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January 7th, 2021: The original information clearinghouse purpose of this thread has been re-created to separate it from the lengthy and often heated discussion through the thread. The new thread can be found here, and is the thread that will be maintained regarding the New Atari VCS FAQ moving forward: The discussion side of this thread is just gonna keep going on here. Have fun and be civil to each other. ### Hello! This thread and OP will serve as a clearinghouse for information about the new Atari VCS released by Atari in 2020 after a three and a half year campaign to create, fund, and manufacture the console. The console was initially released to IndieGoGo backers, with a wider commercial release planned in 2021. Please read lower in the thread for a historical account of the process, but I have reorganized the OP for post-release: Who: The new Atari VCS is being created by Atari Interactive, the current holders of the Atari license and brand, through a limited liability corporation called Atari Gamebox LLC. The company was renamed to Atari Interactive from Infogrames in 2003. Wikipedia Link What: The Atari VCS is aimed at bringing a PC-like experience and a multimedia home center to your television, similar to other current consoles on the market like the Playstation 4/5 and Xbox One/Series S/X. The console itself is lower in spec than the newest generation of consoles, and is similar to a low/mid-spec PC in 2020. Atari claims it will provide both a modern and classic gaming experience in addition to being a place to watch video services and streamed content. Specs (as listed by Atari on their web site😞 ATARI VCS 800 SYSTEM Dimensions: 11.6” x 5.9” x 1.9” (Approx.) Weight: 3 lbs. (Approx.) Materials: Plastic, Metal, Wood Operating System: Atari Custom Linux OS (Linux Kernel) APU: AMD Raven Ridge 2 GPU: Ryzen Storage: 32GB eMMC internal, unlimited external USB HD/stick, cloud (subscription required) RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM (upgradable) Compatible Systems: Linux, Windows, Steam OS, Chrome OS Power: Low TDP architecture - Less Heat & Noise Wireless Connections: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4/5GHz, Bluetooth 4.0 Wired Connections: HDMI 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, 4x USB 3.1 USB Ports: 2x front, 2x rear External Inputs: Classic Joystick, Modern Controller, Microphone, Others TBD Mouse & Keyboard Support: Yes, USB or Bluetooth 4K Video w/ HDCP 2.2 Integration: Yes Internet Connection Required: Not for classic gaming but required to access all features ATARI VCS 400 SYSTEM The 400 System is the same as the 800 with the following differences: RAM: 4GB DDR4 RAM (upgradable) (instead of 8GB) Listed as 1080p streaming video capable (instead of 4k) ATARI VCS CLASSIC JOYSTICK Dimensions: 6" x 4.5" x 6" (Approx.) Rotating center joystick w/paddle function: Yes Top trigger button: Yes Side trigger button: Yes Home/Menu buttons: Yes Rumble: Yes LED ring: Yes Bluetooth Wireless: Yes USB Micro: Yes Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery: Yes LED charge indicator: Yes Approx. Weight: 16 oz. PC, Android Compatible: Yes Dimensions: 6" x 4.5" x 2" (Approx.) USB play/charge cable (9’ 8"): Yes Headset jack: No ATARI VCS MODERN CONTROLLER Approx. Dimensions: 6.0" x 4.5" x 2" (Approx.) L/R thumb sticks (including LSB and RSB): Yes L/R Triggers: Yes L/R Shoulder buttons: Yes Home/Menu buttons: Yes D-Pad: Yes ABXY function buttons: Yes Ergonomic grip: Yes Rumble: Yes Bluetooth Wireless: Yes USB Micro: Yes Rechargeable Battery: Yes LED charge indicator: Yes Approx. Weight: 16 oz. PC, Android Compatible: Yes USB play/charge cable (9.8"): Yes Headset jack: No Construction: Plastic and metal Cost: People who backed the project on IndieGoGo paid $299 for the VCS 800 Collector's Edition featuring a walnut front plate and an included Classic Controller. After the campaign, Atari launched two options for pre-order: A $250 Black Onyx 400 Edition and a $380 "All In" Onyx 800 Edition that includes both a Classic Controller and Modern Controller. Currently, only IndieGoGo backers are receiving consoles, although Atari says it intends to ship non-IndieGoGo preorders in 2021, with no specific information on delivery date provided. Atari claims on its preorder page that they intend to retail the VCS 800 at $399 and include both a classic and modern controller. As of the time of writing there is not an 800 available to preorder without controllers. Both the Atari Classic Controller and Modern Controller are made by Power A, will be available to purchase individually, and cost $60. Games: The VCS comes with the Atari Vault, the collection of 100 games that has been available elsewhere for years. IndieGoGo backers also get Missile Command: Recharged for free. Additionally, Atari is offering a Volume 2 of the Vault that includes basically the third volume of Atari Flashback Classics, for $4.99. When I get the VCS myself