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OscarGungan

AtGames 2018 speculation thread

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My two cents: why keep re-releasing this thing every Christmas, each at different price points? While I would like to think that current purchases will further innovation, how much innovation does a Flashback really need? I had a hard time not ordering the black activision one, but with so many versions hahing a bit of what I want, I had to pass. I'd rather wait until they sort it out, but how much sorting out needs to be done at stage? Reading lackluster reviews on Amazon about the issues with emulation, lag (a deal breaker for me) also puts me off. Why not just put out two versions, the impulse buy one and a deluxe one? And hire the right people to make the games play as well as they did on the Legacy versions. Maybe I'm off base but that doesn't seem like too tall an order.

My understanding is that different retailers want exclusive models, even though they don't sell these fancy versions in most of their stores. Plus, QVC wants an exclusive model, etc. Ultimately, the consumer has gotten boned a bit since you'd have to buy four models to get all the games, so the whole thing is funny-strange in that way. I'm not sure how this business model works. Would the stores not carry them if there was one high end and one low end? Would they not sell the high end model? Are they hoping people will buy multiple versions. This is too obfuscated for me to understand. It is a first-world problem, but it has soured me that they seek to confound us consumers so blatantly.

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Yes, we are still doing tiers, and yes, fewer stores will carry the Gold models. Big retail outlets prefer cheaper SKUs, unfortunately. In fact, we'll be introducing even lower-priced SKUs this year. However, we're adding premium features to even the lowest priced options now, so there should be good choices regardless of price point.

I appreciate your openness in engaging with the community here, Bill - you're really an asset to AtGames. I've just gotta say, though - the multi-tiered plan seems to be getting more convoluted and confusing. I reckon the idea is to favor the impulse buyers and let the long-time enthusiasts sort things out as best as possible. I ended up totally befuddled by the whole line last year. "Which package has the paddles? What store carries it? Okay, I think Bill said this one was going to have such-and-such feature but now I'm not seeing that shown on the box design." Etc. Was there even a SKU that had paddles? Did I just imagine that that was talked about at some point? I get the impression that things are changing right up to the last minute. I'm someone who spends a fair amount of time each day reading about all manner of games, but in the end it was just confusing. Last year you expressed that it was the NES Mini that opened up the market to higher end SKUs, which is great! ...so now you're introducing lower-priced SKUs? Well... hopefully they'll be cool. I'll be on here, trying to figure out which one has what features and where to get it.

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I hear what people are saying, but I'm honestly curious about what the market is. We know two things; a) There's absolutely a market for impulse buyers on a low end unit. b) Anyone who posts frequently to a forum called AtariAge is likely to be interested in a much more hardcore solution. It's easy in the middle of the discussions here to assume that since we're talking to other Atari enthusiasts that there must be a big enough market to warrant a killer all bells and whistles expensive unit. But are there? Is there a big enough market to make a truly high end unit cost effective to produce?

 

I'm not saying there is not. I simply don't know.

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I'll be happy to answer just about any and all questions once the official announcements are made. I can say we're basically targeting products in the $20 - $80 range. As you might expect, retailers - particularly the physical ones - are more interested in the lowest priced SKUs, while we have considerably more flexibility with online retailers/stores. And yes, there will be some retailer-specific SKUs, including the usual included extras, as well as simply exclusive products.

 

I will do my best to make clear what will be available where and in what configuration. There will indeed be more products than ever this year, but as usual only a handful that likely appeal to a more core audience, such as those of us who frequent this discussion forum.

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I'll be happy to answer just about any and all questions once the official announcements are made. I can say we're basically targeting products in the $20 - $80 range. As you might expect, retailers - particularly the physical ones - are more interested in the lowest priced SKUs, while we have considerably more flexibility with online retailers/stores. And yes, there will be some retailer-specific SKUs, including the usual included extras, as well as simply exclusive products.

 

I will do my best to make clear what will be available where and in what configuration. There will indeed be more products than ever this year, but as usual only a handful that likely appeal to a more core audience, such as those of us who frequent this discussion forum.

