Atari VCS Announced During Game Developers Conference

Atari’s proposed return to the console ring came last year when CEO Fred Chesnais revealed the Ataribox, a hardware system based on PC technology. At this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC), the company has rebranded the console as ‘Atari VCS’ (Video Computer System) and will make it available for playtesting along with prototypes of the Classic JoyStick and Modern Controller.

The original plan for the Atari VCS, which is described as a progressive silhoutte of the iconic Atari 2600 console, was to seek funding via an Indiegogo campaign, scheduled for December 14. Things screeched to a halt when Atari delayed the launch, explaining to potential backers that a “key element” on its checklist was missing. Michael Arzt, Atari COO of Connected Devices, somewhat clarified the decision at GDC:

“With the Atari VCS name, we know how important it is to get everything completely right and that’s why we briefly paused an imminent launch late last year. It was a difficult decision with the countdown underway, but we weren’t willing to go forward with even one thing out of alignment. We hope that Atari’s fans appreciate our extreme attention to detail and are as excited about the Atari VCS as we are.” 

Atari says the Atari VCS is more than a nostalgia box. In addition to a lineup of classic games, its Linux based OS will enable players to run most PC games, and internet connectivity — allowing you to stream, use apps and conduct searches — is included.

Atari’s modern controller prototype. The physical configuration bears the greatest similarity to Microsoft’s Xbox One controller. Credit: Atari

The exclusive pre-order date for the Atari VCS will be unveiled in April. Stay tuned to Gameranx for more breaking GDC coverage.