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The Atari VCS Controversies Thread

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Well I’m shocked new Atari actually shipped something. So I will fess up and say I was wrong, they did ship. I’m thrilled for the backers.

 

I wanted to back it, loved the look of the unit and thought the classic controller is so cool I’d buy it without hesitation if it were in stores on the shelf. Heck I’d probably buy the Xbox looking modern Atari controller. What I couldn’t bring myself to do was throw near 300 bucks for a low end mini pc in a cool Atari shell...from a shady as shit company like new Atari. Turns out my suspicions were confirmed and my instinct was correct...the entire experience is half baked. Store is minimal and half functional at best. Wireless controllers isn’t 100% yet and exclusive game developers are non existent. So why spend money on it?

 

It has the Atari logo on it...not enough of an Atari experience for the price. Just my 2 cents.

Edited by MarioMan88
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5 minutes ago, godslabrat said:

There is some logic to what you say, but I have serious disagreement that l'Atari wants anything to do with this machine once it leaves the warehouse.  Your analysis would have merit if this were a contending product off to a rocky start, but all signs point to it being a one-off project they reluctantly fulfilled.

 

godslabrat,

I think the possibility of this being a one-off/abandonware destiny is the responsibility of the target group (Atari/Retro Fans).

 

I grew up with Atari from beginning to the fall basically. In the Toledo area the computer shows where very common. Not to mention there were actually Atari Resellers (computer stores that sold Atari only). What I saw originally was a strong community of the different computers available at the shows. The Atari booth people sat with the Atari people, Commodore with the Commodore, etc.   There were Atari and many different Computer groups in the area. There was a healthy competition between the groups but also a great "respect" for the early systems/businesses and each other. Over time other "Options" came out. First it was the 16 bit machines (Atari ST/Amiga/Macs)  this caused a small split between the groups and also a mass abandonment of the earlier hardware. This abandonment was natural...the machines were "better"...but the turn over killed the earlier hardware (supporters).  This hardware change fragmented the groups and sometimes there were computer shows just for the new hardware. Over time the "options" had people change groups (Atari to Apple, Atari to Commodore, Commodore to Atari etc.) as the earlier split (8bit - 16bit) upset people on there original choice. Then the IBM and Compats came out. This led to a tremendous amount of Options (Peripherals etc).  Then there was (MAC and Windows (PC Compats)) and this was the new supporter base. Linux plays a big factor now (phones/IOT/etc) but also when the MAC and Windows arguments were the big separation. The internet killed the Computer Shows but brought large groups of people with similar interests together. This has fragmented things but the strong groups get newer hardware/software and options. (ie Atari 2600 games)

 

So my feeling is many people are nervous about the AtariVCS and it being just another abandonware product...Yes poor management by Atari led to its fall but also the time period plays a great factor as well. Early computers and their success were supported by its user groups. Early on it was limited to a small number of options. As these options grew there was a change of support by users. 

 

Think about Apple. The products are pricey to say the least. This pricey point keeps themable to be pumping out products. Some good some not so good but ultimately their survival is based on User base (Apple Fans).

 

This product and the Atari fate will be no different.

 

Thanks

Chris

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, MarioMan88 said:

Well I’m shocked new Atari actually shipped something. So I will fess up and say I was wrong, they did ship. I’m thrilled for the backers.

 

I wanted to back it, loved the look of the unit and thought the classic controller is so cool I’d buy it without hesitation if it were in stores on the shelf. Heck I’d probably buy the Xbox looking modern Atari controller. What I couldn’t bring myself to do was throw near 300 bucks for a low end mini pc in a cool Atari shell...from a shady as shit company like new Atari. Turns out my suspicions were confirmed and my instinct was correct...the entire experience is half baked. Store is minimal and half functional at best. Wireless controllers isn’t 100% yet and exclusive game developers are non existent. So why spend money on it?

 

It has the Atari logo on it...not enough of an Atari experience for the price. Just my 2 cents.

I will mention my Apple point previously for the cost perspective.

