Atari has finally gone public with a solid date for delivery of the first batches of all-new VCS consoles. In a Tweet on Sunday the iconic gaming firm said that pre-order customers can secure an Atari VCS 800 (8GB) all-in bundle for early-adopter price of $389.99 (wow, $10 off MSRP). It added that if you order by 31st July you will get free shipping and "guaranteed delivery before 24th December, 2020".
Other players in the video game industry have been cont ent to sell of mini-versions of their legendary consoles but Atari has taken a different tack altogether, perhaps because it doesn't have a contemporary machine to profit from. So the new Atari VCS is a full sized machine that echoes the design of old, it will play plenty of classic old Atari games, and there are premastered and reimagined versions of these games on the way too.
Last but not least the modern Atari VCS is basically capable of functioning as a PC, with its recently announced Atari PC Sandbox Mode which lets you install any operating system in addition to the console OS. In that story you can see an embedded video of a tester running Netflix and Disney+ in Atari Mode, another shows the console playing Call of Duty: Warzone in PC Sandbox mode.
It is probably fair to say that the Atari VCS has been a long time coming. It was announced in March 2018 before hitting IndieGogo in May of that year. Since then the hardware price seems to have more or less doubled, but at least it has been upgraded quite a distance beyond the 2018 draft.
Current and final Atari VCS 800 System specs are summarised below:
- Dimensions: 11.6 x 5.9 x 1.9-inches (Approx.)
- Weight: 3lbs. (Approx.)
- Materials: Plastic, Metal, Wood
- Operating System: Atari Custom Linux OS (Linux Kernel)
- AMD Ryzen Embedded R1606G processor
- Storage: 32GB eMMC internal, unlimited external USB HD/stick, cloud (subscription required)
- RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM (upgradable)
- Compatible Systems: Linux, Windows, Steam OS, Chrome OS
- Power: Low TDP architecture - Less Heat & Noise
- Wireless Connections: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4/5GHz, Bluetooth 4.0
- Wired Connections: HDMI 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, 4x USB 3.1
- USB Ports: 2x front, 2x rear
- External Inputs: Classic Joystick, Modern Controller, Microphone, Others TBD
- Mouse & Keyboard Support: Yes, USB or Bluetooth
- 4K Video w/ HDCP 2.2 Integration: Yes
- Internet Connection Required: Not for classic gaming but required to access all features
If you prefer the wood veneer finished model it is an Atari online store exclusive. The black version is likewise only available from GameStop, and the Onyx version from Walmart. When released you should be able to buy systems, controllers and joysticks separately.
Unfortunately for Atari the likes of Microsoft and Sony are releasing their next gen consoles in time for Christmas too. We don't have finalised pricing for the Microsoft and Sony consoles but the entry level digital-only versions could easily be US$400 or not much more. For these next gen machines it will be possible to fire up Atari Flashback Classics vol. 1 + 2 for 100 classic Atari titles on your TV, via backwards compatibility features.