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The Atari VCS Controversy Thread

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The handful of manbabies on AtariAge here make me sad. It seems like such a waste of a life to be like that, making everyone around them miserable to compensate for whatever depression, substance abuse, maturity, or other issues they are dealing with. I used to just think they were idiots, but time and maturity has convinced me these folks need help. That help needs to happen offline. Hopefully they get it. 

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24 minutes ago, 82-T/A said:


IT'S OK... you're totally entitled to your opinion.

 

Your answer basically tells me that:

 

"I think the Atari VCS is a bad idea, and I want people to understand that the decision they've made is poor."

 

... that's perfectly OK. But there's probably more to this than that simple answer. There are a lot of people who buy dumb things that we disagree with every single day. The question I'm interested in getting answered is specifically why this one bothers you particularly? I suppose we could spend equal time on the local Communist Party USA message board and enlighten them as to the error of their ways, but we've chosen the Atari VCS. It could be that you just have time on your hands, and this is mildly entertaining to you and convenient since... here we are on AtariAge... and that's totally fine. For me, this discussion is interesting because I actually enjoy the psychological aspect of these discussions and what actually drives people. On another aspect of it, I'm a fan of the VCS, though I recognize the unnecessary aspect of the purchase, but I'm also open to the possibility that there's some fantastical reasoning that I've perhaps missed that you otherwise are enlightened to.

 

No Socratic method here, just genuine inquiry...

 

- Do you want the Atari VCS to fail, and if yes, what would that mean to you (...that you were right?)

- Why is it important that you let us know that our decision was wrong to purchase the VCS?

These are valid questions and I will dispense with the snark.  
 

I'm focusing on the VCS because it intersects with an interest I actually do have-- retro video games.  There are equally stupid products I never acknowledge because they never even tangently touched a topic I cared about.  Truck Nuts come to mind.

 

Do I want it to fail?  Yes.  Absolutely. The reason why is not out of any need for vindication (I'm not expecting any trophy to show up) but because I find the business model to be insulting to the consumer, and not healthy for the hobby as a whole.  If the VCS fails, it will be a sign that this model should not be repeated in the future, and that will hopefully beget future projects that are better for the hobby.

 

I have no need to tell you that your purchase of the VCS was "wrong", as most of the people on this forum I've spoken to seem to have bought it as a combination of a lark and an expression of brand loyalty.  I see nothing particularly shameful about either one (I have a closet full of Star Trek uniforms.  It's not my place to be judgy on taste). What I do feel the need to do is call out people giving out bad advice on buying one (there's no reason to get one beyond the aforementioned lark/loyalty).  Saying it's a fun toy is one thing, saying it's a reasonable alternative to a PS5 or Roku is another.  This is also why I do not take seriously any discussion if the "next wave" of the device.  It is what it is.

 

I realize I might get carried away with the hyperbole.  I should work on that.  However, I do not feel that Atari has taken me seriously as a customer, so I refuse to take the end result of their efforts seriously in return.

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41 minutes ago, Mockduck said:

The handful of manbabies on AtariAge here make me sad. It seems like such a waste of a life to be like that, making everyone around them miserable to compensate for whatever depression, substance abuse, maturity, or other issues they are dealing with. I used to just think they were idiots, but time and maturity has convinced me these folks need help. That help needs to happen offline. Hopefully they get it. 

 

That goes both ways.  You've taken your share of swipes at the opposition and held your position just as rabidly as anyone else, as have others.

 

Glass houses, throwing stones, etc.

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1 hour ago, Mockduck said:

The handful of manbabies on AtariAge here make me sad. It seems like such a waste of a life to be like that, making everyone around them miserable to compensate for whatever depression, substance abuse, maturity, or other issues they are dealing with. I used to just think they were idiots, but time and maturity has convinced me these folks need help. That help needs to happen offline. Hopefully they get it. 

Ah, the "everyone who disagrees with me is an awful person" ad hominem gambit. A bold move, let's see how it plays out!