When should we expect an official announcement? Looking forward to see the new line of products!

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I realize I complain about this a lot because my ideal flashback is probably a portable Mist with a cart slot, which would not be very cheap (~$300) ...and Mists are apparently kind of blah wasted potential.

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When should we expect an official announcement? Looking forward to see the new line of products!

Yeah, I am interested to see what the line up will be.

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Really hope one of the options this year looks like a 7800.

 

No. We may be adding some type of 7800 support in 2019 or beyond, but it would obviously be part of an Atari 2600 package. There's not enough of a market for a 7800-specific product.

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When should we expect an official announcement? Looking forward to see the new line of products!

 

Hopefully August, unless it gets pushed back again for some reason. To clarify the "some reason," everything is still on track to ship on time, it's just that with so many new partners and products this year, there are a lot more moving parts when it comes to coordinating marketing.

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No. We may be adding some type of 7800 support in 2019 or beyond, but it would obviously be part of an Atari 2600 package. There's not enough of a market for a 7800-specific product.

Aw thats a shame. Always liked the aesthetic of the 7800 more than the 2600s design as a console. If you are going to keep going with the 2600 design, is there any chance of making it actually look like a 2600? Like how Nintendos NES and SNES Classics look like those consoles, only shrunken down? Even the buttons have the same functionality of the original. The FB line always rubbed me the wrong way with the bright circle buttons, and the other inaccuracies. Edited by St3lla

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I think atari sa would crack down on something that looks too much like the original console. They sent a C&D to Dreamcade for their Replay - it looked like an Atari VCS.

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I think atari sa would crack down on something that looks too much like the original console. They sent a C&D to Dreamcade for their Replay - it looked like an Atari VCS.

Atari gives them the license though, so it should be good right?

 

Dreamcade just designed it after it but wasn't actually something licensed from them. Maybe I'm wrong?

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I've stopped following the Retron 77 threads because things don't seem to be improving too quickly for the system. I like how the Atari Age community it trying to fix things by upgrading Stella, but then the ROM limit can only be lifted if you use Hyperkins upgrade without the Stella upgrade. It's like taking one step forward and two steps back. It doesnt seem like Hyperkin is in a hurry to upgrade Stella either. Anyways, I'm eagerly awaiting an announcement from AtGames on the flashback 9. For me this is the most anticipated release they have done to date. Hopefully my expectations arent too high. At this point, it shouldnt be too difficult to surpass the performance of the Retron 77.

Edited by atarifan88
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Atari gives them the license though, so it should be good right?

 

Dreamcade just designed it after it but wasn't actually something licensed from them. Maybe I'm wrong?

 

Yes, our relationship with Atari would allow that in theory. However, my assumption is that with the VCS on the horizon, Atari is going to want to limit distractions of console-like hardware out there that looks like past products. Maybe in the future depending upon what ultimately happens with the VCS.

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I've stopped following the Retron 77 threads because things don't seem to be improving too quickly for the system. I like how the Atari Age community it trying to fix things by upgrading Stella, but then the ROM limit can only be lifted if you use Hyperkins upgrade without the Stella upgrade. It's like taking one step forward and two steps back. It doesnt seem like Hyperkin is in a hurry to upgrade Stella either. Anyways, I'm eagerly awaiting an announcement from AtGames on the flashback 9. For me this is the most anticipated release they have done to date. Hopefully my expectations arent too high. At this point, it shouldnt be too difficult to surpass the performance of the Retron 77.

 

I've definitely moved my interest from the Retron 77 to future Flashbacks. I've always said my money will go to the company that can produce a product where I can play the games I want to play (with no headaches) with an SD cart slot and good paddle emulation/control. The 77 is currently doing none of these things fully and I won't spend money on something that can do 60% or 70% of what I want it to do.

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I've stopped following the Retron 77 threads because things don't seem to be improving too quickly for the system. I like how the Atari Age community it trying to fix things by upgrading Stella, but then the ROM limit can only be lifted if you use Hyperkins upgrade without the Stella upgrade.

