Atari reboots Ataribox as Atari VCS, teases April pre-order date

After canceling a crowdfunded campaign for its Linux-powered game console/living room PC hybrid, the legendary brand resurrects the concept with a new name and promising a pre-order date next month.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

Atari VCS

Legendary game company Atari set retro hearts aflutter last year when it launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for something called the Ataribox, a living room device running Linux and supposedly combining the features of a PC with a video game console -- complete with some Atari classic games.

But the December 14 pre-order date Atari set was abruptly canceled after an unspecified technical issue, and it looked like the Ataribox would never reach any actual customers. This week, however, the company has emerged at the Game Developers Conference with some very similar hardware, albeit with a new name.

The Ataribox is now Atari VCS, even though the console in product shots looks pretty much the same as the old concept -- an update of the original Atari console down to the faux wood accents. That goes for the joystick as well, which is clearly based on the vintage Atari 2600 version. One difference is the apparent addition of a more contemporary controller, though it features the same black-and-red color scheme as the other pieces.

Atari execs aren't saying much more about Atari VCS, though presumably it will still run Linux so you can play new games in addition to Atari favorites. They are once again promising a pre-order date, this time in April, and Atari Connected Devices chief operating officer Michael Arzt emphasized in a statement released to VentureBeat that the company is committed to perfecting the console and respecting the heritage of the Atari brand. Whether fans are willing to trust that the Atari VCS won't meet the same fate as the Ataribox remains to be seen.

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