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1 hour ago, Mockduck said:

The handful of manbabies on AtariAge here make me sad. It seems like such a waste of a life to be like that, making everyone around them miserable to compensate for whatever depression, substance abuse, maturity, or other issues they are dealing with. I used to just think they were idiots, but time and maturity has convinced me these folks need help. That help needs to happen offline. Hopefully they get it. 

Who hurt you man?

Maybe you should spend more time playing with your amazing vcs and less arguing with random Internet people?

 

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25 minutes ago, Cebus Capucinis said:

Ah, the "everyone who disagrees with me is an awful person" ad hominem gambit. A bold move, let's see how it plays out!

What amazes me is how desperately there still seems to be a deep-seated need for some to defend their purchase.  It's as though even the most minor of criticism against the system is somehow a deep personal attack on them that honour demands a response to, mental health and well-being be damned.

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No need for us to get at each other over a silly machine.

 

I think it's fair enough that there is one thread where VCS can be criticised. Personally, when I do that, it does not mean I think anybody who got one is a moron, far from that. I also have a wardrobe full of whatever and have made many questionable purchases in my time.

 

I don't hold any grudge with the thing itself, it's just a machine - my "hate" is reserved for Atari SA. VCS itself is now out in the wild and I treat it as any hardware out there, without any emotional baggage and comment on it strictly in regard to its price/performance/competitiveness/software base/etc - just like with any other gaming device. Yes, I'm mostly critical* about that, but that is not meant as a slight towards its owners.

 

*even though my criticism is mostly because of the context - on its own the VCS is not actually that bad, if somebody gave me one I'm sure I could put it to good use

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7 hours ago, godslabrat said:

These are valid questions and I will dispense with the snark.

Please make that a permanent change, won't you?  The whole world could do with a lot less snark.  It isn't amusing, it isn't persuasive, and it isn't constructive or helpful ... it only provokes and antagonizes, which is not what we need here.  Someone made a genuine inquiry, and you offered a critical opinion in response, and that should suffice.  If you can't restrain yourself from bringing the snark, please bring it somewhere else.  That applies equally to everyone—and so do the ground rules that we established for this subforum.

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13 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

 

Genuine question: with all of the other options out there for low-end PCs, how did that person come to choose the VCS as their platform of choice?

 

I really don't have a problem with them choosing it, but it seems like an unusual choice given the prevalence of other hardware pretty much everywhere.

I don't know, I thought it was odd as well.

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2 hours ago, godslabrat said:

These are valid questions and I will dispense with the snark.  
 

I'm focusing on the VCS because it intersects with an interest I actually do have-- retro video games.  There are equally stupid products I never acknowledge because they never even tangently touched a topic I cared about.  Truck Nuts come to mind.

 

Do I want it to fail?  Yes.  Absolutely. The reason why is not out of any need for vindication (I'm not expecting any trophy to show up) but because I find the business model to be insulting to the consumer, and not healthy for the hobby as a whole.  If the VCS fails, it will be a sign that this model should not be repeated in the future, and that will hopefully beget future projects that are better for the hobby.

 

I have no need to tell you that your purchase of the VCS was "wrong", as most of the people on this forum I've spoken to seem to have bought it as a combination of a lark and an expression of brand loyalty.  I see nothing particularly shameful about either one (I have a closet full of Star Trek uniforms.  It's not my place to be judgy on taste). What I do feel the need to do is call out people giving out bad advice on buying one (there's no reason to get one beyond the aforementioned lark/loyalty).  Saying it's a fun toy is one thing, saying it's a reasonable alternative to a PS5 or Roku is another.  This is also why I do not take seriously any discussion if the "next wave" of the device.  It is what it is.

 

I realize I might get carried away with the hyperbole.  I should work on that.  However, I do not feel that Atari has taken me seriously as a customer, so I refuse to take the end result of their efforts seriously in return.

