Atari threaten once more to release the VCS to backers…

Atari threaten once more to release the VCS to backers…

Overdue by more than a year and with numerous announcements promising delivery to backers. Atari are once again promising that VCS units will ship soon.

Remember the Atari VCS? Our interest in this new console/PC hybrid from the grandfathers of video games first appeared on our radar in mid-2017. Back then in was called ‘Ataribox‘, perhaps inspired by the fact that Microsoft had just released the XBox One X?

Looking like a modern rendering of Atari’s classic 2600 console, the VCS promised to bring a library of legacy titles alongside new games developed for the system. Part console, part PC, the system would also act as a media player.

Since pre-orders opened in May 2018 (six months after originally planned), the VCS has attracted more than 11,000 backers via crowdfunding and direct pre-orders, each paying between $200 and $400.

Shipping was due to begin in Spring 2019. That deadline passed before news came that units would be leaving the factory at the end of 2019. Tumbleweed.

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June 2020 and Atari were optimistic that the first 500 backers could receive their machines in that month. But, of course, Covid-19 was ramping up and disrupted supply chains around the globe. The effects of which are still hindering the project.

Jump to the present, November 2020. Almost three and a half years since Atari first announced the VCS and Microsoft have just released the XBox Series X/S. Backers are still waiting for their Atari VCS consoles to be shipped.

But a recent update from Atari brings news that the end may be in sight. “A small number of the Classic Joysticks we have been waiting for were finally released by customs and delivered to the fulfilment center“. Staggeringly, this news equates to: “Yes, for the first time, finished VCS units, controllers and joysticks are all in the same place at the same time!“.

For the FIRST TIME, Atari have complete units! First time, in three years?

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Let’s not get carried away though. Atari also say: “While there are no guarantees, we anticipate the balance (remaining number of joysticks) will be released and arrive very soon so that the sorting and packing may begin“.

Will Atari get units shipped in 2020? I’d bet that they won’t. In reality ackers will be waiting until at least the spring of 2021 for the fulfilment of their orders. Two years late.

In the meantime, Microsoft have released two next-gen consoles since the VCS was first announced. And whilst it may be an unfair comparison – after all Atari has never promised cutting edge technology – is the VCS even relevant anymore?

Still waiting for your Atari VCS? We’d love to hear from you. [contact us]

Will Harrison

About the author | Will Harrison

Founder of The Unheard Nerd. A husband and father of two girls, Will is a fan of Nerdcore Hip-Hop, a comics fiend, a podcast host and champion of independent nerd culture. | Follow will on twitter: @TheUnheardNerd