This week, we got a little bit more info on what's to come with the Atari VCS as a whole as one of the people behind it did a Q&A. In an interview with Medium, Chief Operating Officer Michael Arzt explains more about what the company is aiming for with it, including what it is and what it isn't. They also chat about the specs (without any mods added), some of the features it will have versus the Xbox Series X and the PS5, some of the games on the way, and what else to expect when it launches this year. We have a snippet of the interview below, in which he addresses one of the big questions as to whether or not this is a retro console.
Q: Is the Atari VCS a Retro-Console?
MA: No, and we know some writers and consumers have compared the VCS to the various low-cost, dedicated "plug and play" retro consoles on the market. Those devices, like our own Atari Flashback products are great fun, typically sell for under $100, and are not connected devices. So, while they have carved out a very successful but specific role in the market, the Atari VCS is a much more powerful PC-based device, with a premium build quality, significantly more power, internet access, and an online store full of games, apps and streaming services, so it really can't be compared to the "throwback" consoles. The elements of the Atari VCS that are "retro" flavored are the name of course, the industrial design, the new Classic Joystick, and the Atari Vault collection of 100 classic games which comes free with every purchase. The Vault and the Joystick are an homage to the brand's origins, and an opportunity for Atari's original fans, and a new generation of fans to rediscover the joy of playing games on an all-new Atari. But even the new Atari Joystick brings modern tech and capabilities to the experience. So, while the VCS is definitely not a retro-console, we do like the term "retro reimagined" to help describe the Atari VCS's appeal to gamers who like retro gaming but also want a more versatile, modern device.