Well, today Atari finally released some meaningful information concerning the VCS; indiegogo funded console. Backers and followers received the following email today:
Hello Backers, Fans, and Followers!
Ready for some exciting new Atari VCS news? After a bit more radio-silence than we’d planned, we’re now ready to talk about something you’ve all been wanting to hear a lot more about: games!
And it’s not just a few games either. We’re talking about thousands of games, ready for you to play, at the launch of the Atari VCS. As you are reading this, we have dropped a press release announcing our exclusive partnership with Antstream Arcade to deliver the entire retro Atari games back catalog to the Atari VCS, along with thousands of other fully-licensed classic games available on the Antstream service. So, along with beloved Atari classics like Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command, there are thousands of additional arcade, desktop, and console titles available, such as Bad Dudes vs. DragonNinja, Double Dragon, Jumpman, Metal Slug and many others.
Once again, please complete your BackerKit survey as soon as possible. There are still more than 300 backers who need to do this. Check your spam filter for the address you used on Indiegogo if you have not seen the emails from BackerKit or go to https://atari-vcs.backerkit.com/ and request a survey. This survey and your backer profile is the best way to ensure that you will get all the right products sent to the right place at the right time.
As always, thanks again to every backer for your ongoing support. Things are heating up!
— The Atari VCS Team
So is this something to be excited about? Ok, maybe this isn’t something to be very excited about. Well, what if I told you that you don’t even have to have the Atari VCS to be able to access Ant Stream? Yep, that’s right, it’s currently available in beta format to kickstarter backers (yes another crowdfunded project) only at a price of €9.99/month, which translates to $10.93/month on PC, Xbox One and Android. Ant Stream’s FAQ page also states they are actively working on Nintendo Switch and PS4 applications. So in short, this service is literally going to be revealed everywhere.
I’m personally very intrigued by the streaming service being offered by Ant Stream, but based on the latest press release it sounds like Atari wants you to think this is an exclusive to their glorified Linux box. As cliche as it sounds, it is a Netflix of retro gaming. If this takes off I’d love to see them acquire rights to bigger name developers, but their beginning lineup seems interesting.
Full disclosure, I am not a backer of the Atari VCS. I feel that this is a product that is aimed at a target demographic that does not care anymore about buying the latest hardware. The people who grew up playing Atari consoles are at the youngest in their late 40s. The atGames Atari Flashback consoles were priced right and a simple plug and play solution at the right price for this demographic. Classic Atari games are not known for their impressive graphics. They are a relic of a simpler time in video gaming history. Most games are fun for a trip down nostalgia lane, but not anything someone would or should pay nearly $11/month for on top of purchasing a console that has a low end price tag of $250.
Atari did finally do something that surprised me. They showed off some actual photos of the internal hardware for what has been nothing but a plastic shell up to this point. Thankfully, the photo clearly shows the AMD Ryzen processor that has been promised. For anyone who is more technically inclined please comment below if you can provide further insight on this first look at the pre-production boards. Here’s the photo:
Will Atari end up with a hit on their hands or will they need to start excavating a new landfill in New Mexico? Only time will tell.
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