Following a string of delays, Atari announced it is “deep in the final stages of pre-production” for the Atari VCS.
Originally announced in late 2017 as the Ataribox, the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign was pushed back to summer 2018 and the console was re-branded the Atari VCS.
More concerns were raised just last month after Atari VCS architect Rob Wyatt announced his departure, alleging that Atari owed him and his company Tin Giant “over six months” worth of invoices.
However, in a lengthy blog post, Atari VCS COO Michael Arzt has made assurances that the Atari VCS launch is imminent, and that Indiegogo backers should be receiving their console ahead of the March release window, along with a bonus reward for their patience.
Arzt said the March 2019 delay was to improve the console’s performance and lifespan, make it cooler and quieter, and adjust the gamepad and joystick following extensive testing.
“Atari will always prioritise delivering a high-quality product over a self-imposed deadline,” he added. “That was true at the project’s start, it was true in March 2019, and it is true today.”
While Atari is still being closeted regarding certain features and partnerships, Arzt said the company is working with some very large brands, and currently on-boarding both game and app developers.
The console will run on Atari OS, which is based on Linux, and offers full 4K 60fps HDR content. While it will launch without certain third-party apps, they will still be accessible through the built in web browser, and a full complement of apps will arrive in Spring 2020.
Thanks to recent innovations like Google Stadia, the games industry has changed a lot since the Atari VCS was first announced. However, Arzt said these developments actually “validated our approach.”
“The Atari VCS was designed with digital delivery as part of the plan from conception,” he added. “Digital delivery is the current and future state of the games and entertainment industry and how many customers increasingly prefer to discover and purchase new content… The Atari VCS is designed to be able to embrace any compatible game streaming platform, like Stadia and others still to come down the road.”