I will put together a complete launch title list, but for now based on me looking on a YouTube video screen: Games: Sigi - A Fart for Melusina 4.99 Mutazione - 19.99 Spear Master - 9.99 Missile Command: Recharged (Free) Unsung Warriors - Prologue (Free) Guntech - 24.99 Mad Age & This Guy - 3.99 Atari VCS Vault 2 - 4.99 (added December 24th, 2020): Sir Lovelot: 9.99 Boulder Dash Deluxe: 14.99 Thrustlander: 14.99 Frog Hop: 4.99 Apps (all free): Discord Plex Netflix Disney+ Twitch Hulu HBO Max Prime Video VRV YouTube VCS Companion Chrome PC Mode Apps: The VCS offers what is largely the standard mix of streaming providers that make themselves available to consoles, TVs, and the like in 2020. So far: Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Plex, Twitch. Additionally, Plex offers the ability to set up a wireless media hub for any media content in your home for free. Console/PC Hybrid: One of the key promotional messages for the VCS is its ability to easily dual-boot Windows, Linux, other operating systems using an external drive, or by installing an SSD into an internal drive slot available. In addition, the console can boot into a "PC sandbox" that runs Debian Linux. The Backer FAQ lists a bunch of decent information about how to upgrade RAM and do other technical things. You can read it here, but I've also attached it to the thread for future access. ### ### Historical information and pre-launch text: UPDATE: DECEMBER 11th, 2020: Atari has announced that its distribution partner has begun shipping VCS units as of today to backers. Here's the email: Hello Backers! Today is the day! By the time you are reading this, the campaign tracker at the top of the Indiegogo page should have switched to “Shipping” and the first packages should be labeled and heading out the door and on their way to you, our loyal backers. Until the warehouse gets into a rhythm we can’t predict exactly how many will go out the door each day, but we do expect most, if not all of the orders to ship out over the next eight to 10 business days. We now have enough joysticks to fulfill the orders that have been locked. And we have more joysticks (and controllers) coming, so no backer order orders will be held back due to a lack of inventory. In addition, we strongly encourage anyone who wants extra joysticks or controllers to pre-order from AtariVCS.com ASAP so they ship as soon as possible. The Atari VCS and accessories you will receive is the final production hardware. The Atari Dashboard and Storefront are definitely not final. As we have indicated before, we are counting on your feedback to help us drive forward product refinements, expanding functionality and interface improvements over time. You will see the very first system update happen the first time you boot up your new Atari VCS. After the day one update, updates will happen periodically and we will communicate all changes with every release. Atari VCS Backers FAQ To help get you ready, the Atari team has prepared a Backer FAQ which provides important information about receiving your VCS, setting it up, and using it. Please take the time to read this entire document. We will update it further as we get your feedback, and as we prepare future system updates. Atari VCS Founders Club Forum As stated above, this first version of the VCS production software is not going to be perfect and we welcome and encourage your help to improve our new platform. Please watch for and accept our email invitation to the Atari VCS Founders Forum on Discord. This is an invitation-only, moderated forum just for you, our original backers where you can come together as a community, access the FAQ, how-to content, share feedback and get updates from the Atari VCS team. After the final backer shipment goes out the door we will start to wind down, and ultimately discontinue activities on both the Indiegogo and BackerKit platforms. Customer Support To access customer support, please go to https://shop.atarivcs.com/support. You will find a public-facing product Atari VCS Knowledgebase as well as a contact form, and live chat function that you can use to access our support team. Getting to this point has been an amazing journey and the entire Atari team can’t thank you enough for your ongoing support and patience. We know you have waited for this day and we are incredibly excited to put the Atari VCS into your hands. As a special thank you for taking this ride, all backers will receive a free copy of Missile Command: Recharged on the VCS, which you can download from the Atari VCS store. Happy Holidays! This is just the beginning! -- The Atari VCS Team The "Backers FAQ" has a lot of relevant information: https://shop.atarivcs.com/content/IGG-Backers-FAQ.pdf UPDATE DECEMBER 4th, 2020: Over the past hour, Atari has been getting the word out about their shipping plans. Looks like people who were among the first to secure one - should - be getting shipping information next week. From the email: Hello backers! We have a quick