Slightly Mad game studios says it is building the most powerful console ever

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

UK-based Slightly Mad Studios, developer of the Project Cars games and Need for Speed: Shift, made the announcement through CEO Ian Bell via Twitter. He told Ars Technica that the Mad Box is expected to launch in “three-plus years,” and cost a “standard plus next-gen price.”

“It will support most major VR headsets and those upcoming and the specs will be equivalent to a ‘very fast PC 2 years from now’,” Bell told Variety. “We’re in early talks with manufacturers of components so we can’t say much more right now other than we have the designs specced out in detail.”

While virtual reality still hasn’t become the worldwide phenomenon some expected, Bell says the Mad Box will have a focus on VR. After some confusion, he said the console would enable 60fps per eye in VR, making a total of 120fps. He also said that “No one is running at 180fps.” When people noted that both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift both have 90Hz refresh rates for each eye, Bell added that existing consoles couldn’t render 180fps content for VR headsets "with any sort of next-generation detail" but that the Mad Box will.

Bell also said the company will be offering a free, cross-platform development engine for devs to create games on the Mad Box, and mentioned that it was in talks with vendors about wireless VR headsets.

Not much else was revealed about the Mad Box, though Bell did say images of early design builds will be coming in four to six weeks. We’ll have to wait a few years to see if the console ever makes it to market, and if it does, whether its success is more Steam Machine than Nintendo Switch.

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ET3D

TechSpot Paladin
I don't believe in magic. Now, it's entire possible that they'd do what they're saying, in the sense that in 2022 hardware will be better than in 2020, and it will be possible to produce a faster console for around the price of 2020 ones. However, it's hard for me to imagine a $500 console being the equivalent of 'a very fast PC', unless of course said PC is also in the same price range.
 
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m4a4

TS Evangelist
I don't know who their aiming for, but I have a feeling that if they expect mass appeal (or making a profit off of selling the hardware), they're going to fail hard.

It sounds like it will be around $1000 minimum (a decent 60fps VR ready GPU isn't cheap today, and a CPU to keep up won't be cheap either) if they don't want too big of a loss. Or they're saying those fancy terms in a "technically you could have VR reach 60fps, but your game is going to look low quality".
It won't really appeal to high-end gamers, because we'll be spending that money on high-end PC's.
It won't appeal to casual gamers, because they either have mobile, or they have $200-400 consoles.
It might appeal to the in-between, but they also have the option to get a higher-end console (like the Xbox One X, or PS4 Pro), or a lower end gaming PC (which will be able to do so much more).

So, besides being gimmicky, what does it actually have going for it that'll make it sell?
 
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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
While it all sounds wonderful, three years from now it will be three years out of date and our experience with any of these proprietary applications is they are very expensive and rarely work flawlessly (Remember the NEXT project that Jobs tried to sell). I for one do now cherish the idea of an all in one solution but prefer to make my own. Part of it just enjoying the effort but also the ability to customize it to my liking ....
 

kevbev89

TS Maniac
I don't know who their aiming for, but I have a feeling that if they expect mass appeal (or making a profit off of selling the hardware), they're going to fail hard.

It sounds like it will be around $1000 minimum (a decent 60fps VR ready GPU isn't cheap today, and a CPU to keep up won't be cheap either) if they don't want too big of a loss. Or they're saying those fancy terms in a "technically you could have VR reach 60fps, but your game is going to look low quality".
It won't really appeal to high-end gamers, because we'll be spending that money on high-end PC's.
It won't appeal to casual gamers, because they either have mobile, or they have $200-400 consoles.
It might appeal to the in-between, but they also have the option to get a higher-end console (like the Xbox One X, or PS4 Pro), or a lower end gaming PC (which will be able to do so much more).

So, besides being gimmicky, what does it actually have going for it that'll make it sell?
They'll also need a kick-*** launch title to really draw people in...
 

Mighty Duck

TS Addict
I could believe in them, but they are not Valve. And not even Valve could pull something like this. If it succeds, then cool, but I sincerely hope this venture doesn't bring down the whole company.
 

Gus Fring

TS Member
Its a £2000 dev station .. hence the inclusion of a cross platform dev engine . They probably have a few in-house already
 

Skjorn

TS Maniac
Since when does 60fps in one eye and 60fps in my other eye equal total 120fps? Didn't Nvidia fix that with Pascal?
 

James00007

TS Booster
I don't know who their aiming for, but I have a feeling that if they expect mass appeal (or making a profit off of selling the hardware), they're going to fail hard.

It sounds like it will be around $1000 minimum (a decent 60fps VR ready GPU isn't cheap today, and a CPU to keep up won't be cheap either) if they don't want too big of a loss. Or they're saying those fancy terms in a "technically you could have VR reach 60fps, but your game is going to look low quality".
It won't really appeal to high-end gamers, because we'll be spending that money on high-end PC's.
It won't appeal to casual gamers, because they either have mobile, or they have $200-400 consoles.
It might appeal to the in-between, but they also have the option to get a higher-end console (like the Xbox One X, or PS4 Pro), or a lower end gaming PC (which will be able to do so much more).

So, besides being gimmicky, what does it actually have going for it that'll make it sell?
It's called the Mad Box for a reason.