 

Another thing I feel is this is really not a typical commercial product. Its start was by fans (crowdfunded). Keep in mind every product has release issues. The amount of money thrown at testing, support, and finally delivery (logistics) is not the same as the XBox,Playstation or even possibly the Original VCS 2600. It should be actually expected, in my professional opinion, that there will be some hiccups. I will not mention Covid-19 as a excuse but come on folks we have ran out of Toilet Paper and Meat in some areas.  Then think about all the software that is released today.

 

Commonly software comes out as a idea. Its developed. First release occurs the public pays a certain amount of money. Over time bug reports come in. They come in trust me on this one. Fixes are put in for the critical ones. Non critical or possible small enhancements are commonly corrected but not released. Then the next release comes out of the software, commonly based on the non critical and enhancements from the earlier release, the public again pays a similar amount or possibly a upgrade fee for next version. This continues indefinetly until the product life cycle is interrupted. In software commonly the most money is made in Support not in the sale of product.

 

Now take todays Atari. Their stock is at less than a dollar a share I see from a previous post. How much money do you think Atari  has to throw at  testing, support, and finally delivery. Hiring top talent? What are the stock values of Sony and Microsoft?

 

How can Atari improve its releases in the future... by investing its previous financial gains in testing, support, and logistics. How can it get there... by consumer support.

 

My two cents,

Chris

 

Edited by Solomon_Man

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1 hour ago, Solomon_Man said:

 

godslabrat,

I think the possibility of this being a one-off/abandonware destiny is the responsibility of the target group (Atari/Retro Fans).

 

That's...not how the market works.

 

The brand superfans have already ordered theirs. Anything after that Atari needs to earn with a compelling product. "Retro fans have a responsibility for its success" is a hopelessly backwards attitude.

 

Successful companies generate fans. Fans don't generate successful companies.

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2 hours ago, Solomon_Man said:

But I am the ones that will help keep the Retro-Computing Scene healthy financially so people will have options.

I'm curious what convinced you to spend money on VCS2020.  Looking at their web site right now and pretending I know nothing about how the project has been mismanaged to date, I really don't see any reason to buy this thing outside of plain nostalgia for the logo.  Based on the site, here's what they're selling:

  • "Built for today" with a list of current PC tech standards (HDMI, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc.)
  • "Born to be different" because it can boot Windows
  • "Play", "Stream", "Connect" - basic stuff every device sold in the last decade can do

So... why buy this?  Does it deliver a library of classic games that aren't available elsewhere? Does it provide a better experience playing classic games?  Are there interesting new games inspired by classics available or on the roadmap?

 

Really, the only thing they mention that has any potential to make this interesting beyond just having a neat box is the "Create" bit: "Develop new TV-based games and apps for yourself, your family, or to share with the Atari VCS community."  At least in concept, that would be an area where VCS2020 could differentiate itself and provide a feature that isn't bog-standard on every watch, thermostat, and refrigerator in 2020.

 

You'd expect a system that highlights "Create" as a fundamental feature to provide documentation, software, or even an expected roadmap to providing this functionality, but it's never again mentioned on the web site.

 

Atari is doing nothing for the retro computing or gaming scenes.

 

Here's a couple of retro-related products I'm actually looking forward to. In both cases, I'd say the companies involved are genuinely contributing to the health of and excitement for the retro scene, although they're going about it in different ways.

 

Analogue Pocket

Panic Playdate

 

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The

ataribox

crashes

occasionally, 

so

a

real

entertainment 

box

(eg

telesport,

turbographx

etc)

remains.

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59 minutes ago, racerx said:

 

That's...not how the market works.

 

The brand superfans have already ordered theirs. Anything after that Atari needs to earn with a compelling product. "Retro fans have a responsibility for its success" is a hopelessly backwards attitude.

 

Successful companies generate fans. Fans don't generate successful companies.

This.  I respect the "Personal Journey of an Atari Fan" story, but it's a story that ends in the mid-90s.  Someone's relationship with the old Atari has no relevance to their choice to buy a VCS... and if it does, they've been misled by a trio of Frenchmen who aren't even that good at misleading.  
 