update before the weekend: While we are still waiting for some of the joysticks, we now have enough to get things going while we wait for the rest to arrive. The warehouse will begin the sorting, packing, and shipping of Atari VCS hardware starting next week according to order sequence and regardless of geography. International backers please make sure you have a travel plug or adapter to make the US plug on the Atari VCS work in your country. Everyone please also note that you will need an internet connection to activate your unit. Finally, watch for the campaign header on the Indiegogo page to switch to “Shipping.” We will of course be in touch with more info and cannot wait for you all to get your Atari VCS units, joysticks and controllers! Have a great weekend! -- The Atari VCS Team Also posted publicly by Atari on Twitter. UPDATE NOVEMBER 20th, 2020: While Atari has not yet announced when they will begin shipping consoles and joysticks from their California warehouse to backers, they have formally locked down Backerkit information, and have today announced that a Companion App is now available to download on Google Play. I don't have an Apple device, dunno on iOS, but didn't see anything during a quick search. UPDATE October 29th 2020: Atari has announced a delay in shipment, blaming delivery of the classic joysticks to get consoles to backers and a shortage of a key ryzen component as a delay in delivery to everyone else. Atari intends to begin shipment after delivery of the classic joysticks, which may ship from China on/around November 5th. Atari may be able to begin delivery to backers in rough order of preorder starting November 16th, but Atari is promising delivery to backers by the end of 2020. UPDATE September 28th 2020: Atari has announced that "Backer Units are on the way!" Click here for my post in this thread providing more information on today's announcement. UPDATE September 13th, 2020: It has been quite the long and windy road, but all signs point to Atari being in the stage of getting units manufactured and shipped to backers, so here's an update: Timing: Atari has been using a couple of different words, but they intend to "begin shipping consoles to backers" sometime in October. From a July 1st Tweet used to promote an exclusive article from Game Informer: The Atari VCS PC/console hybrid will begin shipping to Indiegogo backers this October! Preorders will follow this holiday season. The article itself implies an earlier ship date "by" October: The Atari VCS, the console/PC hybrid from the legendary game company, is finally releasing this fall. Atari VCS backer units for those who supported the system's Indiegogo campaign will ship by October, while all subsequent pre-orders and retail units will arrive holiday 2020. Additionally, Atari phased out "early adopter" pricing on July 31st, which included free shipping and "guaranteed delivery before December 24th!" As of mid-September Atari has not shown manufactured units other than an initial test batch of a bit under 100 units in June. It seems likely that additional units are currently being manufactured, but whether it will be done in time for an October distribution to IndieGoGo backers remains to be seen. Additionally, Atari has announced that Bluemouth Interactive will serve as its distribution partner for Australia. Launch Titles: As expected, the VCS will not be launching with any titles on offer from its direct store outside of Atari's games. Missile Command: Recharged has been an announced launch title, and it will ship with Atari Vault. Other games have been shown during promotional images, including Tempest 4000, which at one point was believed to be a launch title, but which has not been formally announced as coming to the VCS. It seems likely Atari will also offer some of its Tycoon-style titles, and perhaps some mobile titles as well (a "Hoops Clash" is seen in the CES images). Atari has announced several service partnerships that will offer hundreds of other retro titles if you subscribe to them, with free trial periods available: Antstream Arcade GameJolt AirConsole Additionally, Atari has announced a partnership with PLEX, which is both a subscription entertainment (TV/movie/channel) service in addition to a free service which allows people to create digital media distribution centers in their home. Pricing: In a July Q&A COO Michael Jolt stated, "Titles in Atari’s store are expected to be much more affordable, with prices ranging anywhere from $3 to $25, with no fees imposed by Atari for online access." I'll update the OP as needed. ### Hello! I wanted to start a new and separate thread about the in-development Atari VCS that would focus on the latest information. My intention is to keep the original post updated so folks looking for a quick overview can find it. This thread is not meant to provide an outlet for people to bash the current Atari company, nor insult people who might be interested in this mid-spec PC for your television. People