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Estimates on VCS User Base?

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I was just wondering does anyone have any idea what size the user base is these days. Judging by this forum there is a lot of activity with a lot of posts every day but then again the forum caters for a lot of different systems and there seems to be a few very active posters which make up a lot of the activity...

 

So, any idea?

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People who have a fondness for Atari and have at some stage in the past 5 years or so actually hooked up a '2600 -- about 1500.

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I am an active participant in these forums -- and I still occasionally pick-up 2600 games in the wild -- but I have not played on original hardware in probably 15 years. Space is an issue, as is the fact that I do not have an A/V moded console.

 

My classic gaming needs are now happily met by emulation -- both Stella and the various PS 2 collections. My collection of 150+ games and 4 or 5 consoles remains packed away in storage.

 

FWIW, this past weekend, I picked-up the second version of the Activision PNP TV game system.

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Wii homebrewed is a great mutiplatform emulator. But 99% of the time is real hardware. I cant belive thousands dont atari.. need more like and fan of facebook i guess to get the numbers up.

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I know at least two co-workers who tell me they have 2600s (or at least "Ataris") at home. I don't think they're used, however.

 

Otherwise, I don't currently know nor can I recall in recent years coming across anyone who is still using a 2600, or even owns one.

 

Think the last time I saw someone with a working 2600 was a kid in the dorm my senior year of college (92-93). Back then I was just playing a Game Gear, and thought it was cute that someone had one, but didn't take interest in it.

 

I've asked my co-workers to bring in their systems, but they haven't yet.

 

Emulation will never satisfy me. I don't think the games would hold any of my interest or attention without the hardware. It's for this reason I still have a CRT television - small, but adequate and with the front jacks I need for some systems.

 

My collection has been mature for a long time, but I recently got a couple 400 computers and found five 2600 games I didn't have, which refired my Atari playing - enough to buy a couple more homebrews from the store.

Edited by Brian R.

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People who have a fondness for Atari and have at some stage in the past 5 years or so actually hooked up a '2600 -- about 1500.

 

Naah, I'd add a zero to that. It might be different elsewhere, but in the States I meet a lot of people who get a misty look in their eye when the subject of the Atari comes up; a small but significant percentage of those folks still have it, and a few of those will have pulled it out. In my family alone there are at least 10 people who've played VCS in the last 5 years, and 3 consoles + a Flashback 2 in four different households.

 

Add to that the retrogaming enthusiasts old and young (I've seen young teenage kids get excited about Atari), the hipsters raiding their parents' attic, etc., and I think you've got a good 10-15k. Plus every retrogaming store I've ever visited has Atari stuff, and it seems to sell slowly but steadily. Of course it's going to dwindle as the years go by and the difficulty of connecting older systems increases, but...

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A quick search on eBay of "Atari 2600" consoles sold in the last week show that 182 were sold.

 

Hopefully most of these are being sold to buyers who are going to hook them up and play them. Even if only a small number of these buyers keep playing them regularly that is thousands of users each year.

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Are we including flashbacks in the estimate of people playing ataris? With flashbacks, that number would be higher. According to Wiki, flashback 2 sold 860,000 units. In my department of 30 people, I know of one other person. So that's 2 out of 30 people. If we include everyone that has played an atari 2600 game in the last year on flashback or original hardware, I would guess 50k.

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The estimates are going to be low because many people have them that don't go on the forums. People who play one occasionally, have some games, perhaps even a homebrew or to if presented to them. I guess you have to consider it like car owners. How many people have one versus how many are on forums talking about their particular car.

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Naah, I'd add a zero to that. It might be different elsewhere, but in the States I meet a lot of people who get a misty look in their eye when the subject of the Atari comes up; a small but significant percentage of those folks still have it, and a few of those will have pulled it out. In my family alone there are at least 10 people who've played VCS in the last 5 years, and 3 consoles + a Flashback 2 in four different households.

 

Add to that the retrogaming enthusiasts old and young (I've seen young teenage kids get excited about Atari), the hipsters raiding their parents' attic, etc., and I think you've got a good 10-15k. Plus every retrogaming store I've ever visited has Atari stuff, and it seems to sell slowly but steadily. Of course it's going to dwindle as the years go by and the difficulty of connecting older systems increases, but...

 

I seriously doubt it's that much; I'd bet it's closer to Andrew's estimate.

 

I NEVER see Atari stuff at second hand and thrift stores. Original Nintendo is probably the oldest they have. Or if there is anything Atari, it's very few, whereas theres tons of Nintendo stuff.

 

I would not count Flashback units. If you're going to count those, then you would have to include the games in an Atari controller and the paddle ones, too. I'd limit it to real, vintage hardware.

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Really? I still see Atari stuff fairly regularly, especially at flea markets and yard sales. I don't see it as often as most other successful, mainstream systems, i.e. the Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft axis plus Sega Genesis, but I definitely see it. Just this past weekend I went to a yard sale where the guy said he'd sold a boxed VCS the previous day. And the fact that retrogaming stores around here make space for Atari stuff suggests that it's selling, if only slowly.

 

I agree with not counting Flashback units, since those were the terms of the original question. I just mentioned it to note that one of my siblings who doesn't have an Atari console, still has a Flashback even so.

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I actually picked up a set of US 7800 controllers in a store a couple months ago. The stuff is still out there, especially in larger cities.

 

I'm the only one I personally know that plays retro anything though I have a friend who picked up a flashback and several who have emulated or bought retro collections on a newer system.

 

A couple guys at work are into the retro scene though they don't go further back than Genesis/SNES.

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