Atari was supposed to have their new retro-looking console up for pre-order last December and then pulled the plug one week before the pre-order date. Fans were disappointed, but Atari said that they needed "to create the platform and ecosystem the Atari community deserves." Now, we finally have an update. The new console will no longer be called the Ataribox and will instead be called the Atari VCS with pre-orders being announced next month.
The Atari VCS looks like the old retro 2600 model and might have been chosen in the wake of Nintendo's success making miniature vintage consoles. Other than that, there's not a whole lot of information about the console available. It has been announced that it will play the old retro Atari games and also new PC games with a price tag in the $250 to $300 range. As stated above, Atari promises that we will get a pre-order announcement in April and hopefully the new console will be in the hands of video game enthusiasts by this summer.
As for seeing the Atari VCS in action, we won't have to wait very long at all. Atari will give a first look at the console at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on the 21st and 22nd of this month. It has been reported that the first look at the Atari VCS will include the console, a retro controller, and a new modern controller. It isn't clear what games will be shown off since nothing has been announced at this time. It's still a pretty big mystery about what the new machine will be able to do, besides look really cool.
The Atari VCS will reportedly run "hot new indie" games on a Linux platform as well as PC and Atari gaming classics. The lack of information is rather puzzling, and it looks like Atari may have announced the console too soon without really thinking the whole project through. Hopefully, the 3 month break from the pre-orders have given Atari the time to come up with the proper ecosystem that they have promised. Now is the perfect time for Atari to make a comeback and compete with Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony as well as the mobile game world.
Whenever it finally launches, the Atari VCS it will reportedly still be available in two models: one with a classic wood grain front, and another with a red and black color scheme. The Atari VCS will have modern connectivity options, including HDMI output, an Ethernet port, and four USB ports as well as an SD card slot. The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco takes place this weekend, so there should be some news to report early next week. You can read more about the Atari VCS and join the waiting list for pre-orders over at Ataribox.com.