are welcome to have their opinion, and we've certainly seen a lot of varying opinions on the legitimacy of the console, but ultimately time will tell. There's a massive thread here that has long served as a place for people to criticize the current Atari, and moderators have largely allowed the thread to be used as an anti-VCS rant and troll thread, so if you want to talk about how much you dislike the new VCS, or bash the people interested in it, please consider doing so there. The FAQ: Who: The new Atari VCS is being created by Atari Interactive, the current holders of the Atari license and brand, through a limited liability corporation called Atari Gamebox LLC. The company was renamed to Atari Interactive from Infogrames in 2003. Wikipedia Link What: The Atari VCS is aimed at bringing a blend of a PC-like experience and a multimedia home center to your television, similar to other current consoles on the market like the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. Atari claims it will provide both a modern and classic gaming experience in addition to being a place to watch video services and streamed content. The project began its public life in June 2017 under the name Ataribox, and the company initially intended to offer an IndieGoGo funding campaign in December of 2017. However, that funding campaign was halted at the last minute (PC Gamer Link) in order to further develop the console and controllers. At the 2018 Game Developers Conference, Atari Interactive gave attendees with press credentials an opportunity to view a model of the console and retro controller, but did not have video to display, nor allow for hands-on demonstrations. Shortly before the GDC began, Atari Interactive formally announced the now-renamed Atari VCS in a press release here. In the March 19th announcement, the Atari VCS prototype was shared through promotional photographs, and the company mentioned that it would contain both a Classic Joystick with an updated 2600-controller-type look, and a Modern Controller, which looks similar in design and functionality to an Xbox-style controller. The company announced that it would have pre-order information in April. In late April, Atari Interactive issued a new press release (here) announcing that an IndieGogo fundraising campaign would begin on May 30th, and feature a time-limited Atari VCS Collector's Edition that included a retro-inspired wood front. In addition to the Collector's Edition, the company has said it will offer for pre-order the Atari VCS Onyx, which looks similar to the Collector's Edition, but has a black "Vader"-like front. The company claims the VCS is being designed in California by Atari. Atari has partnered with AMD to provide a custom Radeon Graphics Technology processor (x86) for the VCS which will offer 4k resolution, HDR, 60 FPS content, onboard and expandable storage options, dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, and USB 3.0 support. The company claims it will provide a complete list of product specs with the pre-sale on May 30th. The company stated in a GDC FAQ that the console will have an, "x86 PC architecture with a proprietary Linux OS that will allow for a flexible content mix and give customers access to interact with the whole internet. This means more games, media and streaming content, as well as communication with other PCs and the ability to fully customize the experience." The company has also said they believe the console will offer Steam and other Linux-based storefront support. The VCS will also include the compilation Atari Vault, currently available for PC, which features more than 100 classic games, both Atari arcade games and 2600 games. The console is compatible with most standard PC and bluetooth controllers. From the IndiGoGo page: USE YOUR OWN PERIPHERALS AND ACCESSORIES Atari VCS provides universal peripheral connectivity, so it also works just as well with your other PC input devices, including: Bluetooth and USB game controllers Mouse and Keyboard External Storage Webcams Microphones External Speakers Headphones The listed tech specs are (from the IndieGoGo page): Specification* Measurement Unit Dimensions 14.5" x 5.3" x 1.6" Unit Weight 3 lbs. Materials Plastic, Metal, Wood Operating System Linux OS based on Ubuntu (Linux Kernel 4.10) Compatible Systems Linux Power Low TDP architecture - Less Heat & Noise Connections HDMI 2.0, 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit Ethernet, 4xUSB 3.0 External Inputs Classic Joystick, Modern Controller, Microphone Storage 32GB eMMC, external HD, SD card RAM 4GB DDR4 RAM UPDATED: On 7/15/18 in an interview on Medium.com, System Architect Rob Wyatt confirmed they were updating it to 8 GB RAM. See Misc. for the link. Memory 32GB eMMC CPU Bristol Ridge A10 GPU Radeon R7 HDCP Integration HDCP 2.2 Second Screen (Screencasting) Yes Cloud Storage Yes. Additional Service Offering Required Internet Connection Not for classic gaming but required to access all features Cross Game Chat