Featuring 4K HDR output, built-in WiFi, and Bluetooth the resurrection of the Atari VCS 2020, aka the Atari box is light years beyond the original console. But a lengthy launch period and several delays have cast doubt on its release. With some people calling it the Fyre Festival of gaming. But let’s assume the best because it could happen. Here is what we know about the new Atari console.
Atari interactive announced the new Atari VCS console back in June of 2017 and started taking pre-orders about a year later – and we have been waiting ever since. Currently, the official release date is set for November 27, 2020. The date has moved several times, most recently and understandably the launch was pushed from March 2020 due to COVID.
Walmart and GameStop are both selling the device, but only GameStop will take your money right now. It’s important to note GameStop lists the release date as TBD. Meanwhile, WalMart is showing that the item is out of stock.
Available in two flavors the Atari VCS 800 base model starts at $299 and the “all in bundle” is $399. It includes two controllers, a classic joystick and a more modern controller. Oddly the base model does not come with a controller. So you will probably need to add $60 to the order.
The new console has an upgraded and embedded 14 nm AMD Ryzen processor with Radeon Vega-based graphics and two Zen CPU cores. The new AMD processor supports native 4K video playback with modern HDCP, has built-in Ethernet, and a secure framebuffer.
The games, well there has been no official release of the games shipping with the console but here is what we know. Astroids has been demonstrated in the black and white arcade version (not the 2600 version). Night Driver, Breakout, Code Breaker, Adventure, Circus Atari, Yar’s Revenge, Star Raider, Missle Command, Swordquest Waterworld, Crystal Castles, and Gravitar have been shown as box art for games available. Assuming they are only advertising what is actually shipping. Head to head Centipede has been demoed and so has a modern version of Tempest.
This spring, Atari announced the first batch of 500 production units (that’s right only 500) were ready to ship by mid-June. On June 25, 2020, they announced the all of the 10,000 VCS units pre-ordered will ship to the early backers this Fall.
Recently Atari announced the support of Blockchain-games on the console.