Special Report

GDC 2018 | 5 Facts About the Atari VCS With Michael Arzt

Everything you need to know about the Atari VCS.

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Big news for old school gamers; Atari unveiled new details about their highly anticipated Video Computer System (VCS), during the 2018 Game Developers Conference week. To learn more about this new console, I got the chance to meet Atari Connected Devices COO Michael Arzt.

Here are five key facts that I learned during my interview with Michael Arzt about the Atari VCS.

5. This is Not A Retro Console

One thing Arzt wanted to make clear during our meeting was this is not a “retro console” but a retro-inspired modern device. Unlike the re-released Nintendo consoles, the VCS is a new platform that is inspired by the classic Atari consoles of the 80’s in terms of design (specifically the Atari 2600). This platform is not just a treat for old school gamers but also a way to share a rich gaming history and vibrant future with a new generation.

4. It’s a Blend of New and Classic

Being a modern platform, the new Atari VCS will include a lot of modern features such as connection to the internet and access to a digital store. The console will run on a Linux operating system and will allow Third Party developers to create new original titles for the platform. Fans will also be delighted to learn that the Atari VCS will also feature a rich library of classic games.

3. It will Have a Rich Catalog of Games

The goal is to have 100+ classic Atari games ready with the console at launch, with more available online and in the future. The team has also been reaching out to Third Party studios in the hopes that they will want to re-release their classic games on the VCS. There have been talks with Activision (which had a long history with Atari) to re-release their titles from the 80’s along with indie studios to release original titles for the new console.

2. The Two Controllers

During the preview, Arzt went into details about the two controllers that will work with the VCS. One controller is a more old school inspired “Classic Joystick” that will be the default for all the classic games and can also act as a media remote. The second controller is a modern one modeled after the Xbox controller that will work for new games. However it’s unclear if both controllers will be included in the final bundle when it’s release but Atari is still deciding about specific bundle configurations.

1. The Project is Still Alive

The Atari VCS was first announced back in June 2017 and there were bits and pieces of new information shared through the year until December 2017. Now at GDC 2018, Atari wants to assure fans that console will launch only when it is ready. One of the biggest challenges for the team, among others, has been trying to bring the cost down as they would like it to sell at retail for no more than the $250 – $300, depending on configuration, and for much less if possible. For Atari, it’s about delivering a quality product at a reasonable price.

Did these facts about the Atari VCS spark your interest or do you have questions? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. This special report is part of 8Bit/Digi‘s coverage of the Game Developers Conference 2018.

Disclaimer: GDC provided 8Bit/Digi with press passes for the week.

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3 comments

  1. I hope Activsion says yes to the deal just so I could play Pitfall for the first time in ages. That was my favorite Atari game back in the day and would be awesome to replay it. Better yet Activsion should make a new Pitfall game instead of curning out a new COD every year.

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