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Mockduck

The Atari VCS Controversies Thread

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

Not necessarily.  An IPO (or buyout) does not guarantee that the executive staff of the company will remain in place after the event.  The buyer usually wants their own people in charge.

In an IPO there is not one buyer, but many buyers. There is no reason to think they wouldn´t want the successful Bushnell to continue. At least until he does something demonstratively stupid.

 

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

Doubtful.  At the time, IBM had no interest in non-business markets and toy companies didn't really understand how video gaming could fit into their lineup.

Even so, there are plenty of other companies with deep pockets. 

 

I just find it strange that Atari was able to supply the market with some expensive arcade machines, but wouldn´t be able to supply the market with many cheap machines.

 

Bushnell has said that he accepted the offer from Warner because he thought he didn´t need any more money at the time. That doesn´t sound like it was the only option.

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38 minutes ago, zzip said:

It works very well as a desktop PC, but it doesn't have a high-end GPU by any means, but people have still managed to get games like GTA V running on it.    I guess it depends what you want from it.

 

It should be able to run PC Android-  I haven't heard of anyone trying.  you might have to disable secure boot in the bios first.

Ah 😎 thanks so tempest4000 best game? Will any more good games come out. How did he get different company legacy 2600 games to stream on it? So there is licenses hope ;)

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

More likely scenario: Chesnais plays the, "Atari's back!" card, sells the company, and walks away.

There has been an element of pump and dump all throughout Chesnais´ ownership.

 

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

He's basically trapped there at this point: no other company would want to hire him after having watched how Atari SA was (mis-) managed under his watch.  Sending him over to the hotel and blockchain operation was more or less equivalent to Napoleon's exile to Elba.

He has run the company quite well. You have to look at the state it was in when he took over. He has done very well in licensing and crypto, but less so in making new games and the VCS, so it makes sense to put him where he is best suited.

 

I don´t think he will be working for others for much longer. He is his own man now. He has his own crypto company, and will be riding that wave until it is over, and then move on to something else.

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1 hour ago, Lord Mushroom said:

Atari didn´t market the VCS more because they knew it would only appeal to hardcore Atari fans, who would find out about it anyway.

 

They would have loved demand to be higher. Even if they couldn´t have got a partner to help finance a large scale production, they could have produced many more on their own than they have been producing. Even if they hadn´t been able to meet demand, they could just have increased the price, or have the news be full of headlines saying "Atari hit console sold out". They would have loved that.

I think if it hit its initial target of $199 when the project was in its absolute infancy (before the project was anything more than a rough plan), it would have been a more compelling offering to more people and more in line with other limited mini PCs. I think in that case it could have reached beyond the Atari logo audience and made more of an impact, especially since there are no real mini PCs with any type of hefty branding behind them. Economies of scale and other market realities once the project was formally underway made that price point impossible, of course.

 

The other factor was how long it took to complete the project, which, as we know, is not a good thing when it comes to technology unless you are able to use that extra time to offer better hardware or other features than initially promised. Unfortunately, that really didn't happen, so you had a product already in something of a deficit saddled with even greater deficits.

 

And finally, there's the long talked about issue of the VCS not having a unique place in the market. For all their stumbles, the Amico is still offering something different. Whether that works as a long-term strategy remains to be seen, but it's the kind of proposition that already appeals to more people. And then we only have to look at the frankly ridiculous Playdate and it already pre-selling 20,000+ units without breaking a sweat to see how much impact different can have if you get a bit lucky. So perhaps the VCS's biggest issue was not being more ambitious with what the device was intended to be and/or do.

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2 hours ago, ataritiger said:

Ah thank you. Jaguar imo is the last real console when it was still a large company and the vcs is a hybrid console from a guy who owns atari logo correct?

Today´s Atari is just a shadow of its former self. It is the brand, an IP of very early arcade and console games and some stuff from the remains of Infogrames, which bought it, but it is technically still Atari. And Atari was heavily involved in launching the VCS, so I consider it to be an Atari console.

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1 hour ago, zzip said:

But since most of the company's stellar success came after he left, I don't know what would have happened had he held onto the reigns longer.

We will never know what would have happened. Since the company did exceptionally well shortly after he left, it is unlikely he would have achieved the same results even if he had been provided the same amount of capital. Although, the following management were probably just following the path laid to them by Bushnell, only with an increased focus on sales. But I think he would have avoided a lot of the mistakes which led to Atari´s demise. So I think he would have done better in the long run.

 

1 hour ago, zzip said:

He is a serial entrepreneur and likely would have gotten bored and left to do something else either way.

If he wasn´t forced out, he would probably have left voluntarily at some point. But that could have been many years, possibly a couple of decades later.

