Atari VCS Interview Touches on Delays, Streaming, and Third-Party Apps

An internal interview with Atari VCS Chief Operating Officer Michael Arzt talks about delays, third-party apps, and the future of production.

The Atari VCS has been in the making for a good few years now after originally being unveiled back in 2017. Back then it was known as the Ataribox but later rebranded to the Atari VCS. The product, supported by Indiegogo funding has had a bit of a rocky ride if a quick rummage through its history is anything to go by. A new internal interview answering common questions surrounding the system has been published.

The interview is with Chief Operating Officer Michael Arzt where he touches on delays, technical improvements, and plans for the backers still waiting for the system.

The first question jumps straight into the delay that happened in March 2019 which was the result of improving the hardware by upgrading the microprocessor to an AMD Ryzen chip. Arzt seems confident that the progress of the production is still on target for March 2020. He mentions that when they delayed the system in March 2019, they expected to have it out within 2019 for Indiegogo backers, but now the product is due to land in March 2020. “Today, given the work still to be done, including the final stages of our certification and testing cycles, we now realize we will need a few more weeks than anticipated.”

He goes on to explain how the backers are still a priority for the company. “No matter what, we are talking weeks here, not months, and the Indiegogo backers remain our top priority. Backers will definitely receive their Atari VCS systems before the general public.” No matter what, we are talking weeks here, not months, and the Indiegogo backers remain our top priority. Backers will definitely receive their Atari VCS systems before the general public.” He adds that they will try and come up with some kind of bonus or reward for the patience the backers have shown.

He also shows off some images of the Atari VCS pre-production units and states. “We are deep into the final stages of pre-production and heading toward mass production, which is the focus of our attention today.” He clarifies that all of the hardware and controllers are going through testing for functionality and reliability.

It was also restated that the product is planned to include original games and native apps which can be accessed through the main interface as well as the app store that’ll be available. If a service does not have an app for the system at launch, a browser will be able to run it instead. He does mention the lack of third-party apps for Indiegogo backers. “We don’t expect the pre-launch version shipping to our Indiegogo backers to have a full complement of native third-party apps. There will be games to play and things to do, but the first big wave of apps isn’t likely to come before Q1 of next year as we build toward our full retail launch and see a ramp up of the installed base.”

When questioned about the rise in streaming services such as Google Stadia, and Apple Arcade, Arzt says. “The Atari VCS was designed with digital delivery as part of the plan from conception. Digital delivery is the current and future state of the games and entertainment industry and how many customers increasingly prefer to discover and purchase new content.” he adds “The Atari VCS is designed to be able to embrace any compatible game streaming platform, like Stadia and others still to come down the road.”

The Atari VCS is slated to launch in March 2020, with Indiegogo backers being given priority to get the system before general customers.

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Ben Bayliss

Based in the UK and adores venturing through FPS horrors and taking photos in pretty much anything with a functioning photo mode. Also likes car games.

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