Curious, could you please explain why you think their business model is an insult to the consumer?  And not healthy to the hobby? 

I actually never thought of the VCS as a 'retro' machine at all, and as a new platform.  As outside of including the Vault, none of the games out for it are old. 

I was thinking last night about why,  specifically after all these years of nothing, would whomever that owns Atari bother with trying a new console.  My conclusion was 'The flashbacks and mini computers seem to sell well enough'.  Otherwise why do it? 

I don't see it as a retro machine though, it is a (fairly) modern piece of hardware.  So it doesn't touch the crowd that want a real 6502 or anything.  It doesn't really do anything but include the classics in the Vault.

What this system really is, at least if they do it right, is a way for them to actually resell their IP instead of sitting on it.  Like who wouldn't want a new Yars Revenge with some particle physics and such? 

But yeah, I treat it just as I treat the Switch.  A system for playing games both old and new.

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VCS would be one of the last options I would give someone to do schooling from home. Go for a chromebook or craptop. More out of the box functionality. If a kid likes to tinker get them an RPi4. Then they can use as a desktop and do some coding/tinkering.

 

Does anyone think this will be stocked on an actual shelf at Wal-Mart vs .com?

 

 

Edited by MrBeefy
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3 hours ago, Cebus Capucinis said:

Ah, the "everyone who disagrees with me is an awful person" ad hominem gambit. A bold move, let's see how it plays out!

Yes ... Nazi accusations are next I would guess

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1 hour ago, leech said:

Curious, could you please explain why you think their business model is an insult to the consumer?  And not healthy to the hobby? 

 

Let me answer your second question first: I do not believe that efforts such as this, which are blatant get-in-and-get-out cash grabs, are healthy for the hobby.  It presents retrogaming consumers as easy marks, and sets a precedent that we'll buy any piece of garbage box that has a familiar logo on it.  I beleive the hobby is healthier when it's expected that new products be of higher quality.  

 

The Atari VCS is an insult to the consumer precisely because it treats us this way-- expecting us to buy anything because it has a familiar logo.  Beyond that, the company itself showed a massive lack of concern (and occasionally, outright disdain) for its customers.  Showing up at a convention with a demo unit, but not being able to even talk about the "target market", much less answer basic questions about the hardware functionality, sends the message that you don't care about what you're selling, or the people that buy it.  Taking pre-order money before engineering the shell (requiring a full redesign afterward) is such a high degree of incompetence that no one should feel right trusting the company with thier money.

 

This doesn't even address the speculation that Atari never intended to fulfull the orders themselves, they just wanted to be bought out and unload the project onto someone else.  For the moment, I'm just sticking with the screwups that have been documented beyond the point of disagreement.

 

1 hour ago, leech said:

I actually never thought of the VCS as a 'retro' machine at all, and as a new platform.  As outside of including the Vault, none of the games out for it are old. 

I was thinking last night about why,  specifically after all these years of nothing, would whomever that owns Atari bother with trying a new console.  My conclusion was 'The flashbacks and mini computers seem to sell well enough'.  Otherwise why do it? 

 

I can't get into their head as to WHY they did it, but the answer that consistently makes sense to me is (as I said above) they wanted a flashy project to boost their stock value and attract a buyout.  Personally, I'm very impressed by the success of the Flashbacks, and think that the VCS is an incredible wasted opportunity on a technical level.  Had Atari actually wanted to build a viable platform (as opposed to just throwing something together and running) they could have and should have started with the Flashback concept and built it up from there.  The very first detail we ever heard about the Ataribox was that it "was not a Flashback", and I contend that was the first among many, many errors they made.

 

Again, that's an error made with the assumption that Atari actually intended to build a viable platform.  Since I do not beleive they did, I do not think that's an error in their view-- only mine.

 

 

1 hour ago, leech said:

What this system really is, at least if they do it right, is a way for them to actually resell their IP instead of sitting on it.  Like who wouldn't want a new Yars Revenge with some particle physics and such? 

