The Atari VCS is a name that has been floating around the games industry for years now. We first saw a model of the Atari VCS at the Game Developers Conference in 2018, but the console/PC hybrid system has still not hit store shelves. However, Atari has now announced that the VCS is launching sooner than we think, as the system that is set as the reentry of one of gaming’s most iconic companies into the console market comes out June 15.
With a design inspired by the Atari 2600 system, the Atari VCS very intentionally calls back to the history of the fabled game company. However, Atari hopes the VCS delivers a modern and fully featured multimedia experience across gaming, entertainment, and productivity that will draw the affection of creators and gamers alike.
While the Atari VCS wants to be a versatile multimedia machine, its success or failure will come down to the gaming experience. The library features more than a dozen games from indie developers, with games like Jetboard Joust, Guntech, Boulder Dash Deluxe, and Something Ate My Alien. Atari will also throw its own game, Missile Command: Recharged, into the catalog. Each Atari VCS also comes with a copy of the Atari VCS Vault, which includes access to 100 arcade and Atari 2600 games. Atari VCS owners also get access to Antstream Arcade, an on-demand game-streaming service that offers access to large collection of retro titles.
Atari also partnered with popular third-party controller maker PowerA to create two controllers for the Atari VCS. The first one is modeled after the classic joystick controller from the Atari 2600. The second, the Atari Modern Controller, looks closer to the form factor that owners of PlayStation or Xbox consoles have come to expect. Both controllers feature rumble, LED lighting, USB charging, and wireless Bluetooth connection to the Atari VCS, PCs, and mobile devices.
As with most consoles in 2021, the VCS wants to become a device you use in your living room for more than just gaming. The dashboard features various popular streaming services, and if users access the Atari VCS Companion app from the iOS App Store or Google Play, they can play various media. Additionally, the VCS includes a built-in Chrome browser, as well as Google’s Workspace apps.
The system features an AMD Ryzen processor and is capable of 4K resolution, HDR, and 60 frames per second. The console includes internal storage options with the ability to expand, dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, and USB 3.0 support. You can also install either Windows or Linux as an alternative operating system and turn your VCS into a mini PC.
The Atari VCS launches on June 15, with the Onyx Base System costing $299.99. The All-In system bundles (available in Black Walnut or Onyx) includes the Classic Joystick and the Modern Controller costs $399.99. Each of those controllers is available separately for $59.99.