We finally have an Atari VCS release date after the console's numerous previous delays. The first Atari video game console to be released in over 20 years (the last was the Jaguar) will be available for purchase in just a few short weeks, giving retro-enthusiasts and Atari fans another black box to add to the space underneath their TVs.
Atari VCS Release Date Confirmed
The Atari VCS, the brand's first console in over two decades, was originally revealed back in 2017, then going by the name Ataribox. Since it was revealed the device has suffered from numerous severe delays, eventually expected in 2020. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a further delay was announced, but finally, the console has been given its official release date.
A press release sent out by Atari SA, the micro-console will finally be available to order on June 15th, 2021. The new console purports to offer a variety of interesting functions, ranging from playing classic Atari games to using it as a full PC for productivity tasks and multimedia playback. The Atari mode, called Atari Vault, comes with over 100 classic Atari games, including classic arcade titles such as Centipede and Asteroids, available in both their Atari 2600 and original arcade incarnations. Retro fun doesn't end there either, with the ability to load emulators and play your own ROMs on the system as well.
A Few Other Interesting Features
One of the main selling points of the Atari VCS has been that it offers the best of both worlds, being both a home game console and a miniature gaming PC. It comes pre-installed with a Linux distro known as AtariOS. This version of Linux offers a TV-friendly frontend to launch various programs, such as game streaming platforms like Google Stadia, as well as video streaming like YouTube and Netflix.
The computer side of the device is when it gets interesting. As well as including retro games and the ability to buy indie games from the built-in store, users will apparently be able to install Ubuntu, Chrome OS, or even Windows 10 and use the full operating system on the device. By default, the VCS may not be a PC-gaming powerhouse, but it does feature upgradable RAM, and AMD's Vega 3 graphics, so it will at least be capable of playing some lower-end PC games.
Whether or not the device will manage to beat previous similar hardware such as the Ouya remains to be seen. It clearly features a large number of interesting features, but the amount of software support is where the true decider will be found. If you're interested in getting your hands on an Atari VCS you can check out the console's website, or keep an eye on your favorite online retailers for the release on June 15th.