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The Atari VCS Controversies Thread

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10 hours ago, zzip said:

no wifi/BT without buying extra hardware and consuming USB ports.

Just to correct you, RPi 3B and 3B+ both have onboard WiFi and Bluetooth, no extra hardware needed. I would say these would be the minimum spec models to use for any decent emulation. 

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1 hour ago, Saldo said:

Just to correct you, RPi 3B and 3B+ both have onboard WiFi and Bluetooth, no extra hardware needed. I would say these would be the minimum spec models to use for any decent emulation. 

I used to use a Pi 2 with a ten dollar WiFi dongle for a while and that was mostly OK for emulation of systems up to and including the PlayStation. The 3B is only a little bit more powerful than it.

 

Obviously, if your buying one now, you might as well go for one of the models with WiFi built in. There's also the Zero W, which is much smaller and has very low power consumption, so quite popular with handheld setups. It's less powerful than a 2 but should still be good enough for 8/16-bit emulators.

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6 minutes ago, Matt_B said:

There's also the Zero W, which is much smaller and has very low power consumption, so quite popular with handheld setups.

 

 

 

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I finally found the fitting GIF for this whole geek bedtime story.  I've been looking for so long, check out the GIF thread some time.

 

I hope I get a VCS from my friend, I don't feel like printing the case.  Hmm, I wonder if he can get his hands on a clear one. :ponder:

 

djevojka-i-staklena-vrata.gif

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15 hours ago, Stephen said:

Which again begs the question!  Who would pay $400 for the VCS?  Who would pay $250 for it?  Why would they?

I see the virtue, more or less, in both. But for a person who browses online and doesn't "get" assembly or purchasing custom parts and accessories for a Pi, I get the appeal of a seemingly "plug and play" VCS. If a Netflix mom is searching for a console to buy her kids and the VCS price is sitting there around $300 or so (I do think it will drop) with a controller compared to a higher priced PS5 or XboxX, and the price for a Pi, all in, parts, controllers, case, RAM, all of it, is like $130 less (I'm guesstimating), but the latter requires assembly, I see it. 

 

Of course, that presumes that Atari is marketing this thing to that audience, and I see no evidence there is any active marketing campaign for retail, so...yeah. 

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If someone is looking for an inexpensive streaming device that plays games; a raspberry pi is a very good choice, but not the choice for most people.  There are many to choose from including Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, even Chromecast supports bluetooth game controllers now.

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55 minutes ago, Atarick said:

I see the virtue, more or less, in both. But for a person who browses online and doesn't "get" assembly or purchasing custom parts and accessories for a Pi, I get the appeal of a seemingly "plug and play" VCS. If a Netflix mom is searching for a console to buy her kids and the VCS price is sitting there around $300 or so (I do think it will drop) with a controller compared to a higher priced PS5 or XboxX, and the price for a Pi, all in, parts, controllers, case, RAM, all of it, is like $130 less (I'm guesstimating), but the latter requires assembly, I see it. 

 

Of course, that presumes that Atari is marketing this thing to that audience, and I see no evidence there is any active marketing campaign for retail, so...yeah. 

That's exactly it, though. The VCS is not an alternative to a Switch, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, or Xbox Series X and even getting "accidental" purchases is extraordinarily unlikely. Not only does it cost more than some of those options, but it has no native name recognition thanks to no advertising nor does it host any native games that might drive sales or otherwise attract attention.

 

There's also no evidence that Atari has any interest in attempting mass production, let alone the resources or potential sales to justify it. Again, going from 10,000 units to 20,000 units alone would be a huge effort, let alone starting to produce and sell in numbers that actually make the system relevant in any way. So we really have to see what happens after this first 10 - 12k units before we can see any path for things like accidental (or otherwise) sales. As has even been started by some VCS supporters, they already accomplished the main goal of delivering to their backers. They really don't have to do much of anything else at this point, especially anything that would involve risk and potentially irreparably damage the company.

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1 minute ago, Bill Loguidice said:

That's exactly it, though. The VCS is not an alternative to a Switch, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, or Xbox Series X and even getting "accidental" purchases is extraordinarily unlikely. Not only does it cost more than some of those options, but it has no native name recognition thanks to no advertising nor does it host any native games that might drive sales or otherwise attract attention.

