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Ah yes, Atari VCS, the delayed Linux-powered gaming box that was crowdfunded on IndieGoGo. It's still a thing and the team seem to think it's all going well.

In a new development update on the Atari VCS Medium account, the team posted a set of questions and answers from the COO Michael Arzt as to what's been happening recently. This follows on from the news back in October, where their system architect Rob Wyatt quit citing non-payment.

From the post they said they're currently going over the hardware to test "for functionality and reliability" and doing tweaks as needed, as then design and engineering teams recently went over to visit their partners in China who are building the actual Atari VCS units along with some photos:

Also detailed in the Q&A post is that they're developing the UI and store in the Unity game engine and they say it's "almost complete". Unity are apparently working closely with them on this, and they have "several studios" lined up ready for the Atari VCS launch. They're not saying who or what games though.

For streaming services like Amazon, Netflix and so on, it does sound like they will not have dedicated applications for them. Not yet anyway, they said for such service there will be the choice of viewing them through a web browser and that "the first big wave of apps isn’t likely to come before Q1".

When talking about the Atari OS, they confirmed yet again it's based on a "Linux foundation" with their integrated Atari VCS store and the Sandbox Mode will be available for installing and booting more traditional operating systems, like a standard Linux distribution (or Windows) so you could boot up Steam on it if you wanted.

IndieGoGo backers were supposed to be getting their units before the public release in December this year. That is now being delayed, although they claim "we are talking weeks here, not months, and the Indiegogo backers remain our top priority".

According to the post, they are on schedule for a full release in March 2020. Let's see what happens.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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58 comments
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lucinos 29 November 2019 at 5:51 pm UTC
tuubi
ShmerlOnly HDMI output? That's a huge no go. At least they should use both DisplayPort and HDMI, if they think HDMI is so necessary.
Plenty of TV sets with no DP inputs, but all of them have HDMI. I doubt this is such a no-go for most of their target audience.

I agree that for a console that is supposed to be connected to a TV a HDMI currently is more important, yet I do not understand why is it so hard to also support the superior DP.


Last edited by lucinos on 29 November 2019 at 5:53 pm UTC
Mohandevir 29 November 2019 at 6:01 pm UTC
Am I seeing right? The power button is behind the unit? I suppose it can be turned on/off with the controllers... But it's still a weird decision, imo.


Last edited by Mohandevir on 29 November 2019 at 6:05 pm UTC
Shmerl 29 November 2019 at 6:06 pm UTC
tuubiPlenty of TV sets with no DP inputs, but all of them have HDMI. I doubt this is such a no-go for most of their target audience.

That's due to HDMI cartel, not the reason to skip proper DP on any computer.
Mohandevir 29 November 2019 at 6:10 pm UTC
Shmerl
tuubiPlenty of TV sets with no DP inputs, but all of them have HDMI. I doubt this is such a no-go for most of their target audience.

That's due to HDMI cartel, not the reason to skip proper DP on any computer.

Am I wrong to say that HDMI is a proprietary tech and DP is open source (or at least free)?
Read something about that, not long ago...
Shmerl 29 November 2019 at 6:14 pm UTC
MohandevirAm I wrong to say that HDMI is a proprietary tech and DP is open source (or at least free)?
Read something about that, not long ago...

HDMI cartel demands payments from every device that ships with HDMI port. DP is managed by VESA, and it's free to use (there was some annoying requirement to pay for the documentation though).

DP is also more advanced technology, HDMI is limited in comparison. The only reason HDMI wasn't ditched yet, is the parasitic position of the cartel which makes money on its patents and heavily dominates TV manufacturing.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI#History


Last edited by Shmerl on 29 November 2019 at 6:14 pm UTC
Mohandevir 29 November 2019 at 6:20 pm UTC
ShmerlDP is also more advanced technology, HDMI is limited in comparison.

Yeah, remember that part. Nearly twice the bandwidth.

Found my original read:
https://www.pcworld.com/article/2030669/hdmi-vs-displayport-which-display-interface-reigns-supreme.html
Shmerl 29 November 2019 at 6:46 pm UTC
MohandevirYeah, remember that part. Nearly twice the bandwidth.

It's not really about the bandwidth (HDMI is mostly on par with that). DisplayPort uses packet design (like network protocol idea), while HDMI is a simple digital signal. So DP for example can send signals to several monitors through one cable, HDMI can't do that.


Last edited by Shmerl on 29 November 2019 at 6:47 pm UTC
Dragunov 29 November 2019 at 7:10 pm UTC
Will this thing hurry up and die already, this was a failure from the start. Didn't they learn anything from steam machines?, and at $389 I don't really think it is worth it. This is like a niche within a niche, how do they expect to make any money off of this?
Mohandevir 29 November 2019 at 7:20 pm UTC
From the official Q&A (bold from me):

"Q: Will the Atari VCS have original games, native apps, or a browser experience?

Michael Arzt: All three. The Atari VCS will be a gateway to a mix of original games and native apps. The primary way to access games and services will be through the proprietary Atari VCS interface and app store. If a service is not available as an app on our platform at launch, it can still be accessed through the internet browser. Content will include classic, new, and indie games from both Atari and third-party developers, along with entertainment apps for streaming video content, including TV shows and movies."

If it's true, that could make it interresting. The Anstream service announcment they made, a couple of months ago, was a major let down.

But I'm still very skeptical of the whole process. Too many weird things happened during development not to be...


Last edited by Mohandevir on 29 November 2019 at 7:26 pm UTC
Luke_Nukem 29 November 2019 at 7:25 pm UTC
Shmerl
tuubiPlenty of TV sets with no DP inputs, but all of them have HDMI. I doubt this is such a no-go for most of their target audience.

That's due to HDMI cartel, not the reason to skip proper DP on any computer.

HDMI cartel....
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