Atari used to be a household name way back in the ’80s, and the company — or at least the new holders of the Atari brand — intend to put the console’s old-school magic into the hands of gamers today.
However, delays to the console’s release have cast doubts on whether it’ll ever come out. Originally slated for release in 2018, the console was pushed back to Spring 2019 — a release window that has since come and gone. It’s now set for release in late 2019. The delays haven’t been without cause, as the company revealed last week that they’ve come up with a new production prototype that’s replete with the latest technology AMD has to offer.
Unlike previous efforts to deliver games in a small-form-factor like the Ouya, the Atari VCS is designed to offer more than a few simple indie games. Designed to play retro as well as modern games, the Atari VCS is built on open source Linux OS and intended to give gamers the power to customize their own home entertainment system with their own software and apps, in addition to a tentative library of new and classic games available for streaming.
Given the relative ubiquity of the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, it’s hard to see how well the Atari VCS will be able to find its niche — but Atari managed to find success on IndieGogo, raising upwards of $3 million dollars for the device.
The company revealed that it’s in the midst of upgrading the console’s hardware specs with new Radeon Vega-based graphics architecture and two Zen CPU cores from AMD, putting it on par with its mainstream console rivals from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.
“While additional specifications about the new AMD processor will be announced closer to launch, be assured that the new AMD Ryzen processor is a much better fit for this project in multiple ways and will further enable the Atari VCS to deliver on its promise to be a unique and highly flexible platform for creators,” wrote the company in a blog post.
It’s still too early to say whether Atari can make a dent in the already oversaturated marketplace, but anyone participating in the homebrewed gaming scene will want to keep their eye out on more information about the VCS in the coming months ahead of its late 2019 release date — assuming it ever does comes out.
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