besides maybe a chance to replay the world’s worst Pac-Man adaptation?

“It’s not really a console,” Atari COO of Connected Devices Michael Arzt tells Forbes. And the company actually goes out of its way to eschew comparisons to an Xbox or PlayStation. They prefer that you  consider the VCS more like a streaming hub that can play old and new content, all while staying open to tinkering and innovation from developers and hobbyists.

Built on Linux, the system can run Linux OS-supported apps and Steam games, as well as 100 preloaded “classic” Atari titles (now with online multiplayer capabilities) and PC titles from independent developers. The VCS features an optional voice control, integrated web browser and, for a few bucks more, two controllers (one classic, one modern). It’s also compatible with smart home apps and “most” PC peripherals.

So we’re glad this isn’t just an endless retread. The key for Atari now is to prove that there’s an actual need for yet another gaming machine (we didn’t say console) in your living room.

Starting at $199 (without controllers), the Atari VCS ships in July 2019.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.