Atari makes additional announcements from the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) about its all-new Atari VCS (Video Computer System) home gaming and entertainment platform. With the Atari VCS Official Online Presale now underway for U.S. customers, Atari releases more information about the system, its capabilities and available accessories, including exclusive editions it has been sharing with press and partners in private meetings at E3 2019, going on now in Los Angeles.
Visitors to Atari’s demo suite during E3 were greeted by a display of the Atari VCS in its final pre-production form (as described in a recent development blog) and also verified several details including a confirmed starting price of $249.99 for the base model. The Atari VCS will launch in 800 (8GB RAM) and 400 (4GB RAM) models. Both models are fully user-upgradeable by easily swapping-in more RAM and expanding storage, and can be purchased in bundles that include an Atari VCS Classic Joystick and VCS Modern Controller. The Atari VCS is also available as stand-alone units, allowing users to connect their own existing Bluetooth and USB controllers and peripherals.
Most-exciting for many fans will be the debut of the Atari VCS 800 Black Walnut All-In bundle with a new woodgrain faceplate, exclusively available on AtariVCS.com. Atari also introduces the all-new Atari VCS 800 Kevlar Gold All-In bundle with a sleek woven fiber face, exclusively available at Walmart.com, while the dramatic and familiar black and red Atari VCS 800 Onyx All-In will be a retail exclusive at GameStop.com. Classic Joysticks priced at $49.99 and Modern Controllers for $59.99, created in partnership with PowerA, are also available now for preorder. All of these Atari VCS products are available now for consumers to preorder for 2020 shipping (see full list below of Atari VCS Official Online Presale pricing and availability sorted by retailer). In addition to the finished VCS models, Atari shared several items and images from its hardware engineering lab that showcase the evolution of the hardware’s development cycle.
The legendary brand is keenly focused at E3 on the things that set the Atari VCS apart from more established game consoles and the platform’s performance capabilities while distancing the hardware from any lingering “retro-box” impressions. Like the modern hardware that it lives on, the Atari VCS digital interface stands out with a striking and modern design, successfully taking inspiration from a vast and beloved heritage.
The Atari VCS launches into a color-splashed modern dashboard, which presents a selection of game and entertainment windows, plus a navigation menu of destinations like the Atari store, apps, and settings. The dashboard is anchored by a bold window in the center that can immediately reboot the system into the Atari Sandbox mode.
The Atari Sandbox Mode is what makes the Atari VCS a very different game and entertainment machine. Powered by an AMD Ryzen processor featuring Radeon Graphics technology, the VCS is an open platform capable of booting up and running multiple operating systems (Windows, Linux, etc.) to unlock the full power of a PC on your TV and the almost unlimited game, content, and apps available online.
Accessing familiar operating systems like Windows, Ubuntu, Chrome OS, and others is easily accomplished by simply attaching an external USB drive that has the desired OS installed. From there, users can download any existing game libraries and other entertainment or productivity apps. The Atari VCS is fully compatible with any standard USB or Bluetooth keyboard, mouse, controllers, and most other PC peripherals; at E3 Atari had working prototype versions of its VCS Classic Joystick and VCS Modern Controller connected to its demo systems.
The key features of the Atari VCS on display at E3 include:
- Modern PC Games: Using the Atari VCS Sandbox mode with a Windows or Ubuntu install, Atari is making a variety of popular and demanding triple-A PC games, Atari first-party titles, and cool Indie games available to play using the Atari VCS Modern Controller prototype and/or mouse and keyboard. This makes porting, downloading, and accessing existing game libraries easier while validating the high-performance capabilities of the Atari VCS hardware. In addition, the Atari VCS comes optimized for the future of cloud-streamed games.
- 4K HDR Movies and TV: Taking its place in the heart of the modern living room, Atari VCS is optimized for streaming of users’ favorite video entertainment apps. Every Atari VCS 800 system is 4K HDR capable out of the box for all apps and content types, while the Atari VCS 400 system delivers standard 1080p (4K available in certain apps and/or via RAM upgrade). Popular video apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Showtime, and browser-based channels like Twitch and YouTube come to life in vibrant 4K HDR thanks to the powerful AMD tech.
The entire Atari VCS lineup of systems, bundles, and peripherals are available now for preorder at GameStop.com, Walmart.com, and AtariVCS.com, for deliveries starting in March 2020. Pricing starts at $249.99 for the Atari VCS Onyx 400 (4GB) Base model and goes up to $389.99 for one of three Atari VCS 800 (8GB) All-In system bundles that include an Atari VCS Classic Joystick and Atari VCS Modern Controller. Additional international presale dates and retailers will be announced.
The Atari VCS Official Online Presale is for products scheduled to start shipping in March 2020 and offers varied hardware configurations, exclusive new designs, and three online retail destinations to choose from:
GameStop.com features the following Atari VCS products:
Walmart.com features the following Atari VCS products:
AtariVCS.com features the following Atari VCS products:
The Atari VCS is the new home gaming and video computer system aimed at transforming the TV-centric home entertainment experience. The Atari VCS blends the best of consoles and PCs to delight a whole new generation of gamers, fans, and creators who will “Discover What You and Atari Can Do.”
Atari plans to make several more product development updates and announcements this year that will include expanded details about games and entertainment content, software development protocols, expanded distribution and more. In addition, Atari will continue to provide periodic work-in-progress updates and product demonstrations via its Atari VCS Project Development blogs on Medium.com.