 

With a well funded Atari, he could have developed those ideas within the company like Bezos and the Google guys have done. He would own a smaller share of each idea, but money would be less of an issue and he could utilize the Atari brand.

 

Don´t forget that he stayed for 2 years after he sold to Warner. And even then he might have left only because he was forced out.

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People may not like the new iteration of the Atari corporate brand, but while the VCS utilized and utilizes the services of quite a few outside contractors, the actual running of the game console is happening at Atari's New York City headquarters. Someone from Atari mentioned that to me once on the Discord when I wondered how much was being done at the Sunnyvale location. 

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4 minutes ago, Mockduck said:

People may not like the new iteration of the Atari corporate brand, but while the VCS utilized and utilizes the services of quite a few outside contractors, the actual running of the game console is happening at Atari's New York City headquarters. Someone from Atari mentioned that to me once on the Discord when I wondered how much was being done at the Sunnyvale location. 

Out of curiosity, when you say, "the actual running of the game console," are you referring to the server-side management or general business side?

 

As far as the server-side stuff goes, I'd imagine they're doing everything out of the cloud somewhere, but am wondering.

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1 minute ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Out of curiosity, when you say, "the actual running of the game console," are you referring to the server-side management or general business side?

 

As far as the server-side stuff goes, I'd imagine they're doing everything out of the cloud somewhere, but am wondering.

I believe it is largely cloud-based, would guess AWS. But yeah, specifically the core dev team, marketing/business group, and techops are being run out of NYC. 

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27 minutes ago, Mockduck said:

I believe it is largely cloud-based, would guess AWS. But yeah, specifically the core dev team, marketing/business group, and techops are being run out of NYC. 

Got it, and that's pretty much what I had assumed.  Thanks.

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22 minutes ago, Lord Mushroom said:

We will never know what would have happened. Since the company did exceptionally well shortly after he left, it is unlikely he would have achieved the same results even if he had been provided the same amount of capital. Although, the following management were probably just following the path laid to them by Bushnell, only with an increased focus on sales. But I think he would have avoided a lot of the mistakes which led to Atari´s demise. So I think he would have done better in the long run.

Part of Atari's success was due to the ground work laid by Bushnell & Co.   Part of it was luck-  games like Space Invaders and especially Pac Man made the arcade business and home console business explode.  So Atari was in the right place at the right time.  

 

The other part was marketing.   For all the flak Warner Atari gets about their bad decisions, they did have a powerful marketing organization- Space Invaders and Pacman had nothing to do with Atari-  until Atari marketing beat everyone else out for the license and made those games synonymous with Atari.

 

So I supposed the key to Atari's success in an alternate Scenario where Warner doesn't buy or Bushnell doesn't leave is whether they are able to build the equivalent or better marketing organization.

1 hour ago, Lord Mushroom said:

With a well funded Atari, he could have developed those ideas within the company like Bezos and the Google guys have done. He would own a smaller share of each idea, but money would be less of an issue and he could utilize the Atari brand.

True..  or run multiple companies like Elon Musk.     I'm not sure how well that would have been tolerated in those days.   Bushnell was early, he was in there a little before the era of the superstar tech entrepreneur (Gates/Jobs/Bezos/etc)

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7 hours ago, doctorclu said:

 

It was hardware that was released with a unique set of games under the flag of "Atari" so, yes.

 

And now Jaguar isn't the biggest and last failure.  :D

Atari lost $100+ million on the Jaguar; it's still the bigger failure.

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24 minutes ago, zzip said:

So I supposed the key to Atari's success in an alternate Scenario where Warner doesn't buy or Bushnell doesn't leave is whether they are able to build the equivalent or better marketing organization.

Let´s keep it simple and stick to Warner doesn´t buy. I think it is safe to say that the marketing (commercials and stuff) under a non-Warner Atari would have been considerably weaker. Ray Kassar hired a ton of sales people. But I think it is almost equally safe to say that quality control would have been stronger.

 

And I don´t think Bushnell had any problems with third party developers, so top non-Atari arcade titles should still have found their way to the 2600. Although, maybe not as exclusively.

 

So the 2600 would have sold a lot less, at least in the first years. But the release of rushed low quality games, the alienation of game developers, the low quality of the hardware of some of the following consoles and the delay of the 7800 would probably have been avoided. There is a good chance they would have been the dominant console maker at least until Sony got involved.

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4 minutes ago, Lord Mushroom said:

And I don´t think Bushnell had any problems with third party developers, so top non-Atari arcade titles should still have found their way to the 2600. Although, maybe not as exclusively.

