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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?

10 Likes, Who?
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48 comments
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F.Ultra 22 June 2018 at 9:22 am UTC
Well this is what happens when a company needs to spin everything in order to keep the campaign going and thus squash each and every thing that questions the project.

I mean when he wrote "We clearly said that we were bringing engineering design models to GDC and lots of people clearly don't understand what that means" he clearly knew that the point of the article was that there does not exist a single working system yet and that their execs cannot answer a single question on it. Instead they try to weasel word their way out of it by implying that El Reg has an agenda.

The very fact that they brought "engineering design models" instead of a prototype is kind of the essence of the El Reg article...

And lets us not forget that this is not the real Atari either, it's just Infogrames with a different name.
abelthorne 22 June 2018 at 9:28 am UTC
It's telling that they're not showing a working prototype but mainly focus on the case design before anything else. As if they were doing this only for the nostalgia and don't care about what's inside.

It will be the next OUYA: a project built on hype that ends as a big flop.
elmapul 22 June 2018 at 9:34 am UTC
"Their IndieGoGo is doing well, with it hitting nearly $3 million in pre-orders. "
wich is 5 millions less than an the ouya did, and still floped.
wich is a double shame since they are the fucking ATARI brand and ouya was an no one ever listen about brand.

ouya costed less , sold more, and still the number of users were not big enough for developers.
i will say it again, this thing will not help us to increase the linux marketshare.


Ouya at least had an proposal, bring indie games to the living room, and add an new feature on the controllers (touchpad)

but playstation killed then adding touchpad on ps4, xbox and playstation killed then by adding support for indie games, and they product died anyway because they couldnt sell many or the public didnt purchased many games (maybe the target audience was to poor to buy many games anyway?)


this thing is snake oil, we are just failing to see it because "It runs linux", wich seems to be a pejorative thing nowadays, the fact that google, facebook etc runs linux dont mean that any crap hardware would become automatically good because it runs linux or would have better drivers for linux than for windows.

this thing will only harm the atari brand even more and harm linux as an brand for the average user even more.

and even it the product isnt is an scam and turn out to be an hardware more powerfull than they promissed on the campaing, with an great cost benefit and so on...

people may just install windows on it to have acess to more games (as they did with the steam machines)
and the product will not sell many copies anyway because many youtubers are trash talking the product.
liamdawe 22 June 2018 at 9:45 am UTC
elmapul"Their IndieGoGo is doing well, with it hitting nearly $3 million in pre-orders. "
wich is 5 millions less than an the ouya did, and still floped.
Indeed, exactly why I added the other bit of text directly after, to mention they're not even finished with prototypes yet.

I think we all need some popcorn ready for Spring next year...
mahagr 22 June 2018 at 9:58 am UTC
I have no idea why people want to purchase Atari VCS -- I was assuming they had updated their hardware to use Ryzen based solution because of the delay, but no, they ship with 6 years old hardware...

I already own Raspberry PI 3 for emulation and I do have similar sized mini-PC with about the same performance (i5 6500T with Intel HD 530), but with 16 gigs of RAM and 384 gigs of storage. Owning the device I can say that there's not going to be too many interesting Steam games that you can play with Atari console -- especially with 4GB of RAM.

It has way too high price for being emulation device and way too low specs to use it for gaming console. For everything else I would just use my TV...
tonR 22 June 2018 at 10:00 am UTC
I had feel uneasy from beginning about Atari VCS. Especially majority of IndieGoGo crowdfunding are not having great success and reputation (except a few project such as GPD Win). My nightmare might become a reality. And this news makes me more unconvincing even more.

Just wait for youtuber's StopDrop&Retro investigation if VCS failed. I hope I am wrong again and VCS become a success. If this failed, it certainly adding more fuel to anti-Linux community (especially some gaming community) to disregarded Linux even more.

Not a good news for Linux and Linux gaming especially.
razing32 22 June 2018 at 10:14 am UTC
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This seemed like a cool little console.
But I don't get the hype, Linux machine or not.
And it's not like Atari had a good track record in recent years.
LibertyPaulM 22 June 2018 at 11:15 am UTC
To be fair The Register are professional trolls, and click baity ones at that, but yes poor form from Atari.
liamdawe 22 June 2018 at 11:20 am UTC
LibertyPaulMTo be fair The Register are professional trolls, and click baity ones at that, but yes poor form from Atari.
I would disagree, their reporting is basically always exactly on the mark, they're just quite funny and sarcastic in how they write.
wvstolzing 22 June 2018 at 12:03 pm UTC
Wasn'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?
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