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September 2019 Retro Gaming Article


September 6, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Refusing to provide proof-of-concept, game play, or developers, Atari earns a lot of online abuse

Evercade game console
Any normal company would share some progress as they approach their launch. Atari has refused to even demonstrate proof-of-concept!
Let me begin by saying a few things...
I love the Atari company, under Bushnell, that created the 2600 in '77. I think the Atari brand is strong and insanely recognizable in 2019. However, the current owners of the Atari brand have done an awful job promoting their upcoming game console.

Atari loves to post the same year-old renders of their console with pithy comments for all to enjoy. They are continually met with gamers seeking information that should be readily available. We want to see the console playing a game - even an Atari Vault title. Let's see some game play of upcoming games for the system. How about letting us know a few developers who are making games for the new VCS.

Daily I see another Atari VCS rendered pic and 50 or 60 replies begging for ANY basic info. Atari sometimes replies with fluff-responses. They offer no detail. None.

These comment sections contain three types of people:
  1. Dreamers - folks who backed this console on day-one and are convinced Atari is hard at work to deliver the end-all be-all of video game consoles.

  2. Gamers - folks who are curious about the system and want to know what games it can play, who's developing games, and see some game-play clips.

  3. Realists - folks who know this is vaporware and aren't afraid to say so.

So, these groups battle it out on every "atari" post on social media. It's kind of fun to read through once, since it's pretty repetitive....
"This is going to be the best game console ever!"
"What games will it play?"
"It doesn't exist. It's vaporware."

Over and over, this is all we see in the comments. Atari sometimes replies "Thanks" to those with favorable comments. Or, "You're going to love the VCS!" It's comical at best.

Why I Think The VCS Is Vaporware

  • Today's Atari is a holding company that simply manages/licenses the brand and the IPs they own.

  • The current holding company has no experience bringing hardware to market.

  • Find me someone who backed the Atari Game Watch and received one.

  • We've only seen rendered (computer generated) console images. No photos of a working model placed in a real-world setting - like on a coffee table.

  • Atari has mentioned no developers by name. No developers have independently claimed to be developing games for the VCS.

  • Atari is an iconic brand. Anyone developing for it would say so. No one has spoken.

  • The console has no media ports (CD ROM, Cartridge, SD card). Who is developing the online store so gamers can download/purchase games?

  • If Atari was on the cusp of launching a new game console, they'd be showing it to anyone who wanted a peek.

I know this seems harsh, but I think it's realistic. I'd love to see Atari succeed and bring a cool game console to market. I love all the Atari consoles - some are better than others, but all of them had a uniqueness to the era. I bought one of the classic joysticks from their Indiegogo campaign - so, I'm in it. However, the current iteration of Atari has demonstrated no signs of a successful hardware launch. I predict they will deliver one of two things: Nothing -or- Garbage.

If Atari was a smart company, they'd make a killing creating a lifestyle brand. Go the "Gene Simmons" route and put the Atari logo on everything from hats and shirts to lunch boxes and magnets. The brand is iconic and beloved. A new console would be cool, but they lack the capability and it shows.

Atari doesn't seem aware they are provoking gamers with every stale post of an old rendered image, yet they keep doing so daily. Here's hoping I get a cool joystick in December, along with the many backers who put forth over $3 million, but I'm glad to only have risked $30.

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