Most of you might not even know Atari, it was one of the first companies to launch a dedicated gaming console. However, its glory days are way in the past and it has been replaced by companies like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. It has been a long time since we have seen a gaming console from Atari, to be precise, the last console Atari released was the Jaguar, back in 1993 and it was a huge flop for the company. Since then the company has changed multiple ownerships, went bankrupt, got a hotel and much more.
Now the company thinks it is the perfect time to get back into the game with the next-generation Sony PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X getting launched globally. With its new Atari VCS (formerly known as the Ataribox), it is hoping to take on Sony and Microsoft, and gain a spot in your living room.
Atari VCS is currently available for pre-order on its official website at $389.99 (approximately Rs 28,804), which is comparatively similar to the new PS5 Digital Edition and the Xbox Series X. The device is a PC console hybrid that can play over 100 classic Atari titles and multiple new titles, that too in up to 4K HDR resolution. It will start shipping in Fall 2020. The console is currently available only in the US, Australia and New Zealand. However, it is expected to go in sale in more countries after the launch.
Apart from the official Atari website, the console can also be pre-ordered from Walmart and GameStop. People ordering from the Atari website will be able to get the Black Walnut colour option, whereas, people getting the device from Walmart or GameStop will get the Carbon Gold or Onyx colour options, respectively. Additional controllers are sold separately, priced at $59.99 (approximately Rs 4,432) for both the wireless classic joystick and the wireless modern controller, individually.
Atari after being sold due to bankruptcy back in 2013, announced that it was back in the hardware business and would be launching a device based on the PC technology. After which in 2017 it announced the Ataribox at E3.
With the Atari VCS the company claims that it will help bring a full PC experience to the TV, from gaming to streaming content online.
The Atari VCS will ship with two controllers, which will also be sold separately at $59.99 (approximately Rs 4,432) per controller. The wireless classic joystick is a replica of the original paddle controller that used to ship with Atari consoles back in the day. It has a multi-directional joystick along with a single button. The wireless modern controller, looks more like a recent controller that ships along with the current generation consoles. It resembles the Xbox One controller with four face buttons, a d-pad and two thumbsticks.
The Atari VCS is a console built for today according to the company and looking at its specifications, it does seem so. The device is pretty sleek and made to resemble the Atari 2600, along with modern ports and a highly customisable PC mode.
Atari VCS 800 is powered by the AMD Raven Ridge 2 processor paired with a Ryzen GPU. It comes with 8GB of DDR4 RAM (user upgradable) along with 32GB of eMMC storage expandable via USB and cloud. The device can output 4K HDR video content and comes with HDCP 2.2 integration. It also supports a keyboard and a mouse.
One of the most interesting things about this hybrid console is that it can run multiple operating systems. It comes with a custom fork of Linux, called Atari World. And the user in the Atari PC Mode can install any other operating system on to the device including Linux, Windows, Steam OS and Chrome OS.
The company has also announced that it will offer a low powered variant, called the Atari VCS 400 later, with 4GB of RAM and streaming capabilities of only up to 1080p.
The Atari VCS will come with the company’s own Atari Vault software, which will feature more than 100 arcade and home classics. The company has not revealed the names of these games as of now and states that it will do so near the launch. But we expect it to bundle classic games like Pong, Asteroids, Missile Command, Night Driver, Breakout, Centipede and more.
The company has also reassured gamers that they will also be able to play indie games and triple-A titles on it too. But it did not state in which mode. This could simply mean that users install Windows in the PC Mode and then play these games via Steam.
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