But yeah, I treat it just as I treat the Switch.  A system for playing games both old and new.

 

If I had faith in Atari's motivation to build the VCS into something, I could agree with you.  Yes, indeed, I would love updated versions of all their games-- but it's not the first time Atari has played with that idea and dropped it almost immediately.

 

 

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If the VCS did manage to find some shelf space in a Wal-Mart or Target they wouldn't put it in the PC section - It would go somewhere in the back of the console/games area, but certainly wouldn't eat up any space from Nintendo/Microsoft/Sony. Probably would get a small spot near those $5 game cards that they still sell for Facebook & PC games, at best. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Shaggy the Atarian said:

If the VCS did manage to find some shelf space in a Wal-Mart or Target they wouldn't put it in the PC section - It would go somewhere in the back of the console/games area, but certainly wouldn't eat up any space from Nintendo/Microsoft/Sony. Probably would get a small spot near those $5 game cards that they still sell for Facebook & PC games, at best. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not sure about Target but I worked at Wal-Mart in college. These would sell, and probably really really well, at Wal-Mart if they were able to deliver quantities reliably. It’s probably vastly underestimated. Those $299 base units would be hard to keep in stock. People are failing to see the key factors. Like the Wii or Switch it doesn’t matter that it’s less powerful than Xbox or PS5. In this case you’re answering to the nostalgic and tinkerer types. People will run out to buy their $99 retro console without the extra capabilities they will have no qualms about plunking down $299 for retro, new, streaming, expandable and such in one somewhat cheaper slick looking package. 
 

To me I think the issue is less whether it would sell but more could they ever deliver.

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1 hour ago, MrBeefy said:

VCS would be one of the last options I would give someone to do schooling from home. Go for a chromebook or craptop. More out of the box functionality. If a kid likes to tinker get them an RPi4. Then they can use as a desktop and do some coding/tinkering.

 

Does anyone think this will be stocked on an actual shelf at Wal-Mart vs .com?

 

 

That wouldn’t be addressed until Wal-Mart knew if they could get enough quantities for shelf space. If online preorders looked good they’d definitely put them in store.

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17 minutes ago, yrly said:

People are failing to see the key factors. Like the Wii or Switch it doesn’t matter that it’s less powerful than Xbox or PS5. In this case you’re answering to the nostalgic and tinkerer types. People will run out to buy their $99 retro console without the extra capabilities they will have no qualms about plunking down $299 for retro, new, streaming, expandable and such in one somewhat cheaper slick looking package. 
 

To me I think the issue is less whether it would sell but more could they ever deliver.

I say this not to be argumentative or negative but.....

 

Your "key factors" have been brought up repeatedly in this thread, enough so that I'd say those are the primary arguments made, so I don't see how anyone is failing to see them. In fact, quite the opposite....

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22 minutes ago, yrly said:

Not sure about Target but I worked at Wal-Mart in college. These would sell, and probably really really well, at Wal-Mart if they were able to deliver quantities reliably. It’s probably vastly underestimated. Those $299 base units would be hard to keep in stock. People are failing to see the key factors. Like the Wii or Switch it doesn’t matter that it’s less powerful than Xbox or PS5. In this case you’re answering to the nostalgic and tinkerer types. People will run out to buy their $99 retro console without the extra capabilities they will have no qualms about plunking down $299 for retro, new, streaming, expandable and such in one somewhat cheaper slick looking package. 
 

To me I think the issue is less whether it would sell but more could they ever deliver.

Well, the assumption that the market is just jam-packed with people with so much nostalgia for an Atari logo that they'll plunk down $300+ on a console with an identity crisis and nothing exclusive to it, is something we disagree on. If the VCS was priced at $99, sure, but $300~? When you can get a Switch or Xbox Series S for that? I don't see it.

