Atari’s upcoming video game console, the Atari VCS, is now available for pre-order.
With a release date slated for mid-2019, the once-legendary developer and publisher is looking to re-establish itself in the hardware space with a retro-inspired platform capable of playing both classic and modern games, with the promise of online capability and support for 4K resolution.
After launching a curious campaign on Indiegogo to fundraise for development of the console last year, Atari has now raised around 15 times its $100,000 target. You can see the full list of specs at the Indiegogo page (opens in new tab).
So, what do I get?
The design and branding are reminiscent of the Atari 2600, the 1977 console credited with popularizing the use of game cartridges. Originally named the Atari VCS before a rebranding in 1982, the console was a sizeable mainstream success, and came to be seen as a mainstay of the video gaming industry at large.
There are two Atari VCS models now available for pre-order, with the standard Onyx version taking orders at $199, and a classier Day One Collector’s Edition (with a genuine wood front) coming in at $299. Both are marked as on sale for a limited time only.
They should be compatible with a wide range of peripherals and controllers, though anyone placing an order should receive a “re-imagined Classic Joystick” alongside a more contemporary “Modern Controller”, Atari says in a press release.
The console also differs from modern rivals by running on a custom Linux operating system, which apparently will allow users to add and customize their own software in some regard.
Other details are thin on the ground, which makes it impossible to gauge the VCS’s potential draw. Nostalgia is big business, however, and Atari seems to be betting on its ability to appeal to the generation of gamers who grew up with an earlier Atari console.