We first heard word of Atari’s upcoming new home console in summer 2017 as the company confirmed it was getting back into the hardware business. The nostalgic brand has been largely quiet since its golden age some 40 years ago now, but today we are getting an official name for the new Atari machine as well as an official pre-order window.
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After appearing more like an awesome E3 2017 hoax, the new Atari VCS home console is definitely the real thing and is going up for pre-order next month.
The “VCS” stands for Video Computer System. A throwback to the Atari 2600’s original name. The company changed the name of the 2600 once the more powerful 5200 hit the marketplace in order to clearly show how much more horsepower the newer model was packing.
The Atari VCS is essentially a PC with its own OS and full support for what sounds like your usual breadth of console-based apps. As far as the games go, everything sounds like it will run on Linux. There will be a large lineup of Atari classics available at launch from a wide selection of studios, according to the company.
It will also be able to play other Linux titles users have already purchased through other platforms, providing they are compatible with the VCS’s hardware capabilities. HDMI, USB, SD card and ethernet all appear to be present here in terms of connectivity.
Reports suggest you can expect only lesser intensive titles to work on the built-in, custom AMD processor (APU) and Radeon graphics. Many are comparing the Atari VCS to the NES Classic Edition consoles, but it sounds like it might be a little more powerful than that.
As we reported back in July, the Atari VCS will ship in two different flavors. The classic wood grain look is heavily inspired by the 2600 and we are also getting a more sleek-looking black and red model.
Pre-orders for the Atari console will go live starting in April according to reports, although we aren’t entirely sure the $250 and $300 price tags that last surfaced are still accurate. There will also be several memory configurations available which could in-turn reach into your pocket even deeper.
Referred to as a gaming and entertainment system, Atari is looking to take on the likes of industry heavyweights Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo for living room supremacy in 2018, and that is no small feat. However, Atari doesn’t necessarily need to directly compete with Xbox One and Switch, it might just find a place for itself the way the NES/SNES Classic Edition did, providing nostalgic gamers can get over the comparably steep price of entry.