 

If people were really that crazy about it, then the IGG campaign would've done much better than it did (keep in mind, not all of the 11,000 pre-orders there were for the console, many were just for the joystick). Since it didn't, the chances of there being enough interest to even get into the store is extremely unlikely. That's even more evident after Wal-Mart pulled the VCS from their website. Right now, search for the VCS and you get the Flashbacks, a refurbished 2600 and even a refurb Jaguar. It's still on GameStop's website, but being on the web is different from being in the store; Earlier in this thread it was argued that there's interest from eBay scalpers, but even there the VCS is not that hot already, with no one bidding on the systems listed over $300. 

 

I really don't understand where you VCS fans are getting this idea from that the Atari brand is one of the hottest things on the market. Just because we like Atari doesn't mean that everyone else does. When Nintendo released the NES & SNES Classics, those were immediately sold out. Atari's never had that problem with the several Flashbacks by what I've seen. They were so "dime-a-dozen" that you could even find a pallet of them at places like Bed Bath & Beyond. When is the last time that something Atari sold so well that it was difficult to keep in stock? You have to go as far back as the 2600 to find that. 

 

At the moment, the gaming market wants the latest consoles from the Big Three. There's no indication that anyone outside of the few pockets of the internet (here, tiny pockets of Reddit/Facebook/Discord) cares about the VCS at all.  Want an indicator of what's hot? Check out Nintendo's latest tell to their investors - demand for Switches are so high that they not only expect it to outsell the Wii, they are seeing high demand for households to grab two Switches. Last time I heard Atari had a message for investors, they barely mentioned the VCS, spending more time talking about blockchain than the product that should be their flagship. 

Edited by Shaggy the Atarian
fixed some typos
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5 hours ago, godslabrat said:

These are valid questions and I will dispense with the snark.  
 

I'm focusing on the VCS because it intersects with an interest I actually do have-- retro video games.  There are equally stupid products I never acknowledge because they never even tangently touched a topic I cared about.  Truck Nuts come to mind.

 

Do I want it to fail?  Yes.  Absolutely. The reason why is not out of any need for vindication (I'm not expecting any trophy to show up) but because I find the business model to be insulting to the consumer, and not healthy for the hobby as a whole.  If the VCS fails, it will be a sign that this model should not be repeated in the future, and that will hopefully beget future projects that are better for the hobby.

 

Do you know what builds friendships? It's through communication and people finding commonality. It's why even people like my wife, who is a radical leftist Jewish woman, decided to marry a hard-core Republican Catholic... and it works. Because even with all of that, there's still some shared interests. She may drive a VW Bus, and I may drive a Ford Explorer... but at the end of the day, we both like Game of Thrones, sex, and vintage video games, not in any particular order.

 

 

4 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

What amazes me is how desperately there still seems to be a deep-seated need for some to defend their purchase.  It's as though even the most minor of criticism against the system is somehow a deep personal attack on them that honour demands a response to, mental health and well-being be damned.

 

Is that what this is though? It seems to me that this is more like someone walking into a Toyota dealership, and then coming up to everyone in the service bay, and telling everyone who bought one how horrible they are. If I was in a liquor store, and you came in and started yelling at everyone about alcohol consumption, I'm not sure I'm the one who's mental health would be questioned. I'm just saying...

 

 

1 hour ago, godslabrat said:

Let me answer your second question first: I do not believe that efforts such as this, which are blatant get-in-and-get-out cash grabs, are healthy for the hobby.  It presents retrogaming consumers as easy marks, and sets a precedent that we'll buy any piece of garbage box that has a familiar logo on it.  I beleive the hobby is healthier when it's expected that new products be of higher quality.  

 

The Atari VCS is an insult to the consumer precisely because it treats us this way-- expecting us to buy anything because it has a familiar logo.  Beyond that, the company itself showed a massive lack of concern (and occasionally, outright disdain) for its customers.  Showing up at a convention with a demo unit, but not being able to even talk about the "target market", much less answer basic questions about the hardware functionality, sends the message that you don't care about what you're selling, or the people that buy it.  Taking pre-order money before engineering the shell (requiring a full redesign afterward) is such a high degree of incompetence that no one should feel right trusting the company with thier money.

