May 1, 2018 // 11:25 a.m.
Atari, or the company currently bearing that name, has announced that it will be opening pre-orders for its Atari VCS games console personal computer hybrid at the end of the month - but won't be shipping any devices before early 2019.
Unveiled in render form back in 2017 and as a fully-functional prototype in September 2017, what was known then as the Ataribox is an AMD-powered miniature PC with a focus, though not exclusively, on vintage gaming. Designed to mimic the appearance of the classic Atari Video Computer System - and taking that as its name earlier this year - the system comes pre-loaded with vintage Atari games but also boasts compatibility with off-the-shelf third-party software from modern non-Atari games through to productivity suites and web browsers.
Atari had originally planned to open a crowdfunding campaign for production of the Atari VCS in early 2018, before bringing the schedule forward to December 2017 then pushing it back once again over an issue with an unspecified 'key element' of the device. Now, the company has offered up a revised schedule which will see the crowdfunding campaign open on May 30th - though devices themselves won't ship until the spring of 2019 at the very earliest.
'We continue moving forward on the Atari VCS project and are excited to see this pre-sale kick-off and to share more updates with our fans as we look toward the first shipments,' claims Michael Arzt, Atari's chief operating officer of connected devices, a division which includes its attempt to enter the Internet of Things (IoT) sector. 'We are building outstanding teams and forging alliances that will make this product great and truly worthy of the Atari VCS name. Expert hardware partners are helping make this project possible and we couldn't be more pleased with their contributions.'
Full specifications for the Atari VCS have still not been released, beyond the promise of a 'custom processor' with Radeon graphics technology from AMD, support for Ultra HD and high dynamic range (HDR) displays, on-board and expandable storage, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, and a bundled gamepad and retro-style joystick.