He couldn't have had any issue with third-party developers; all development for the 2600 under Bushnell was first-party.  Activision didn't exist until a few months after he had been replaced as CEO.

 

In any case, I've lost track of what it is we're actually discussing.  The comment I made regarding third-party developers was in relation to the Jag, not any system prior to that.  Even going back and rereading the thread from that point on I can't tell how this became intertwined with the 2600.

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9 minutes ago, Lord Mushroom said:

So the 2600 would have sold a lot less, at least in the first years. But the release of rushed low quality games, the alienation of game developers, the low quality of the hardware of some of the following consoles and the delay of the 7800 would probably have been avoided. There is a good chance they would have been the dominant console maker at least until Sony got involved.

The 2600 sales weren't that strong until Space Invaders came along

 

Bushnell was already thinking the 2600 would be obsolete by 1980 and was working on a successor.   Ray Kassar brought the GCC guys on board because he was desperate for 2600 programmers when a big chunk of his programming staff were fleeing to start new companies.

 

So I think the 7800 doesn't exist in this timeline.  The 2600 successor would likely still be based on the Colleen project in some form, but maybe come earlier than the 5200 in 1982.  That might be a good thing because Christmas 82 was just a bad time to launch a console in retrospect.

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1 hour ago, x=usr(1536) said:

He couldn't have had any issue with third-party developers; all development for the 2600 under Bushnell was first-party.  Activision didn't exist until a few months after he had been replaced as CEO.

I meant primarily that I didn´t think he had any reservations against third party developers. Although, I was surprised to hear that he had no such dealings at all.

 

1 hour ago, x=usr(1536) said:

In any case, I've lost track of what it is we're actually discussing.  The comment I made regarding third-party developers was in relation to the Jag, not any system prior to that.  Even going back and rereading the thread from that point on I can't tell how this became intertwined with the 2600.

The discussion I am having with a few people originated when someone said Atari has never been run well. I said Bushnell ran it well. It was then pointed out that the big success came under Warner ownership. It then became a discussion of whether Atari would have been better off if Bushnell hadn´t sold it. And a big part of the answer to that question is how Bushnell would have handled the 2600.

Edited by Lord Mushroom

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11 minutes ago, Lord Mushroom said:

I meant primarily that I didn´t think he had any reservations against third party developers. Although, I was surprised to hear that he had no such dealings at all.

It always seemed like Atari was caught off-guard by third party support,  but a company like Warner should have forseen that,  after all they were making records for turntables produced by other companies and presumably videotapes by that point as well.

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It seems I have co-hijacked another VCS-thread, so I have made a thread about what would have happened if Bushnell hadn´t sold Atari.

 

 

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10 hours ago, doctorclu said:

 

It was hardware that was released with a unique set of games under the flag of "Atari" so, yes.

 

And now Jaguar isn't the biggest and last failure.  :D

There's a unique set of games for the VCS? That's news to me ;) 

 

5 hours ago, ataritiger said:

Ah 😎 thanks so tempest4000 best game? Will any more good games come out. How did he get different company legacy 2600 games to stream on it? So there is licenses hope ;)

Atari did show Tempest 4000 for the VCS in their IGG video, but as of this moment, it is not officially available on the console. You have to have purchased it on Steam and run it in PC mode with Windows.

 

As for will any more good games come out, the only recent game announcement I've noticed is Food Fight, but that will only be exclusive to the VCS for a short time, then it'll be released for everything else.

 

Ultimately, the lack of content is what is sinking this thing. That's something us haters have pointed out many times, but it doesn't matter to those who truly believe that the VCS brings Atari "back." Speaking of that...

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

More likely scenario: Chesnais plays the, "Atari's back!" card, sells the company, and walks away.

 

I've lost track of how many times modern Atari has used the "Atari is back!" canard over the past several years. Here's one from 2014. Pretty sure I've seen them use it in 2017 when they announced the VCS, and a few other times too. They love that phrase like a furniture warehouse loves using going-out-of-business sales once every six months :P 

 

atarimobile4

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28 minutes ago, Shaggy the Atarian said:

Atari did show Tempest 4000 for the VCS in their IGG video, but as of this moment, it is not officially available on the console. You have to have purchased it on Steam and run it in PC mode with Windows.

Let's not forget a few things about Tempest 4000.  First, when Atari showed it on the VCS it was all lies.  The controller was not hooked up, they used regular PC screenshots.  If we can ignore the fact that they were flat out lying, we cannot ignore the fact that Atari sued Jeff Minter and tried to get the game stopped.  They have also prevented a (completed and working BTW) VR version of Tempest on the PS4 console.  Anyone lamenting the fact that there is no VR Tempest, can thank Atari for preventing it.