Skype, Discord, etc. Voice Commands 4-front facing mic array Subscription Needed? No. Includes cloud and other services. Live Streaming Yes with Twitch.tv Mouse & Keyboard Support Yes The controllers are both Bluetooth and USB-C connected. The Classic Joystick and Modern Controller are being developed in partnership with Power A, a third-party provider of controllers, accessories, and power units for most modern consoles. On June 27th, 2018, Atari announced that they have contracted Rob Wyatt and his company Tin Giant to provide platform architecture support. When: Updated 6/30/18: The campaign has ended (sorta) with $2,985,205 raised. HOWEVER, the campaign has shifted into an InDemand project on IndieGoGo, meaning that people can still back the project indefinitely. After an initial large number of people backing, the remainder of the campaign struggled to get much backing at all, indicating that the pool of those interested and willing to back the project went in at the start, and Atari struggled to convince others to back for the remainder of the campaign. The listed timeline for the project remains unchanged. Updated: The May 30th IndieGoGo launch happened, and quickly hit its extremely-low flexible funding goal of $100,000. The campaign has so far raised more than $2 million. There is a limited-time offer (until 6/4/18) of a $199 black "Onyx" console with no accessories, and a $299 limited-time (6/11/18) Collector's edition featuring a wood grain version with a classic controller. Other packages are available, and the controllers both classic and modern are available separately. Update 6/25/18: With four days left in the campaign, Atari has raised a little more than $2.9 Million from a little more than 11,000 backers. While there was a lot of interest and backing activity in the first week, the number of backers slowed dramatically, and has remained very low. The IndiGoGo campaign will last for about a month, until about 7/1. The IndieGogo page lists a July 2019 delivery date for backers, and has a Q2 2019 "Pre-Orders Arrive" date on the page's timeline. Where: The IndieGoGo page can be found here. Links to AtariVCS official sites Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Web Site Why: Atari Interactive stated in a FAQ provided to the press at GDC: What makes the Atari VCS different from Nintendo’s NES or SNES Classic retro consoles? Or even the Ouya? Also, why do we need another microconsole? The Atari VCS is a completely new Atari device designed for today’s living room that will include PC and online entertainment-driven features that distinguish it from these other products. Atari VCS will of course serve up lots of classic content. But it will do and play much more, and can complement other “retro-boxes” or “microconsoles” that consumers may already have in their homes. Why release a new console after a twenty year pause in a market now dominated by Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft? The original Atari 2600 Video Computer System reinvented the home entertainment experience more than 40 years ago by transforming our relationship with our TVs. We saw an opportunity to do that again with a new Atari VCS that brings PC versatility to the living room. How: There is a lot of community speculation as to the legitimacy of Atari's plans, but it is likely the company is hoping to garner enough interest that it can raise the necessary funds during the IndieGoGo campaign to build and deliver the console. The company has stated the console will offer both classic Atari in addition to more modern gaming, along with streaming media network support. While the company used GDC to communicate with various game development companies, few announcements have so far been made outside of the intention to release Jeff Minter's Tempest 4000, which arrives this summer to other consoles. In regard to development, Atari stated in its GDC FAQ, "Atari will publish, verify and deliver first and third party game IP and other software through the proprietary Atari VCS UI. Users will also have a “sandbox” with the ability to bring a wide variety of outside and “homebrew” content to the platform." Atari has this to say from its IndieGoGo page regarding developer submissions: There are a few steps to getting your game submitted and ready for sale on the Atari VCS. Below is a high-level preliminary overview of the key steps in submitting your game for distribution: We will ask you to complete and sign the online agreement; once we have the business items out of the way, you will need to tell us all about your game. We will need to know the standard details for the title – things like game type, languages, release date, ratings, etc. via the online submission form. Once the product information has been supplied, you can upload the latest build of your game to the Atari VCS submissions portal. After you submit your game, we will review and test your game for compatibility, and check that it is working correctly on the