 

There's also no evidence that Atari has any interest in attempting mass production, let alone the resources or potential sales to justify it. Again, going from 10,000 units to 20,000 units alone would be a huge effort, let alone starting to produce and sell in numbers that actually make the system relevant in any way. So we really have to see what happens after this first 10 - 12k units before we can see any path for things like accidental (or otherwise) sales. As has even been started by some VCS supporters, they already accomplished the main goal of delivering to their backers. They really don't have to do much of anything else at this point, especially anything that would involve risk and potentially irreparably damage the company.

 

I agree totally, I also have a theory here. As stated, Atari as constructed has no capacity for large-scale production. None. There are something like 30 employees and limited capital investment. By my rudimentary estimates, they sold ~15,000 VCS consoles/PCs/Hybrids during the IGG campaign. I suspect they may sell, say, another 7-10k in pre-sales, so just under 25,000 units total, as a ceiling. I still think this is a play to drive up the curb appeal of the brand and sell it. This would give Atari momentum, they have done a ton of work on the blockchain side (though admittedly much of that is way over my head), kept their footprint small, and have begun allocating capital for game development/acquisitions (per their investor statement and recent Chesnais interview). 

 

For the brand, which has turned a profit for the first time in, what, 25 years (?), having the ability to say "We generated interest in a new console and had pleasing interest that we feel can be cultivated further with additional resources, potentially forming a competitor to existing systems within the next 5-10 years" is not nothing. But it won't be this crew. It will take deep pockets and savvy with developers and others. But I do think that the VCS is nothing more than staging for a target market they can use as a cudgel when they go to market. "We did this, imagine what YOU, Mr. Investor-Bucks, could do!"  

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6 minutes ago, mr_me said:

If someone is looking for an inexpensive streaming device that plays games; a raspberry pi is a very good choice, but not the choice for most people.  There are many to choose from including Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, even Chromecast supports bluetooth game controllers now.

Yeah, pretty much everything is powerful enough now to host quality games, particularly when they're made for the native hardware and not trying to do something they really shouldn't.

 

In terms of the Apple TV, they actually make it quite easy to pair just a PS4 or Xbox One controller for use with Apple Arcade, which you get a free three month trial of when you purchase most Apple mobile products. It's not something I would personally bother with, but the selection and relatively low monthly subscription fees are impressive in their own way and of course usable on all of the other Apple devices.

 

The Apple TV has sold more than 25 million units lifetime, although to be fair that includes discontinued models in the total (and it gets the kind of support it does in part of course because of the countless iPhones and iPads sold). I mention that again only as a basis of comparison for what the 10,000 VCS units means in the grand scheme of things. That figure is really nothing in comparison to any category of device (SBC, console, set top box, mobile, etc.) and it's unclear how they're going to build that figure up. If the VCS platform really will last beyond this year they'll already need a strategy in place to both produce and move a lot more of these things.

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2 minutes ago, Atarick said:

 

I agree totally, I also have a theory here. As stated, Atari as constructed has no capacity for large-scale production. None. There are something like 30 employees and limited capital investment. By my rudimentary estimates, they sold ~15,000 VCS consoles/PCs/Hybrids during the IGG campaign. I suspect they may sell, say, another 7-10k in pre-sales, so just under 25,000 units total, as a ceiling. I still think this is a play to drive up the curb appeal of the brand and sell it. This would give Atari momentum, they have done a ton of work on the blockchain side (though admittedly much of that is way over my head), kept their footprint small, and have begun allocating capital for game development/acquisitions (per their investor statement and recent Chesnais interview). 

 

For the brand, which has turned a profit for the first time in, what, 25 years (?), having the ability to say "We generated interest in a new console and had pleasing interest that we feel can be cultivated further with additional resources, potentially forming a competitor to existing systems within the next 5-10 years" is not nothing. But it won't be this crew. It will take deep pockets and savvy with developers and others. But I do think that the VCS is nothing more than staging for a target market they can use as a cudgel when they go to market. "We did this, imagine what YOU, Mr. Investor-Bucks, could do!"  

I agree with nearly everything you've said here.  I'm skeptical, though, that a company exists that would be fooled by l'Atari's house of cards, yet would have the resources to sink into purchasing it.

