At GDC last week Atari unveiled a prototype of the Atari VCS, Atari’s new “modern” game console.
The Linux-based device is made to look like the original Atari 2600 VCS that launched in 1977. While development of the actual hardware is still ongoing, Atari claims to be working with developers to finalize games that will be available on the console when it eventually launches in the second quarter of 2018. Atari plans to announce the Atari VCS’ price in April, as well as open up pre-orders before the end of April.
Atari says that these are “subject to change,” but the following specs are currently in use:
• Performance will be comparable to a higher-end PC laptop
● 4K, HDR, 60fps AMD x86 processor
● Onboard and expandable storage
● 2.4/5.0 WiFi/Bluetooth 5.0
● USB 3.0
The VCS will allow users to play PC games on their television, with over “200 games and franchises” set to be compatible at launch, as well as video and audio streaming apps. Atari “anticipates” Steam and other Linux storefronts will be compatible with the console, but can’t confirm compatibility with third party applications.
While the Atari VCS’ proper unveiling finally took place last week, Atari initially hinted at the console’s existence last June during E3 with images but no concrete information about the specifications or its function. In September of the same year, it was revealed that the device will use Linux in an attempt to nurture an open platform for developers, and Atari aims to charge somewhere between $200 and $250 for it.
Other than the Flashback series of plug and play consoles, the VCS is the first console Atari has released since 1993’s Atari Jaguar, which was discontinued in 1996 following the launch of the original PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Since then, the Atari Jaguar has been released into the public domain and been declared an open platform.
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