If the VCS is to succeed beyond being excreted out of a factory, then l'Atari needs to provide a reason for current and new customers to buy it.  They haven't done so.  They don't appear to be doing so.  
 

Making the VCS was the easiest way out of a lawsuit by a company that doesn't know what they're doing.  

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2 hours ago, Solomon_Man said:

Think about Apple. The products are pricey to say the least. This pricey point keeps themable to be pumping out products. Some good some not so good but ultimately their survival is based on User base (Apple Fans).

 

Even Apple realised that there are only so many people in the world who can afford (or want) a $1200 phone.  That end of the market was saturated, hence the introduction of the iPhone SE at around the $400 mark.

 

2 hours ago, Solomon_Man said:

I think the possibility of this being a one-off/abandonware destiny is the responsibility of the target group (Atari/Retro Fans).

 

If there's nothing to buy (such as with short-production-run hardware) and/or no value proposition behind the products being offered, it doesn't matter how much your target audience may potentially be interested.  You'll sell one to everyone who wants one, then be left with a bunch of stock that will eventually have to be clearanced just to get it to move - and virtually nobody who buys clearance-sale electronics cares about longer-term viability of the product, or what's next in the hardware / software pipeline for that item.

 

Personally, I'd love to see the Fauxtaribox on store shelves at the $400 price point: we could then get some realistic metrics as relates to neo-VCS sales vs. the PS5, Xbox, and Switch.  However, given that there is no apparent sustainable revenue stream attached to the device, it's doubtful that Fauxtari will have the resources to make that happen.

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1 hour ago, jamm said:

Really, the only thing they mention that has any potential to make this interesting beyond just having a neat box is the "Create" bit: "Develop new TV-based games and apps for yourself, your family, or to share with the Atari VCS community."  At least in concept, that would be an area where VCS2020 could differentiate itself and provide a feature that isn't bog-standard on every watch, thermostat, and refrigerator in 2020.

 

You'd expect a system that highlights "Create" as a fundamental feature to provide documentation, software, or even an expected roadmap to providing this functionality, but it's never again mentioned on the web site.

 

Atari is doing nothing for the retro computing or gaming scenes.

If they really wanted to offer something interesting in this regard, the machine should have come with some kind of basic game designer - like Super Mario Maker, but for Atari 2600 games...Classic Atari Creator or some other kind of drag-n-drop game design program. You could even modes for different Atari platforms, 5200/7800/ST/Lynx/Jaguar. 

 

But of course, it would have taken a little money and some inspiration to do that. Instead, they're just hoping that all of the great homebrew game makers here on AA would drop making stuff for old Atari systems and go to theirs, because they noticed that some people will buy anything with an Atari logo on it, and watched that one scene from Field of Dreams where it was said: "Build it, and they will come"

 

The problem is that game consoles are not baseball fields.

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If you don't have anything positive to contribute to this thread and only want to be negative and overly critical without making a reasonable effort to defend your position, please find another thread to post in.  Calling other members "stupid" or other names for their opinions will also get you booted instantly from this thread.

 

 ..Al

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3 hours ago, racerx said:

 

That's...not how the market works.

 

The brand superfans have already ordered theirs. Anything after that Atari needs to earn with a compelling product. "Retro fans have a responsibility for its success" is a hopelessly backwards attitude.

 

Successful companies generate fans. Fans don't generate successful companies.

Totally. Look at Tesla. That thing was actually more likely to go the way of the DeLorean. Odds were totally against it. But awesome development, research, big money in prototype testing and clever but understated marketing built it a cult following, then full-on mainstream appeal. They built a great product, people bought it, those people became fans. Word of mouth and killer style made it worth hundreds of billions. 

 

Atari has fans. Fewer than before, but they're there. By the VCS team's own admission, this isn't for them- or, at least, not just them. It's for them AND modern gamers looking for a new console that can blow their minds. This doesn't seem to do that. The VCS isn't a Model S. It doesn't corner an ignored market sector, it simply borrows from a well trodden idea.

