Atari VCS pre-orders go live on Indiegogo and it's a hit

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Pre-orders for Atari’s retro-inspired game console, the Atari VCS, went live earlier today on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. The console, which starts at $199, seemed like a tough sell – especially considering it isn’t scheduled to ship until the summer of 2019 yet surprisingly enough, it’s doing rather well thus far.

As of writing, the Atari VCS campaign has raised more than $1.75 million in funding from nearly 6,700 backers. With a full month remaining and Atari having already smashed its original goal of just $100,000, the future is looking bright in the eyes of retro gaming fans.

Exactly what the Atari VCS is – and isn’t – is still somewhat of a mystery. Atari has said the machine will be able to play classics arcade games through the Atari Vault collection but it’ll offer much more than a simple stroll down memory lane.

Powered by an AMD Bristol Ridge processor and Radeon R7 graphics alongside 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, the machine will be able to push 4K HDR visuals at 60 frames per second and play “the latest modern and indie PC titles” from a variety of developers. With Internet connectivity, it’ll also serve as a streaming set-top box for the living room and a web browser.

Some have considered the Atari VCS to be little more than vaporware and it’s easy to see how they would get that impression. Even today with the launch of pre-orders, we’re still more than a year away from a product launch from a company whose claim to fame came decades ago. Atari announced multiple indie development partners as part of the campaign launch but without some heavy-hitters or tantalizing exclusives, is that really saying a lot?

Hopefully I’m wrong but for now, color me skeptical. Your thoughts?

PS: the base model for $199 doesn't include a gamepad or joystick - what's up with that?

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Axle Grease

TS Addict
With 30+ years of growing expectations of what games should be like, I can see buyers rapidly getting bored of playing the classic games. It will have to compete against the Nintendo Switch for any new games under development. It'll get stuffed on a shelf or in a drawer and gather dust.
 
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Puiu

TS Evangelist
I think the reason people are buying it is because of how good it looks in that video :D
 

Bubbajim

TechSpot Staff
Staff member
So the base console doesn't come with a controller? Wut. And then this:

Radeon R7 graphics alongside 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, the machine will be able to push 4K HDR graphics at 60 frames per second
Can anyone think of any AMD card under the R7 branding that can handle HDR 4k at 60fps?

Everything about this announcement smells strongly of bullcrap.
 

Mighty Duck

TS Addict
The terms "4GB of RAM" and "able to push 4K HDR graphics at 60 frames per second" used in the same sentence do not compute. Not for modern games, and not for 3D indie games that run on Unity (those games usually have performance issues). I don't mind it if this machine is a little underpowered, but at least don't try to fool people into thinking otherwise.
 
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JackTheBear

TS Rookie
The terms "4GB of RAM" and "able to push 4K HDR graphics at 60 frames per second" used in the same sentence do not compute. Not for modern games, and not for 3D indie games that run on Unity (those games usually have performance issues). I don't mind it if this machine is a little underpowered, but at least don't try to fool people into thinking otherwise.
I think they mean 4k HDR media playback at 60fps, so you can watch Netflix in 4k with HDR, etc., not 4k gaming in HDR.
 

mcborge

TS Guru
With Intellivision also comming back with a new console. I wonder how it will compare to this Atari.
 

Mighty Duck

TS Addict
I think they mean 4k HDR media playback at 60fps, so you can watch Netflix in 4k with HDR, etc., not 4k gaming in HDR.
Yeah, it could be read that way. But still, that paragraph is a little misleading. This is sounding more like a Media Center that can play some games.