 

So if this is the best they have to offer, I wouldn't hold out hope for anything else.  Also - who cares if it is on that system.  There's other ways of playing it, such as PS4 and oh yeah - ANY EXISTING PC already out there.

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8 hours ago, Bill Loguidice said:

I think if it hit its initial target of $199 when the project was in its absolute infancy (before the project was anything more than a rough plan), it would have been a more compelling offering to more people and more in line with other limited mini PCs. I think in that case it could have reached beyond the Atari logo audience and made more of an impact, especially since there are no real mini PCs with any type of hefty branding behind them. Economies of scale and other market realities once the project was formally underway made that price point impossible, of course.

 

The other factor was how long it took to complete the project, which, as we know, is not a good thing when it comes to technology unless you are able to use that extra time to offer better hardware or other features than initially promised. Unfortunately, that really didn't happen, so you had a product already in something of a deficit saddled with even greater deficits.

 

And finally, there's the long talked about issue of the VCS not having a unique place in the market. For all their stumbles, the Amico is still offering something different. Whether that works as a long-term strategy remains to be seen, but it's the kind of proposition that already appeals to more people. And then we only have to look at the frankly ridiculous Playdate and it already pre-selling 20,000+ units without breaking a sweat to see how much impact different can have if you get a bit lucky. So perhaps the VCS's biggest issue was not being more ambitious with what the device was intended to be and/or do.

Yeah, if they'd got it to market at under $200 in 2018 they might have had something. There weren't a lot of credible mini PC options at that time; you had either expensive office/industrial PCs or very low end streaming boxes with not a lot in between. That was also a fair bit less than the PS4 and XB1 at the time, which were up around the $300-350 mark with the next generation refreshes typically costing you another $150-200 more. I don't think they were ever looking at something that could have sold millions, but it at least had a niche.

 

Three years later and at a higher price, they've lost all that. They're right up against a newer generation of consoles at around the same price, those formerly expensive office mini PCs are now being sold for $200, and a bunch of other disruptors are moving into the market. Expectations of how the likes of Stadia, Steam Deck, Amico, Playdate and the Pi 400 will fare are going to vary, but they're all things that the VCS wouldn't have had to worry about at all if they'd got it out on time.

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I am in the UK.  So for me to get an Atari VCS 800 means it will cost an extra 30 percent in import taxes.   I thought the $/£ price tag of 200 would have made the console interesting enough for most people to get one.  Like the much delayed Amico (yep just been delayed to Christmas) they have a major competitor in the form of the the Xbox series S. £250 making it cheaper than the VCS. I already have 350 dlc games on xbox so when I get one I have a built in library of 350 to be played.  This is the problem for the Amico as well.  The VCS at 350-400 comes up against the superior and mighty Switch.  It is dead in the water against that console. 

 

Though at least they have not done a linux convert of Tempest 4k.  For all the people knocking the Jag, Tempest 2k is still the pinnacle of the game.  Plays better than tempest 4k which is a major disappointment for me.  I bought it and was like amazing a few months later I am saying, broken.  Badly play tested and it should have had a copy of tempest 2k with it.  So I would have something Atari to play.  I love Tempest, love it to death.  Best game ever released.  Tempest 2k probably played it for 1000 hours.  Tempest 4k 7 hours according to steam.

 

Off to play Gravitar now. 

Edited by bloodreptile
Spelling mistake plus more love for Tempest 2k
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On 8/6/2021 at 3:01 PM, Shaggy the Atarian said:

 

I've lost track of how many times modern Atari has used the "Atari is back!" canard over the past several years. Here's one from 2014. Pretty sure I've seen them use it in 2017 when they announced the VCS, and a few other times too. They love that phrase like a furniture warehouse loves using going-out-of-business sales once every six months :P 

 

atarimobile4

 

Then there were all the times that "Nutari" promised a certain date but it would get delayed.

 

Reminds of another thread with somebody typing, "I told you it was delayed again!!!111111one111111."

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On 7/15/2021 at 8:50 PM, x=usr(1536) said:

Asking for a friend: now that we're eight days past your NDA's expiration, when will the beans be spilled?

And, one day past the one-month mark of @The Historian's VCS-related NDA going necrotic, we hear sweet fuck-all from him.

 

There are a number of things that one could infer from this, but I'm just going to go with him being utterly full of shit.  He is more than welcome to prove me wrong on this front, but my expectations in that regard are low.

 

Stick a fork in him; he's done.  Nothing else to say since he still hasn't been here since the 17th of June.

 

179672572_TheHistorianActivity.thumb.jpg.c9e6be2d569e50335a778e7a901d01a6.jpg

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