Edited by Atarick
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In the early days of this product,  I don't remember them courting any developers, and those with a sincere idea to make games for it (Remember Lodmot?) were met with stone cold silence,...Not even a talk to us later, just silence...

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53 minutes ago, Atarick said:

Totally. Look at Tesla. That thing was actually more likely to go the way of the DeLorean. Odds were totally against it. But awesome development, research, big money in prototype testing and clever but understated marketing built it a cult following, then full-on mainstream appeal.

 

There's a caveat to this, however: Tesla would either be a) dead or b) still converting Lotus Elises to electric power if not for receiving taxpayer money that enabled them to design and build the Model S.  In a sense, that could be seen as their Indiegogo campaign, but without the worry of having to repay the loan.

 

53 minutes ago, Atarick said:

They built a great product, people bought it, those people became fans. Word of mouth and killer style made it worth hundreds or billions.

 

I'd argue that Tesla developed some good technologies which were incorporated into their vehicles (and elsewhere), but that the overall quality of the vehicles was lacking and especially at the price points they've been targetting.  I've seen QC issues in Model S, X, 3, and Y vehicles released for sale that wouldn't fly on an assembly line in the darkest days of 1970s automobile manufacturing.  Can't argue with people having bought into them, though.

 

With Fauxtari, they developed nothing in hardware apart from a plastic case.  Everything else is off-the-shelf, except for the motherboard - which is host to entirely off-the-shelf hardware.  Really, the PCB is superfluous since there were ready-to-go designs that could have been used, but that's neither here nor there.  Ultimately it's just another x64 box.

 

53 minutes ago, Atarick said:

Atari has fans. Fewer than before, but they're there. By the VCS team's own admission, this isn't for them- or, at least, not just them. It's for them AND modern gamers looking for a new console that can blow their minds. This doesn't seem to do that. The VCS isn't a Model S. It doesn't corner an ignored market sector, it simply borrows from a well trodden idea.

 

And this is where I see the VCS sitting: in the same spot as one of Tesla's battery-powered Lotus Elises.  Not because it's likely to be the first in a long line of consoles from a revived Atari (which is highly-doubtful at this time), but because it's rudimentary in comparison to competition in its price range.

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7 minutes ago, GoldLeader said:

In the early days of this product,  I don't remember them courting any developers, and those with a sincere idea to make games for it (Remember Lodmot?) were met with stone cold silence,...Not even a talk to us later, just silence...

 

Yes, I can remember someone posting on the forems about all of the awesome games he was going to make 😜

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

 

Yes, I can remember someone posting on the forems about all of the awesome games he was going to make 😜

 

The guy that invented internet videos?

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3 hours ago, GoldLeader said:

In the early days of this product,  I don't remember them courting any developers, and those with a sincere idea to make games for it (Remember Lodmot?) were met with stone cold silence,...Not even a talk to us later, just silence...

Yep, it isn't remembered well now, but when they launched the IGG campaign, they setup a "[email protected]" e-mail that developers were supposedly supposed to contact to see about getting their games on the VCS. Everyone who tried were met with silence, and when asked about it, the best Atari could do was "Hmm, well, it should be working" then were glad when people stopped asking/complaining about it. Obviously it's fixed now, but it showed that early on it really was nothing more than a paper concept they were fundraising off of. 

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3 hours ago, Atarick said:

Totally. Look at Tesla. That thing was actually more likely to go the way of the DeLorean. Odds were totally against it. But awesome development, research, big money in prototype testing and clever but understated marketing built it a cult following, then full-on mainstream appeal. They built a great product, people bought it, those people became fans. Word of mouth and killer style made it worth hundreds of billions. 

yah, as @x=usr(1536) mentioned, that's not right.  Tesla does have a cult following and they are selling more units.  So congrats to them on that.  But it's still very much a fringe product with generally poor build quality, so it's not a success *yet*.

