More Atari VCS Details Emerge at E3
We’re coming up on the two-year mark since the Atari VCS (Video Computer System) was first introduced, and we now have a much clearer picture of what the console is going to look like on the inside, how much it’s going to cost, and what kinds of entertainment consumers are going to be able to enjoy. Ahead of E3 2019, the classic gaming brand teased some major upgrades that were planned for the system—which also resulted in it missing the promised Spring 2019 launch date. But at the show, Atari finally got down into the nitty gritty details of their first new console in decades.
Up front, we learned that all of the upgrade to the system have pushed the official launch date back by a year. Though preorders are officially live for the Atari VCS, the system won’t ship until March 2020.
Internally, we already know that the VCS will sport AMD’s new Ryzen chipset. Other specs unveiled at E3 2019 include two different versions of the system: 800 (8GB of RAM) and 400 (4GB) models that are both fully user upgradable by swapping in more RAM and expanding storage. The systems will be available as standalone units, which users can connect their existing Bluetooth and USB controllers and other peripherals to; and Atari will also have bundles available that include an Atari VCS Classic Joystick and the VCS Modern Controller.
Atari also unveiled that the system will come in three color variants—and depending on which color option piques the consumer’s interest most, they’ll have to alter where they’ll have to purchase the console. The company’s Black Walnut model will be made available through the Atari website, a Kevlar Gold version will be sold on Walmart.com, and an Onyx system will be made available through GameStop.com. Pricing will range from $249.99 for the base 400 model, $279.99 for the base 800 model, and $389.99 for the All In versions that ship with the 800 model and the two controllers. On their own the Classic Joystick will run consumers $49.99 while the Modern Controller will cost $59.99.
The fun didn’t stop there, though. Atari also detailed some of the entertainment functions that the system will provide users. The company leaned in heavy on the systems stem’s Sandbox Mode, which Atari said is “what makes the Atari VCS a very different game and entertainment machine.” With Sandbox, and the supporting AMD Ryzen chip, the VCS is capable of booting up and running multiple operating systems—including Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, and more—essentially turning the VCS into a powerful computer that happens to be plugged into your TV. And, as such, users have the ability to download any existing game libraries and other entertainment or productivity apps. The system is also capable of supporting standard Bluetooth keyboards, mice, and more—all of which was demoed at E3.
And, for those looking to use their Atari VCS as a movie streaming platform, the company noted that the VCS 800 supports 4K HDR movies and TV right out of the box. The 400 model will support standard 1080p with 4K available in certain apps and with the RAM upgrade options.
In all, it was a solid showing for the Atari VCS at E3 2019—even if we’re stuck waiting a little longer for the system.
What We’re Reading
- In an incredibly rare move, and perhaps in response to all of the leaks surrounding the device, Google confirmed the existence of the Pixel 4, months ahead of its expected October release. (CNET)
- Build your own 3D video games for free, using Google’s Prototype Product. (PCMag)
- DualShock 4 controller support in iOS 13 makes Fortnite on the iPhone even better. (Appleinsider)
Related story: Atari VCS Delayed Again, Gets a Spec Upgrade