Back at E3 2017, Atari released a 20-second YouTube teaser video that hinted at the existence of a new Atari console, dubbed the Ataribox. Following on from the original teaser video, Atari confirmed the existence of the console and sent an email to fans with a first look at the upcoming retro console.
Not much was heard about the console for months until early 2018 when Atari announced the official name for its upcoming console: the Atari VCS, a throwback to the original name of the Atari 2600 back in the 70s.
Here, we round up all the latest rumours on the Atari VCS, from a possible release date to the design of the console and what it’ll feature.
Interested in other consoles? You might want to take a look at the latest Xbox One X news.
Atari VCS release date rumours
Despite Atari releasing more information in March 2018 about what to expect from the Atari VCS, there’s still no word about when it’s likely to be released. It was originally planned to launch in 2017, but that wasn't the case.
In an email sent to Tech Advisor, the Atari team explained that the upcoming Indiegogo campaign has been paused due to a "key element" of the system taking longer than anticipated to perfect. There's no word yet on when the console will now launch, but the team promised more information 'soon'.
If you can't wait that long, take a look at our roundup of the best games consoles of 2018.
Atari VCS design
While we may not know much about when the Atari VCS will be released, we do know what it’ll look like. Along with the original teaser video showcased before E3 2017 that can be seen above, Atari released images and information about the console in July 2017.
In an email to fans, Atari revealed that the company’s objective is to “create something new, that stays true to our heritage, while appealing to both old and new fans of Atari.” The design of the console is reminiscent of the wood-infused Atari 2600, although the new console features a range of improvements compared to the original.
Changes to the design include ribbed lines, a raised back and a new front panel made of either glass or wood. There are also a bunch of indicator lights that glow through the material, giving it a sleek and modern look. It is said to be available in two variants; one with a wooden look, and one with a black and red colour scheme.
In terms of available ports, the Atari VCS is set to feature an SD card slot, an HDMI port and four USB ports.
This was followed up with confirmation that the console will come with both a Classic controller that looks and operates much like the original Atari rubber joystick, along with a more modern Xbox-esque controller.
Atari VCS features
Admittedly, details are still sketchy as to what the Atari VCS will offer. Atari has said that it plans to deliver classic games alongside “current content” but it’s not clear what that’ll entail. The firm has also confirmed that it'll bring a "full PC experience" to your TV, although again, it's unclear how this will be achieved at this stage. It's said to offer a range of apps that'll provide access to social media, streaming services, web browsing, music playback and more.
In terms of hardware, it's said to be powered by a custom AMD processor with Radeon Graphics, and will run Linux OS with a custom interface. Pocket-Lint has gone hands-on with a prototype of the console and reports that it included HDMI and USB ports, an Ethernet port and an SD card slot, while also apparently offering Wi-Fi support and even a coaxial input on the rear, suggesting digital TV support could also be in the works.
Pocket-Lint also claims that the console will have some kind of voice control, though the publication is unsure whether this is in the form of custom commands or through a known virtual assistant like Amazon Alexa.
What seems to be clear is that Atari is looking to take the Atari VCS down the route of the SNES Classic, providing gamers with access to old titles in retro-themed modern hardware.
Apart from that, the company is staying tight-lipped. “We know you are hungry for more details; on specs, games, pricing, timing,” reads an Atari statement. “We’re not teasing you intentionally; we want to get this right, so we’ve opted to share things step by step as we bring this to life, and to listen closely to the Atari community feedback as we do so.”
So, make sure you bookmark this page and head back often for the latest Atari VCS news.