 

It *could* be if they solve the build issues and battery tech continues to improve, but now we have elon moving the company and the factories, so much of the build experience is going to be lost, focusing on a truck with an apparent market of one person, and the potential disappearance of governmental support.

 

on the one hand, it's entirely possible that tesla solves these problems and succeeds; it's also just as likely that Ford, GM and Toyota have been letting tesla and the smaller companies work out technology issues so that they can then use their production experience and marketing advantage to flood the market with lower cost, higher reliability EVs when the time comes.  That's either a very risky ploy or it's using a companies competencies to its advantage...only time will tell.

 

You can't really support a mass product with a cult following.  Even when Apple was collapsing, their computers were the machines of preference for design work, and PC weren't focusing on that market.  So in that situation apple was really the mass product for a particular segment and could survive by catering to that segment.

 

I'm not sure that tesla makes it as far as it does without the government support or what segment they're playing for.

 

So Tesla is very interesting and bears watching, but their story could still go either way at this point.

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There's a lot of poor information about Tesla here.  LOL especially on "cult following".  Tesla has already sold over one million cars globally and is actively building three new factories, including one here in Austin.  That's some cult, there.. 

 

Please get back on topic.

 

 ..Al

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Just now, AtariLeaf said:

Taco

Yeah, let's get away from that as well, I'm getting tired of it.

 

Thank you,

 

 ..Al

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35 minutes ago, Albert said:

There's a lot of poor information about Tesla here.  LOL especially on "cult following".  Tesla has already sold over one million cars globally and is actively building three new factories, including one here in Austin.  That's some cult, there.. 

 

Please get back on topic.

 

 ..Al

Sorry, I didn't mean to convey that. I was saying that early protos of Tesla, buzz on the engineering scene, buzz about the grants they got, performance at auto shows, seeing Musk in action, etc, got the cult following. The product being premium but effective made them a lasting winner. My main point was that Atari has neither the buzz nor the momentum to make this like that. They may have had that 3 years ago at E3, but the failure to really double down on securing IP for gaming libraries (exclusive to the console), limited development, and shady information on hardware specs left a lot of doubters. They could have kept teasing it awhile before going to the IndieGoGo launch, while getting proverbial ducks in a row. Alas, here we are.

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Just now, Atarick said:

Sorry, I didn't mean to convey that. I was saying that early protos of Tesla, buzz on the engineering scene, buzz about the grants they got, performance at auto shows, seeing Musk in action, etc, got the cult following. The product being premium but effective made them a lasting winner. My main point was that Atari has neither the buzz nor the momentum to make this like that. They may have had that 3 years ago at E3, but the failure to really double down on securing IP for gaming libraries (exclusive to the console), limited development, and shady information on hardware specs left a lot of doubters. They could have kept teasing it awhile before going to the IndieGoGo launch, while getting proverbial ducks in a row. Alas, here we are.

That's reasonable, and I agree that early on Tesla had more of a cult following (basically "early adopters"), but I feel they have moved well beyond that now.  And I agree that Atari has a tough road ahead of them to be successful with the Atari VCS.

 

 ..Al

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52 minutes ago, Albert said:

Atari has a tough road ahead of them to be successful with the Atari VCS.

 

Does it have to be that much of a tough road? A few well made exclusive games to get things going. Perhaps a Swordquest game remade in 3D world like a Tomb Raider type game. Adventure as an open world game. Haunted House as a survival horror type game. The hardware doesn't have to be cutting edge. Breath of the Wild was a wonderful game on less for example.

 

Then perhaps start releasing 7800, Lynx, Jaguar and other games exclusive to the VCS like Nintendo did with the NES and SNES for the Switch (and other systems). The model for success is there to follow and they have the IPs to do it. Of course it's going to take some better decisions then some they have made in the past.

 

I think the VCS was part of the longer plan though. Licensing the Atari name on merchandise and Flashbacks can only go so far for so long. But who knows? I didn't think there would 10 or more Flashbacks.

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4 minutes ago, MrSeven said:

I think the VCS was part of the longer plan though.

 

Maybe it was.

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