 

Or to put it another way, I'm thinking if someone were going to purchase Chesnais, INC., they would have done so before now.

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6 hours ago, godslabrat said:

Or to put it another way, I'm thinking if someone were going to purchase Chesnais, INC., they would have done so before now.

Clearly the Kinko's money dried up a bit for now but from a reliable source I heard Team Savage is looking to buy out Fred. 

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28 minutes ago, TACODON said:

Clearly the Kinko's money dried up a bit for now but from a reliable source I heard Team Savage is looking to buy out Fred. 

Now would theoretically be an optimal time to buy, when the brand is profitable, small, and diversified enough to launch into a few different areas. Their current situation reminds me a little of BlackBerry, who struck out mightily with hardware but then turned into a privacy and security firm of sorts and saw their market share and profits recover some. Now, they are licensing the name to a company that plans to develop a new BlackBerry smartphone in the US for a niche target audience. If it sells well at a high price, maybe they explore a more economical option that can be more broadly sold and distributed. 

 

If nothing else, the VCS got the company PR. It was admittedly a PR disaster until shipping began, but now that backers have their consoles and the broader public has at least heard of a new Atari console, it opens the door for a more composed set of heads to maybe see that as an opportunity. To riff a quote for an overused adage, "it's the games, stupid." If Atari can outfit the VCS with great games and a lower price, they may have something to build on. It's not a finished deal, but someone with good connections and experience in the industry could mold and morph it into a thing ready for a broader retail footprint. 

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1 hour ago, TACODON said:

Clearly the Kinko's money dried up a bit for now but from a reliable source I heard Team Savage is looking to buy out Fred. 

the marriage of two beautiful stories...

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Whatever happened to the VW guy?  Isn't stock supposed to go up, upon release?  Is he chilling on his yacht?

 

 

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28 minutes ago, CPUWIZ said:

Whatever happened to the VW guy?  Isn't stock supposed to go up, upon release?  Is he chilling on his yacht?

 

 

Stocks are so 20th century. He's drowning in cash from the Atari Token (ATRI) release. It went from $0.25 to currently at $0.10. That's how you make money in blockchain, right?

 

He also has a couple of sockpuppets in the reddit group he's shilling with to pass the time between cashing enormous checks.

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Aren't sock puppets a copyright protected activity from Biff? Did he buy the rights with all those stock dividends?

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1 minute ago, 6502wrangler said:

 

Stocks are so 20th century.

 

I know, I am pretty disappointed with my companies stock, hardly any gain last year. :(

 

 

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10 hours ago, mr_me said:

There are many to choose from including Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, even Chromecast supports bluetooth game controllers now.

 

That is actually interesting, I have 2 x 4K AppleTV's, 2 x 1080p AppleTV's, 2 x 4K FireTV's and a Chromecast.  I have never even attempted to play a game on any of them.  But then again, I don't play games on my phones either, iPad's only occasionally.  Maybe that is why I don't really care about the VCS.  But I'd take the case and controller any day.  I'd be willing to buy multiple cases, actually, because they are from Atari and have the logo.  Even if I end up having to pay full price, I will turn one into a 7800 devkit, after I rip the guts out.

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On 1/2/2021 at 6:29 PM, aramis said:

I know you were referencing "older Pis" in your 3rd paragraph above, but check out the Argon ONE Pi 4 case if you haven't seen it.

https://www.argon40.com/argon-one-raspberry-pi-4-case.html

 $25. For $20 more, you can replace the bottom and get an M.2 slot for the Pi.

 

It has active cooling, a power on/off switch, and moves all connections to the rear.

 

A Pi 4, w/ 4 or 8GB RAM, along with its 2.4/5GHz WIFI, BT5.0, gigabit ethernet port, USB 3.0 ports, etc. is one HECK of a bargain, and looks very slick in that case.

I've seen cases like it,  and considered one for a while.   But I just got a Pi 400 for Christmas, so that seems like it addresses most of the ergonomic issues I've had with Pi's

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On 1/2/2021 at 4:07 PM, Shaggy the Atarian said:

The aforementioned Jaguar had 325k produced units and sold less than than. Never heard anyone call that a success, but a flop.

The Sega Dreamcast sold 10.6 million units between 1999-2007. Considered to be a failure. 