 

Actually, Stephen posted an updated firmware (with the latest Stella 3.x and the rom limit removed) a few days ago:

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/266544-retron-77/page-84?do=findComment&comment=4074223

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Atari gives them the license though, so it should be good right?

 

Dreamcade just designed it after it but wasn't actually something licensed from them. Maybe I'm wrong?

 

That's right.

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I've stopped following the Retron 77 threads because things don't seem to be improving too quickly for the system. I like how the Atari Age community is trying to fix things by upgrading Stella, but then the ROM limit can only be lifted if you use Hyperkins upgrade without the Stella upgrade. It's like taking one step forward and two steps back. It doesnt seem like Hyperkin is in a hurry to upgrade Stella either. Anyways, I'm eagerly awaiting an announcement from AtGames on the flashback 9. For me this is the most anticipated release they have done to date. Hopefully my expectations arent too high. At this point, it shouldnt be too difficult to surpass the performance of the Retron 77.

 

All AtGames has to do is keep on doing what they're doing, but instead use Stella 5. That by itself will put them miles ahead.

 

I can't imagine Hyperkin spending the amount of time and resources to port Stella 5 over to the hardware they're using in R77. From what I gather (and I could be mistaken) the R77's on-chip GPU (Mali 400) is rather dated, it's from the 2006-2008 cellphone era. And the task is to make SDL 2 work on it. A lot of work.

 

Besides, Retron would be stuck at OpenGL 2.0, but the standard has evolved to 4.5 already. Today.

Edited by Keatah
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I've definitely moved my interest from the Retron 77 to future Flashbacks. I've always said my money will go to the company that can produce a product where I can play the games I want to play (with no headaches) with an SD cart slot and good paddle emulation/control. The 77 is currently doing none of these things fully and I won't spend money on something that can do 60% or 70% of what I want it to do.

You couldn't have said it any better than this. It's exactly what I was thinking!

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Actually, Stephen posted an updated firmware (with the latest Stella 3.x and the rom limit removed) a few days ago:

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/266544-retron-77/page-84?do=findComment&comment=4074223

From what I have read, this hasn't improved game compatibility much. Thanks, but no thanks! Edited by atarifan88

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However, my assumption is that with the VCS on the horizon, Atari is going to want to limit distractions of console-like hardware out there that looks like past products. Maybe in the future depending upon what ultimately happens with the VCS.

 

It's not looking good for the Atari VCS. I would be more surprised if it actually comes to fruition than not given the recent Atari interviews and spin they've thrown out afterward. At the end of the day it's just a Linux box in a fancy case anyways. The Ouya is probably the closest analogy to it if they're trying to create their own platform / game store and we saw how that went. There's just better well established stuff already out there. I say this as a life long Atari fan and an avid gamer.

 

For selling retro games, a plug-n-play concept like the Flashback is really the only viable retail solution aside form selling a software collection for an existing console.

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You couldn't have said it any better than this. It's exactly what I was thinking!

I have to check some time how the RetroN 77 compatibility (SD card and actual carts) compares to the the cart modded FB2 with a Harmony cart. No HDMI or stereo, though, but the carts are not dumped!

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In fairness, the Retron 77 has only been out a few weeks, so there is alot of time to have people make the console be more compatible. They should have waited to release it. With that being said. the SD card slot plays alot more of the games and I have enjoyed it. I am looking forward to see what is released by Atgames and comparing the two.

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In other fairness, as a former owner of their previous Retron5, I'd be wary of firmware updates. They're only concerned about fixing the stuff people complain the most about, and they feel legally obligated to do. The Retron 5 still has some real problems with certain things including saving with Sega they never tracked down or repaired entirely. I don't know if their idea of QA is to give it 6mo or a year to fix what they can around self imposed stops, but whatever it is, don't ever assume they'll fix something as they've left parts of the R5 a mess depending on your system of choice and interests.

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