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It seems the Atari VCS team are burning bridges before they're even built, as they accused the well respected tech news site The Register of professional trolling.

A user on Facebook sent Atari a link to this article by El Reg that basically savaged the Atari VCS. I'm surprised I missed that article, so I've done a little catching up this morning reading everything through.

Here's what Atari said in reply:

We honestly can't explain that article either. Our executives sat with that reporter for half an hour and he wrote what he wanted instead of what was discussed with him. Sadly there are even irresponsible trolls in "professional" positions i guess. We clearly said that we were bringing engineering design models to GDC and lots of people clearly don't understand what that means. Hunks of plastic? Well, yeah, that's how you finalize the designs and confirm that you can get the look and feel you want for the finished products. Sad.

The article author who wrote the original piece on El Reg himself replied, which was a little amusing:

 "He wrote what he wanted rather then what was discussed..." Oh dear. You must have forgotten that I recorded the interview. Will see if my editor is interested in a follow up given your accusations. 

And now we have a fresh article out, with the full interview and it shows up Michael Arzt from Atari pretty badly. He seems to dodge questions pretty poorly too, like the case of when they announced a date and then on that date they officially paused it giving no actual details as to why. The guy from El Reg rightyfully said, that usually when such a thing happens (which is incredibly rare) the company will say why they're doing so. Arzt then starts talking about NASA and just making no actual sense, some tiny game box is in no way anything like a rocket launch, that's just ridiculous.

Honestly, the whole interview is a bit of a farce, Arzt is repeatedly dodging questions and now they're trying to paint a respected tech site (one I personally read) as the bad guy…you couldn't make this up. Well, you could, but reality is far more entertaining in this case as the recordings show.

It's a shame, as I wanted it to be success considering it could have been an interesting Linux gaming device. I mean, it still could be, but that interview just shows how badly Atari have been handling it. 

Their IndieGoGo is doing well, with it hitting nearly $3 million in pre-orders. Considering it won't even ship until around Spring next year and they're still going through prototypes right now, there's no way I would back their crowdfunding, especially not after how they've made themselves out to be with stuff like this.

I still find it odd how their official website features three quotes from seemingly random nobody's, I thought they would have replaced those quotes by now with more real people, but given this interview perhaps they've found that a bit difficult…

We will possibly cover it next year, once it's actually out to see if it was worth all the fuss.

What are your thoughts?

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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48 comments
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GustyGhost 22 Jun, 2018
wvstolzingWasn't there also a minor controversy before this one, that they 'demonstrated' games on the system which they actually ran on a windows pc behind the scenes?

That is pretty much par for the course for running console demos.

wvstolzing 22 Jun, 2018
GustyGhost
wvstolzingWasn't there also a minor controversy before this one, that they 'demonstrated' games on the system which they actually ran on a windows pc behind the scenes?

That is pretty much par for the course for running console demos.

Demonstrations based on a souped-up windows pc behind the curtain is almost OK for cross-platform titles, otherwise it's obviously deceptive -- though the intentions behind doing something like that need not be entirely fraudulent.

I remembered where I had heard about this; it's from a retro gaming youtuber's channel (which I don't follow regularly, so I know nothing about this guy otherwise); he kind of made a big deal out of the 'fake footage', though it mostly was a case of careless wording on the VCS website & lack of communication with the developers themselves. (It was footage 'for illustrative purposes' (well...) for a *yet to be announced* port; but the developers themselves hadn't even learned about the 'port', so they called out the fake footage, this youtuber caught wind of it, etc. etc.)

Their response to the youtuber who made a report about this was also a little on the impulsive & harsh side:

https://youtu.be/pKjJix3PLMk?t=6m46s
(from 6:46 onwards)
Purple Library Guy 22 Jun, 2018
Ending the statement with "sad"--I wonder if Atari have decided to go with the "Donald Trump" method of gaining publicity. Machiavelli: "Let them hate, so long as they fear". Trump: "Let them hate, so long as there is buzz".
DarthJarjar 22 Jun, 2018
I'm pretty disappointed by the general attitude here.
We've got a linux machine with mass market potential. We all know that the specs are good for the money, that the library is already consequent and that the proposed timetable is very workable.
From a purely technical perspective, this is a solid project.

Are there some uncertainties and shady elements? Of course!

Will such an occasion present itself again? Wait another ten years and see what happens.

If you want things to change, you've got to make the push when the occasion arise. If you don't want, at least don't undermine those who are willing to take risks by fighting pointless tribal wars.
Mountain Man 22 Jun, 2018
QuoteIt's a shame, as I wanted it to be success considering it could have been an interesting Linux gaming device.
It's still interesting. Just in all the wrong ways.
wvstolzing 22 Jun, 2018
Purple Library GuyEnding the statement with "sad"--I wonder if Atari have decided to go with the "Donald Trump" method of gaining publicity. Machiavelli: "Let them hate, so long as they fear". Trump: "Let them hate, so long as there is buzz".

They did cry 'Fake News!' (literally) about the youtuber I linked to.
Mountain Man 22 Jun, 2018
Purple Library GuyEnding the statement with "sad"--I wonder if Atari have decided to go with the "Donald Trump" method of gaining publicity. Machiavelli: "Let them hate, so long as they fear". Trump: "Let them hate, so long as there is buzz".
If we want to continue the Trump analogy, the Atari VCS will have detractor after detractor come forward and tell them it can't be done only for Atari to pull off a brilliant success in the end.

And, no, I don't see that happening. This thing is sounding more and more like the Phantom from Infinium Labs which turned out to be a scam from the beginning. Has anybody looked at the names behind this Atari VCS? I wonder if the same folks are involved, because it all sounds suspiciously familiar.
saturnoyo 22 Jun, 2018
Mountain ManIf we want to continue the Trump analogy, the Atari VCS will have detractor after detractor come forward and tell them it can't be done only for Atari to pull off a brilliant success in the end.
Neither Trump nor the Atari VCS will see such success. We can see what both are doing and it's going pretty terrible.
Purple Library Guy 22 Jun, 2018
Mountain Man
Purple Library GuyEnding the statement with "sad"--I wonder if Atari have decided to go with the "Donald Trump" method of gaining publicity. Machiavelli: "Let them hate, so long as they fear". Trump: "Let them hate, so long as there is buzz".
If we want to continue the Trump analogy, the Atari VCS will have detractor after detractor come forward and tell them it can't be done only for Atari to pull off a brilliant success in the end.
Well, "Let them hate, so long as there is buzz" is actually a quite effective strategy in modern politics. It's very rare for there to be a politician people actually like or respect, so the next best thing is to be disliked but have the most name recognition. Trump is very good at saying and doing things which will get the press to concentrate on him. He may win a second term simply because nobody will have ever heard of whoever challenges him, unless they can draft Oprah or something. Don't know how long the "provocative celebrity" approach will dominate. I think the next stage of American politics will probably be the Berlusconi--after one or two more mergers, someone will end up owning both Fox and CNN et al., and they will be able to run for office with all public voices backing them to the hilt.

I have doubts, however, that name recognition + dislike would be enough to get people to pony up a couple hundred dollars for a game console thing.
emphy 22 Jun, 2018
The company formerly known as Infogrames, that is calling itself Atari nowadays, does not exactly have a recent track record that inspires confidence. Even if they do release that system, it is highly unlikely that it will be anything different from the quick cash grabs any of their other recent releases have been.


Last edited by emphy on 22 June 2018 at 11:23 pm UTC
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