You can order Atari's new retro console on May 30 ... but it won’t ship until 2019

Since the Atari VCS was announced (and then known as the Ataribox), we've had a lot of questions about it. While many remain unanswered, the start date for preorders has now been announced by Atari: May 30. 

Just how much is Atari expecting you to fork over for its retro console? Well, you'll be able to find the Atari VCS on sale at Indiegogo with packages starting at $199, which converts to about $145 or AU$265.

Packages? Plural? Atari has confirmed a few different packages, including an Atari VCS Collector's Edition with a retro wood front and an Onyx version in all-black. Atari will also have packages that bundle in a 'Classic Joystick' or 'Modern Controller' at what will likely be higher prices.

Now comes the bad news: despite what has already been a long wait since the announcement of this product, orders aren't expected to ship until spring 2019 (that's in the US, so March-May).

Speak up before taking my money

Beyond the dates, new details on the Atari VCS remain sparse. 

A press release says the console will run on a custom but unspecified AMD processor with Radeon graphics. It will also support 4K, HDR, and 60fps content (note: this should not be confused for gaming at 60fps in 4K HDR). It will include expandable on-board storage, and support connectivity via dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, and USB 3.0, all of which will be hooked into a proprietary version of Linux that has a custom Atari interface.

The Atari VCS will include access to 100 classic games in the Atari Vault, but whether it will be able to handle more current titles is up in the air. 

From out hands-on experience with the Atari VCS, it seems unlikely that the console will come close in performance to an Xbox One S or PS4 despite having a similar price. Think of this one as more of a collectors item than Atari's attempt to re-enter the console market proper.

Mark Knapp

Over the last several years, Mark has been tasked as a writer, an editor, and a manager, interacting with published content from all angles. He is intimately familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, past publishing, and down the road into performance analysis.