The WiiU only managed to sell 13.56 million units, also considered to be a flop.

The Ouya, another gaming flop that the VCS shares some similarities with, was considered to be a successful crowdfunded project, in terms of raising $8m and shipping out over 50k units to backers. But when it finally became available to the wider public, first month sales were "light" and the company eventually folded, selling a total of 200k units. Considered to be a flop.

 

For successes, recently the Nintendo Switch surpassed 70 million units sold; The PlayStation 4 sold around 108 million units. The PS5 & the Switch are currently in a battle for being the game device that people want, with the PS5 outselling the XBX so far and predictions that it'll reach 6 million units sold by March; The Switch is constantly having stock issues because it sells out as soon as stock is replenished.

 

Compare the VCS, which had plenty of time to drum up interest, being officially announced well before the PS5, only managed $3m in crowdfunding and not all of that went to game console purchases. Some were just for the joystick. In total that's about 11k, but actual console sales would be below 11k because of that. 

Again, the mistake you consistently make is comparing it to mainstream consoles.   It was never in competition with the big three, it was always going to be a niche product.  We knew that since the day it was announced!   It's not being produced in large quantities.   That aids in it's collectiblity. 

 

Atari today simply isn't capable of competing with the big three.   They don't have the resources.   That battle was lost in the 80s and 90s.     This is in a fairly new market for niche consoles, along with Amico, that KFC thingy and a few others.

 

So if your measure of success for the VCS is "why can't Atari make something to compete with the Switch"  keep dreaming!   What they've produced is the ultimate retro box, capable of playing virtually every game from every Atari system via emulation, and many other consoles, as well as many modern games that don't tax the GPU hard,  all in living room console form factor with cool Atari retro-stylings.

 

Obviously that won't appeal to everybody.   But that's fine,  don't buy one.   But it is appealing to some, and as long as Atari doesn't flood the market with them, it will remain a collector's item.

 

Now whether or not it is a financial success for Atari is another matter.  I don't know what their break-even point is on hardware.   Still even if it flops financially, it's an open system that you can do what you want with.   It has mainstream hardware, so it doesn't require custom software drivers, learning a new API or anything like that.   You don't have to wait for someone to decide to port games to it like Jaguar, you can copy them on a USB stick.    It's probably not ever going to have an exclusive library worth talking about, but that's not what the people who like it are looking for.  

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On 1/2/2021 at 3:48 PM, godslabrat said:

If that's true, and I have no real room to disagree, I'm still not seeing why the VCS is a compelling solution.  There already exist devices which can fill that need... for less money and with less user labor.  
 

With "living room retroboxes", you usually come down to people arguing between cheap devices you have to set up yourself (RPi, PC, Etc.) , or expensive ones that are ready out of the box (Polymega).  The VCS falls into neither camp, so I'm really not sure who it's cheerleaders are going to be.

Of course, it's whatever floats your boat.   I find the Pi's to be lacking for this purpose and would prefer to have something PC-based.   It has more options and less work.   Yes you can build a PC for possibly less,  but that also assumes your time isn't worth anything.   A lot of people would rather buy complete hardware

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45 minutes ago, zzip said:

Again, the mistake you consistently make is comparing it to mainstream consoles.   It was never in competition with the big three, it was always going to be a niche product.  We knew that since the day it was announced!   It's not being produced in large quantities.   That aids in it's collectiblity. 

 

If it costs as much as the Switch, it's in competition with the Switch.  

 

Not to mention, this is from Atari's website TODAY, not when it was first announced, TODAY:

 

"Atari® returns to the living room with the Atari VCS™ — a completely modern gaming and video computer system, blending the best of consoles and PCs to delight a whole new generation of gamers and creators."

 

So how is it not in competition with the Switch, PS, Xbox, etc., if it's not a "complely modern video gaming... system" and "blending the best of consoles and PCs"?  What part of this does NOT invite comparisons between the VCS and other relevant gaming devices?

 

 

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As a PC the atari vcs is far from complete, unless you're okay with chrome apps.  You can get a complete PC with linux preinstalled for less but not much less.  Besides raspberry pi, you can also get a complete arm based PC or set top box with linux or other os pre-installed and ready to go.

 

Is it possible to side load and run debian linux programs in the atari os?

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