There’s finally light at the end of the tunnel for the initial backers of Atari’s VCS retro-console. The device was first introduced to us just over three years ago as the Ataribox (before it was renamed), and preorders first went live on Indiegogo on May 30th 2018.
Atari says that it has just put the “finishing touches” on the first batch of VCS consoles that will be shipping out to customers. The consoles are currently crossing the Pacific Ocean en route to Atari’s fulfillment center in California. From there, they’ll be shipped out to those early bird Indiegogo backers within the United States.
Among the first batch of consoles being shipped are 6,000 Atari VCS 800 Collector’s Edition models — each console is numbered and authenticated — that were designed with inspiration from the original Atari 2600. The Atari VCS has gone through a number of changes — both in design and hardware — since its announcement, but these are the final specs for the console:
- Operating System: Ubuntu Linux (Linux Kernel 4.10)
- Processor: AMD Bristol Ridge A1
- GPU: Radeon R7
- RAM: 4GB DDR4
- Internal Storage: 32GB eMMC
- External Storage: USB or microSD card
- Connectivity: HDMI 2.0, GbE, USB 3.0 x4, Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi
The VCS is priced at $299, and comes standard with a Classic Joystick. You can also get a bundle with a Classic Controller and a Modern Controller for $339. If you prefer, you can hook up your own preferred USB or Bluetooth controller as well, in addition to a keyboard and mouse. In addition to having support for a full back catalog of over 100 classic games via the Atari Vault, there will also be new games designed specifically for the VCS that will be available from its own games store.
However, the VCS is going to need to deliver a lot more than nostalgia at its asking price. At $299, gamers can also get a brand new, next-generation Xbox Series S gaming console that is far superior in both processing and graphics power. Or perhaps some gamers would be willing to pony up an extra $100 for the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition?
What say you, HotHardware readers? Is the Atari VCS something that is on your radar as a console gamer, or would you rather have an Xbox Series S or PlayStation 5? Give us your feedback in the comments section below.