platform. We will also review your game to be sure it contains no objectionable content such as pornography, hate speech, offensive content, malware, illegal, libelous material or content that you do not have rights to. The Atari VCS team will work to move through this process as quickly as possible and will notify you when your game is approved for release. From there, and if approved, the game will be distributed to legions of new fans across the globe! Since the console is Linux-based with a standard x86 architecture, USB 3.0, and Bluetooth support, it is likely that the modding community will be able to make use of the hardware as well. From the IndieGoGo page they say: Access the Linux Sandbox, add more storage via cloud or USB, run multiple operating systems at once, load Homebrew games or customize your own unique platform. I will endeavor to keep this original post updated, and would again encourage people to not use this thread to serve as another place to bash Atari and the new VCS. I have also attached some press release images and the GDC FAQ. The current Press Kit including images not linked below can be found here. Thanks! Miscellaneous updates and info: Atari Connected Devices COO Michael Arzt did a pretty interesting (and long!) video interview with Gamertag Radio here for Episode 767, published June 3rd, 2018. A newly-released Q&A on Medium.com comes from recently-hired System Architect Rob Wyatt. It's got some interesting info for people looking to get into the tech detail, how open the console can be, how it can be used, and how people can develop/release their games on it: On other controller support: "To ease the burden for applications using game controllers, the AtariOS will have standardized controller support which includes a built-in controller remapping tool. This tool will allow you to remap physical controller buttons to logical standardized buttons, remap analog inputs and apply curves to get the exact response and feel you want, as well as allow for the “lefty” joystick that some have asked us for. This tool will let you use any controller and the applications always see a standard controller with your own button mapping. The button mapping data can be stored per controller, per user and/or per game and can also be exported and shared with other users." Possible AR/VR Support: "Not much to say at this time, other than we have AR/VR plans but it will be an after-launch feature. More info to come on this somewhere down the road." On development for it: "We won’t have dedicated development hardware. You won’t need it. Any Atari VCS device can be a development kit. All you will have to do is sign up to our developer program, download the SDK and start creating. If you don’t want to develop in native code then common game engine platforms will be available for the VCS. To get an application into the Atari Store there will be a few technical requirements and rules as to what is permissible. As with other curated stores indecent and offensive material will be prohibited. All content will be appropriately age rated and subject to parental controls to ensure users of all ages only see decent and quality applications. Atari is a neutral partner and we have no say in what applications get developed or when an application gets released, you are free to develop any application you like as long as it’s within our guidelines. At this time the developer program is not open yet and it will come online in the coming months. If you have an application in mind you can start today, make sure it runs on Linux at HD resolution using standard runtime libraries, the changes from this to the AtariOS will be minimal and mostly related to application startup and application packaging. In the very near future we will release documentation on the AtariOS which will detail all the runtime components we support as well as libraries for Linux that mimic the AtariOS." Atari VCS FAQ.pdf IGG-Backers-FAQ.pdf
Although Atari published this a little while ago, the news was lost in other threads. So here it is. From conversations with somebody at Atari recently, this is not a "random interaction". We'll see. https://atarivcs.medium.com/nolan-bushnell-our-legendary-founder-drops-by-for-a-visit-to-atari-hq-c9502507f5d8 He played on the VCS, and talked about the development of Tempest.
I think everybody loves the VCS case design; only a RAM trapdoor is a sad omission. The design of the system hardware, case, PCB, peripherpals, is very interesting to me. Previously, I posted an article about Surface Ink who were contracted to Atari to work with Atari and AMD on the hardware design of the VCS. They now added a new video. This is the original article; I can't find the old post to this. https://surfaceink.com/portfolio-item/atari-vcs/ There was also during the campaign additional detall about the Surface Ink work too. They had a good partnership clearly. https://atarivcs.medium.com/the-atari-wireless-classic-joystick-and-atari-vcs-vault-677945d3d8d2