We’ve got a release date for Atari’s new hybrid console / PC / multimedia device, and it’s not far away: the new Atari VCS launches June 10 in New Zealand and Australia, retailing for NZD $899.95 / AUD $849.95.
With a design based on the Atari 2600, and sharing the original name of the 2600 before it got rebranded, nostalgia is clearly a big focus for the new console. To that end, it also comes preinstalled with Atari VCS Vault, a collection of over 100 arcade and Atari 2600 games. There’s even a wireless, rumble-equipped version of the classic Atari controller, available either separately or as part of the Atari VCS All-in-One bundle, for the authentic experience.
The VCS is also compatible with the newly-launched Antstream, a free retro game streaming service with a library of over 1,000 games spanning arcade, Commodore 64, Amiga, SNES, Mega Drive and others. (Anstream is also available on PC and mobile, and though not officially supported in New Zealand just yet, I’ve tried out the PC version a little and had no noticeable latency issues.)
It’s not limited to retro games, though, with an app store that’s home to a growing library of modern games. There’ll be more than a dozen games from popular indie developers at launch, including Boulder Dash Deluxe, Danger Scavenger, Guntech, Jetboard Joust, Sir Lovelot, Something Ate My Alien, Tailgunner, Atari’s Missile Command: Recharged, and this library is expected to grow as Atari gets more developers on board.
The console is running on an AMD Raven Ridge 2 APU and Ryzen GPU, with 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 32GB hard drive (which can both be upgraded). One of the more unique things about it is its “PC Mode”—essentially, you can install Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS operating systems and use the VCS as a PC, with access to whatever games and software are compatible with its specs. It doesn’t come with any of those operating systems installed, so you’ll need to install them yourself, but that’s supported functionality out of the box.
Beyond games, the VCS also has access to range of different streaming platforms available, like Netflix and Plex. It also uses a fully-featured Chrome as its standard browser, as well as Google’s productivity apps, and it’s compatible with most PC peripherals, so you can use it as a workstation, too. The goal with the VCS seems to be one box that does it all: retro games, modern games, streaming entertainment, and work, with the further functionality of PC Mode if you decide to go down that route.
The Atari VCS All-in-One bundle includes the console itself, modern controller, and classic joystick, retailing for NZ$899.95 / AU849.95. You can also buy each of those things separately: NZ$749 for the console base, and NZ$129 each for the classic joystick and modern controller. If you want to pre-order the Atari VCS, you can get the All-in-One Bundle and controllers from Mighty Ape in New Zealand (although, at the time of writing, they won’t be shipping until June 18). Folks in Australia can pre-order from JB Hi-Fi, EB Games, Catch.com.au, and The Gamesman.