The Atari VCS has been in the pipeline for a while now, but a few rumblings of discontent and reports of issues led gamers to believe it would be a long time until we saw the console on sale. Now, Atari are suggesting the gaming platform could be released sooner rather than later.
A recent post from Atari said: “The team is happy to report that the Atari VCS hardware and peripherals are nearly final and it won’t be long before we ‘flip the switch’ on mass production!”
This cool timelapse, courtesy of Atari, shows a VCS being assembled by hand. It should be noted that the shiny finish seen here will not be the look of the final console. Atari have promised something more “premium” with the final model.
The company also referred to one or two “small setbacks”, but claim the retro console is now back on track.
Back in October, The Register reported that Rob Wyatt, the architect of the Atari VCS console, had quit, claiming he hadn’t been paid in six months. Might that have been one of those “small setbacks” being described? It doesn’t sound that small.
The gaming company says the VCS has now successfully completed several phases of testing, some of which highlighted issues around the AMD RG1606 Ryzen processor.
Early testing saw the console display HD, but not 4K, images. This issue was quickly remedied according to Atari. They said: “The processor is so new that it is still in its early days of deployment, and only Atari and a few PC manufacturers have access to it. This means the Atari engineers are part of a small group that is pioneering the implementation of AMD’s high-performance, single-chip solution.”
In their parting message, the Atari VCS team said: “We look forward to delivering a detailed update on DVT and a more detailed status report from the PowerA factory about the Classic Joystick adjustments and mass production of it and the Modern Controller.”
“In the meantime, backers should keep an eye open for the moment when the icon at the top of the Indiegogo page switches from “Prototype” to “Production.” Right now, we can’t and won’t designate a specific day and time this will happen, and even though we are technically in “production” based on Indiegogo’s definition, we have elected to hold off and use that designation to officially indicate the time when we are finally into true mass production. That’s going to be a great day and it’s coming soon!”
On their website, Atari have kept things vague. At the moment we can see the promise that the VCS will be “shipping early 2020!” They love an exclamation mark at Atari, but we’ll have to wait and see whether the VCS is worth all the excitement.