 

This doesn't even address the speculation that Atari never intended to fulfull the orders themselves, they just wanted to be bought out and unload the project onto someone else.  For the moment, I'm just sticking with the screwups that have been documented beyond the point of disagreement.

 

I can't get into their head as to WHY they did it, but the answer that consistently makes sense to me is (as I said above) they wanted a flashy project to boost their stock value and attract a buyout.  Personally, I'm very impressed by the success of the Flashbacks, and think that the VCS is an incredible wasted opportunity on a technical level.  Had Atari actually wanted to build a viable platform (as opposed to just throwing something together and running) they could have and should have started with the Flashback concept and built it up from there.  The very first detail we ever heard about the Ataribox was that it "was not a Flashback", and I contend that was the first among many, many errors they made.

 

Again, that's an error made with the assumption that Atari actually intended to build a viable platform.  Since I do not beleive they did, I do not think that's an error in their view-- only mine.

 

If I had faith in Atari's motivation to build the VCS into something, I could agree with you.  Yes, indeed, I would love updated versions of all their games-- but it's not the first time Atari has played with that idea and dropped it almost immediately.

 

See, this is a much better to the point discussion. So couple of things here...

 

I recognize the possibility that this was a cash grab... which I'm not wholly against. If there's a market for something, then it makes sense. I don't look at Atari anymore as the company it used to be. As far as I'm aware, Atari is nothing more than a handful of people... maybe 6 or 7... if even that? So my personal opinion, I don't think they were looking for a buy-out... because I'm not sure there's anything really left to buy out. Many of the original assets and intellectual property are sold off, and what is left is really only important to a select group of Gen-Xers. There's been so many iterations of Flashbacks and selling of the classic games on other systems as a "retro" package... that I'm not sure there's really any market left for that.

 

I stopped buying the flashbacks because they just didn't interest me. Why I purchased the VCS is because I intend to use it to crack 256-bit encryption, cyrpto-mining, and AI and machine learning. I kid... no... I bought it because I was excited at the prospect of having a TV-based device that I could play some modern indie games on ... WITH nostalgia. I could buy some other streaming device I suppose... but childhood nostalgia does give me that little extra endorphin boost. There aren't a lot of VCS-made games yet... but I did buy two of them and I've been pretty happy thus far.

 

Having the Atari logo on it is a plus for me... because if it was the exact same thing but said Sega on it, I wouldn't have bothered. It's less about brand loyalty... but enjoying that which I have nostalgia for.

 

 

With that, I am interested to know what in your opinion would be something that WOULD be better for the hobby? Genuinely interested, no sarcasm here... just curious what that would look like and if I would think it cool as well.

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50 minutes ago, yrly said:

Not sure about Target but I worked at Wal-Mart in college. These would sell, and probably really really well, at Wal-Mart if they were able to deliver quantities reliably. It’s probably vastly underestimated. Those $299 base units would be hard to keep in stock. People are failing to see the key factors. Like the Wii or Switch it doesn’t matter that it’s less powerful than Xbox or PS5. In this case you’re answering to the nostalgic and tinkerer types. People will run out to buy their $99 retro console without the extra capabilities they will have no qualms about plunking down $299 for retro, new, streaming, expandable and such in one somewhat cheaper slick looking package. 
 

To me I think the issue is less whether it would sell but more could they ever deliver.

LOL - just like the Jaguar sold like hotcakes when the more expensive Playstation, Saturn, and 3D0 were out right?

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4 hours ago, yrly said:




Not sure about Target but I worked at Wal-Mart in college. These would sell, and probably really really well, at Wal-Mart if they were able to deliver quantities reliably. It’s probably vastly underestimated. Those $299 base units would be hard to keep in stock. People are failing to see the key factors. Like the Wii or Switch it doesn’t matter that it’s less powerful than Xbox or PS5. In this case you’re answering to the nostalgic and tinkerer types. People will run out to buy their $99 retro console without the extra capabilities they will have no qualms about plunking down $299 for retro, new, streaming, expandable and such in one somewhat cheaper slick looking package. 
 

