After delays and bouts of radio silence, the long-awaited Atari VCS console will be available to the general public on June 15th, 2021. Please clap…
We saw the announcement over at ComingSoon.net. The system will launch with two SKUs. One is $299 and comes with only the console—the $400 model ships with both the retro controller and the more modern XBOX-esque gamepad.
Each console will come with a large library of classic Atari arcade and 2800 titles while also featuring an optional paid subscription to AntSteam. This service allows browse and play games from a massive library. The titles range from retro console titles to arcade titles to classic PC games. AntStream is also available for PC, Mac, Android, Amazon, GooglePlay, and Linux.
The early adopters, aka the backers, who received the consoles a couple of months ago didn’t seem overly impressed. This was partially due to the system’s underperformance when pitted against last gen consoles and the serious lack of games outside of classics and AntStream.
If you haven’t heard much about this system since it blew through the original crowdfunding goal years ago, that’s not too surprising. Unlike Sony and Microsoft, Atari is only a shell of its former self.
The name is more or less branding. It no longer commands the respect it once had in the early 1980s and late 1970s. Not to mention, companies that licensed the Atari brand have a very spotty track record of keeping the retro icon’s name clear of controversy. Does anyone remember the Atari Gameband? Click here to see that mess.
I may be overly negative, but I have a good reason. I make a living analyzing potential risks involved with new technology, primarily on an integration level. I see demos of new tech all the time, and researching the company behind those innovations is part of the job.
When I see weirdness and conflicting info in the specs or marketing, red flags instantly go off. There was a lot of that during the Atari VCS’s development.
So, before you decide to drop $299 or $400 on this console, please do some research. Whether you look up reviews of the backers’ consoles or dig deeper into the quirks of the Kickstarter campaign, there is a lot to consider before parting with your money.
Luckily the campaign didn’t “cut n’ run” as Stop Drop Retro thought; it does look like it is fumbling and stumbling out of the gate. Maybe Atari can capitalize on the scarcity of the XBOX Series X and PS5? We’ll see.
The VCS in both the bare bones, and two-controller version will be available via the official website, Best Buy, and GameStop.
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