According to Atari, the Ataribox Atari VCS goes on pre-order sale today, exclusively on the console's Indigogo page. At least that's what they're saying, because as of this posting said Indigogo page only allows you to sign up to be notified when you can finally pre-order. According to the press release, that sexy faux-wood finished model is a limited run version, and the standard model, the Onyx version, is a sleek black. The early-bird packages will go for the low, low price of $199.99 for a limited time, and won't ship until spring 2019. Other bundles will include the Classic Joystick and Modern Controller. Supposedly we'll get full details when the console opens pre-orders later today.
This all still sounds pretty vague to me. "Other packages" will include a controller? What publisher in their right mind sells a console without a bundled controller? The VCS's capabilities are still rather broad as well, with an AMD CPU and a Radeon GPU capable of 4K resolutions at 60FPS. The launch lineup so far only includes an "Atari Vault" of 100 Atari 2600 arcade ports, including Asteroids and Centipede. Atari bills the console as a customizable entertainment hub, but that begs the question, who is this for?
The average consumer already owns a streaming device, be it a smart TV or a Firestick, and most gamers like me have at least two consoles under their TV that can stream media. If I want Atari games, I'll probably just nab one of those Atari Flackback plug-n-plays I can get at Target for $60. If I'm going to spend upwards of $200, I'd rather just get a PS4 or Nintendo Switch and play a bunch of great exclusives and indie games. This looks particularly bad when you consider Atari announced this thing last year and initial shipments won't go out until next spring.
Atari has everything to prove right now. They need to come out swinging with this vague little box and justify why it exists in today's market. They need to announce specs, launch lineup and the full line of SKUs right the heck now. All I see now, and all I've seen since they announced the AtariBox project, is a lot of talk and some pretty renders.