To me I think the issue is less whether it would sell but more could they ever deliver.






So.. what are you saying? What do I do? do I buy Atari stock or wait? I NEED TO KNOW.. what is the hidden message in your post?!!!!

Do I go all in?  🚀💎💰

stop being so cryptic! unless you want me to buy the crypto-Token too?
TELL ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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17 minutes ago, 82-T/A said:

Is that what this is though?

It's how it appears from the external perspective.  Note that I am not the first to draw this parallel.

18 minutes ago, 82-T/A said:

It seems to me that this is more like someone walking into a Toyota dealership, and then coming up to everyone in the service bay, and telling everyone who bought one how horrible they are. If I was in a liquor store, and you came in and started yelling at everyone about alcohol consumption, I'm not sure I'm the one who's mental health would be questioned. I'm just saying...

I understand the analogies you're making, but I don't believe that they really work in this case.

 

Bear in mind that the scenarios you're describing are ones being carried out after the item in question has become available.  The majority of the negative opinion of the VCS (and Atari SA) was formed over time before any units had shipped.  Criticism of the actual units has only been possible for about six weeks at this point, because before then there was no way of knowing what, if anything, would actually be delivered.

 

This brings us full-circle to the point I was making, namely that there seems to be a conflation of 'VCS bad' with 'you are a complete and utter failure of a person' in many cases.  A great deal of the responses to criticism of the device and/or company display an apparent lack of separation of self and object in those responses, particularly given the reflexive nature of a large number of the responses in question.

 

As I mentioned above: this is the external perspective, at least from where I'm sitting.  However, based on commentary in this thread and elsewhere, it appears as though I am not the only one to have picked up on it.

32 minutes ago, 82-T/A said:

With that, I am interested to know what in your opinion would be something that WOULD be better for the hobby? Genuinely interested, no sarcasm here... just curious what that would look like and if I would think it cool as well.

Fair questions.  Here's my shortlist:

  • Be more Flashback-like (i.e., appliancey), but add the store and other online features.  Being able to run new games on it as well as old ones will have more appeal to a broader slice of the market and keep the bundled content (and thus device) from getting stale quickly, which has been an issue with Flashback-type devices.
  • Forget the whole 'it's a console you can use as a PC!' feature.  Sony did that with both the PS2 and PS3, and very few people bought one mainly on that basis; the VCS seems to have similarly-low interest in it.  Too many other options out there for this to be a standout feature, and, frankly, it recalls the Internet Appliance debacle of roughly 1999 to 2001.  Nobody is clamouring for a new version of the 3Com Audrey.
  • Lower the price point.  We're all in agreement that the VCS isn't competing with the PS5 or Xbox on the basis of raw computing power, but its price does put it in the same market space as those devices.  At $199, its features and spec are much more justifiable, and it ends up in a space with no direct competition.
  • Continue to sell the controllers separately for people who aren't interested in the box itself.  This was a good move, controller design issues aside.
  • Atari SA needs to realise that treating both the company and potential customers with the sheer cynicism that they have is not a strategy for long-term success.  I don't want to give my money to a company that behaves the way they do towards the people they're asking to purchase their product(s) regardless of how much interest I may have in said product(s).
  • Related to the above point: put some humanity back into the company.  Don't outsource every last detail of development.  Have in-house staff who design and build things.  Improve management so that good staff are attracted to the company and want to work for it.  Most importantly, do all of this so that the company can develop a culture beyond, "how can we squeeze another buck out of nostalgia?"  That will bring about the biggest inherent improvement to future product(s).

There are other items, but most of them are details that would end up with us getting out into the weeds of minutiae.

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