After decades out of the console market, Atari is back with a bang! Well, maybe. Atari first teased their console back in July 2017 when it was still known as the Ataribox. Since then, additional details have arisen, such as the new name Atari VCS, the fact that the console will play both Atari classics and PC games, and the proposed price between $250 and $300. And, while I was skeptical at first, I can now say this with a large amount of certainty: the Atari VCS will not survive long in this console market.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I want Atari to succeed. After all, the console industry has pretty much been an oligopoly between three companies for years. Wouldn’t it be nice to see an old video game giant come back and take down those hipsters at Sony and Microsoft? Well, for reasons I’m about to get into, it looks like I’ll have to wait for the Dreamcast 2 to come out before that happens.
Just looking at the features, I’m fairly skeptical about this new console. Now, I like the idea that it can play PC games, as I find this could lower the barrier of entry to PC gaming for cheap n00bs like myself. However, it’s still fairly vague about what games it can play and how the games will be incorporated. Additionally, the console can play a number of Atari hits, clearly attempting to emulate the success of the NES Classic. And, while Atari has a number of great retro games, you can literally buy a console with the best of their library at Bed Bath & Beyond. Seriously.
But, even with all these features, I would still be compelled to believe in this underdog piece of hardware if it wasn’t for one thing: the price. As I said earlier, the price is currently speculated to be between $250 and $300. Right now, you can purchase a PS4 (which has a gigantic library of games) for around $270. Not to mention that a brand new Nintendo Switch, which has two of the greatest games ever created, can be purchased for $300.
I don’t want the Atari VCS to fail. I think it would be extremely interesting to see the company pique nostalgia while also looking forward with their new console. However, I just don’t see it happening. Originally, I had titled this article “Atari VCS Will Be The Next Ouya.” For the uninitiated, the Ouya was a much-anticipated budget console that flopped after a successful Kickstarter campaign. However, I’m starting to realize even that may not be accurate, as the Ouya had a crazy amount of hype surrounding it. The Atari VCS? Well, there’s definitely some curiosity, but to call it hype would be a huge overstatement. But, I have been wrong before.
Featured image screenshot from YouTube channel Atari VCS