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The Linux-powered games console the Ataribox has become the Atari VCS

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Atari has announced that the unreleased Ataribox has been rebranded as the Atari VCS [Official Site] and they say they will reveal the date for pre-orders next month. Their wording has been interesting, as they say the "pre-order date to be announced in April.", not that it actually will begin in April. They're still being all very coy about it all.

Originally, the Atari VCS under the name of the Ataribox was due to have pre-orders start towards the end of last year in December. This was then delayed, as Atari stated something about it missing a "key element on our checklist". We still have no idea what this was, as they're not yet saying.

Here's the latest shots they've sent around, it sure does look like something I wouldn't mind owning:

The gamepad is also looking really rather slick. Sometimes it's simplicity that creates beauty, I'm not saying it's the best looking gamepad out there, but you have to admit it does look pretty nice. Looks like a good size too, like it might actually fit in my hands properly…

I hope it does genuinely turn into something interesting, as an open Linux-powered games console with backing from someone to see it through could be a good boost for Linux gaming overall. What actually happens remains to be seen, will it be a force to be reckoned with or will it see another delay? Who knows, but we shall keep you informed.

We still know too little details about it—sure they've given some hardware specifications and they said it will remain based on Linux, with access to the underlying system free of restraints, but the key fact here is that they haven't shown it actually working in any form at all. That's what worries me the most after all this time. On top of that, their official site is using quotes with no source that seem pretty made up from randomly picked names.

What do you think?

Still amusing they listed us on their press page.

18 Likes, Who?
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31 comments
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elmapul 20 March 2018 at 12:22 am UTC
as Atari stated something about it missing a "key element on our checklist"

an good controller ? :v
niarbeht 20 March 2018 at 12:34 am UTC
elmapulas Atari stated something about it missing a "key element on our checklist"

an good controller ? :v

Isn't lacking a good controller a tradition with Atari?
ertuqueque 20 March 2018 at 12:37 am UTC
Atari stated something about it missing a "key element on our checklist"

My guess is that they'll use AMDs new Ryzen V embedded processor (like the Smach Z portable game console) and they were waiting to finalize the related paperwork to announce it properly... But again, that's just my guess.
Asu 20 March 2018 at 12:45 am UTC
I hope it runs steam ... ffs...
kneekoo 20 March 2018 at 1:03 am UTC
Wow, just hours after I mentioned the Ataribox in the Ion Maiden thread, we get this news. Cool! I hope it will be a great console/Linux PC.
Dunc 20 March 2018 at 1:15 am UTC
Um. Okay. Seems like a pointless move that will only cause confusion with those of us who prefer to call the 2600 by its original name, but whatever.

The controller does look nice. Very (suspiciously?) like an XBox 360 controller, but that's no bad thing at all. It's hard to tell if the D-pad is a simple clicky one or a Steam-style touchpad. I'd guess the former, since it already has two analogue sticks, but if the thing's going to run Steam, some kind of mouse-like control wouldn't be a bad idea.

QuoteStill amusing they listed us on their press page.
I like the way they put you above Forbes, Engadget, and EuroGamer.

ertuquequeMy guess is that they'll use AMDs new Ryzen V embedded processor (like the Smach Z portable game console) and they were waiting to finalize the related paperwork to announce it properly... But again, that's just my guess.
Very possible. I still think the announcement of the “pause” coming so close to their meeting with Nolan Bushnell was too much of a coincidence. In his time, he's done things right, done things wrong, and knows the difference. I wouldn't be surprised if he furnished them with a few home truths back in December. Of course, maybe that's what he told them: “Don't run with this until you have everything in writing”. It was probably a combination of things. It usually is.

Overall, I'm in kind of the same place as Liam. If it appears, it should be a good thing, both in itself and for Linux gaming. But there's something at the back of my head that keeps whispering, “vaporware”. The lack of information, let alone demonstrations, seems fishy. Then again, how many of us thought much the same thing about Phoronix's Valve reports before they were confirmed?

I don't know. Wait and see, I suppose.
tonR 20 March 2018 at 1:25 am UTC
Everything looks cool except for gamepad. Not so ergonomic IMO. Probably this is initial design.

BTW, I really hope the Atari VCS not become next StopDrop&Retro 's future content .
Solar 20 March 2018 at 1:44 am UTC
tonREverything looks cool except for gamepad. Not so ergonomic IMO. Probably this is initial design.
Other than button layout it looks exactly like a Wii U pro controller, which is pretty much perfection.
Personally, I can't wait for that classic joystick!

This will be a day 1 purchase for me.
kneekoo 20 March 2018 at 2:09 am UTC
liamdawethe key fact here is that they haven't shown it actually working in any form at all. That's what worries me the most after all this time.
Secrecy doesn't worry me. And there's the fact that they didn't put up a (marketing) fight to attract people like me, who never touched an Amiga system before. For me, it looks like a nice Linux-based PC/gaming console, which is not particularly attractive considering the big number of emulators available for Linux. So right now I just stare at some pretty pictures and I hope it will all turn out OK, because it's always good to have choices when it comes to entertainment.

But what worries me is the fact that their press and contact pages have a broken reCAPTCHA implementation, and it's been hours since they announced the news. So their contact form is completely useless. Clearly the marketing and web development departments are out of touch, which it not encouraging. They claim they postponed the launch date because they "weren’t willing to go forward with even one thing out of alignment". But their contact form is completely "misaligned".

With the way things went so far, this project looks more like the personal project of 1-2 (ex) Atari employees, who worked on this in their off hours. Because it didn't show the proper pacing, nor the proper coordination for anything resembling a decent team behind the project. Oh well, we'll see what April brings.
Leopard 20 March 2018 at 6:46 am UTC
Key element = Exclusive games to Atari VCS
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