January 22, 2019 // 11:24 a.m.
Slightly Mad Studios is continuing with its plan to launch a high-end games console, dubbed the Mad Box, though the release of new and vastly changed renders suggests that it hasn't progressed much beyond the drawing board.
Slightly Mad Studios, best known for the Project Cars racing sim franchise, raised eyebrows earlier this year when it insisted that it was going to create a high-end, virtual reality ready games console as its first foray into the hardware market. Vague details followed before company chief executive Ian Bell released renders showing a tower-like design with wide-splayed wing-like feet - a design which did not impress the company's followers on social media.
Despite insisting that the Mad Box is a very real project, the company has revealed that it is early enough in the design process to completely throw away its originally-revealed design and come up with something totally different - to the point where it's hard to imagine the two devices could share any internal components. In new renders released to Twitter by Bell, the tower-like system has been replaced by a squat desktop with an eye-catching front-facing, full-colour display. At the same time, Bell confirmed that the machine is designed to compete directly against dedicated consoles from Sony and Microsoft, though concerns over whether the high-end design and promised 4K-resolution VR-ready hardware would come close to the price of even the top-end PlayStation 4 or Xbox One models haven't been addressed beyond a promise to be 'competitive but [...] high-end'.
Following the release of the new case renders, Bell also shared controller renders showing an RGB-illuminated design with central full-colour touchscreen display - an idea it seems to have borrowed from Valve's early Steam Controller prototypes, before it was ditched in later design revisions - and an overall shape not a million miles away from an Xbox One controller. As well as a pair of thumbsticks, a D-pad, and four face buttons, the design also includes two analogue triggers and four digital paddles on the rear.
Neither Slightly Mad Studios nor Bell have hinted at pricing, availability, or even when they will have something more than shiny renders of hardware that doesn't actually exist to show off.