New Report Paints Fuzzy Picture for the Future of Atari's Throwback Box, Though Atari Disagrees

New Report Paints Fuzzy Picture for the Future of Atari's Throwback Box, Though Atari Disagrees

New reports don't seem keen on the Ataribox's future.

Atari's retro console, the Atari VCS, has a lingering question mark in the throwback console race. After being announced in 2017, the VCS hasn't seen much daylight, and now former contractors are levying claims against Atari for unpaid wages, amid reports painting a grim picture for the Ataribox. Atari, however, says that development is proceeding according to schedule.

U.K. newspaper The Register published a report this morning, saying the architect of the VCS project Rob Wyatt had officially resigned. According to a statement given to The Register by Wyatt, his design consultancy Tin Giant hadn't been paid for invoices by Atari for over six months.

In a statement to USgamer, Atari says the VCS is "proceeding according to its previously announced schedule," sharing a Medium update posted yesterday which details the engineering inside the VCS itself.

"It is Atari's policy not to comment on an isolated matter under dispute, only to say that the Atari VCS project has always been a team effort and its success has never been and will never be dependent on any single individual or partner.
"We remain confident in the Atari VCS as the entire team works diligently to bring forth its vision according to plan, and we will continue to communicate accordingly over the coming weeks and months, including hands-on presentations to key media and partners planned for later this fall."

The so-called "Ataribox" is set to be more than a throwback console, packing more power, streaming capability, and could cost a reported $250 to $300.

"With the Ataribox, we wanted to create an open system, a killer product where people can game, stream and browse with as much freedom as possible," Atari CEO Fred Chesnais said at the time.

However, recent spats with The Register have left lingering questions about how far along the Atari VCS really is. After Atari compared The Register's critical claims of the console to an "irresponsible troll," the newspaper published the full audio of the interview, backing up its reporters' words.

In response to The Register's recent reports, including that there will be no native apps, original games, and the VCS is unlikely to hit its March 2020 deadline, Atari sent the paper the following comment:

"Atari wishes to inform you that some of your questions indicate that you possess information that is incorrect and/or outdated. In addition, some aspects of the Atari VCS project clearly have been leaked to you in violation of existing confidentiality agreements, and Atari therefore hereby reserves its rights in that respect."

Whether incorrect or in breach of confidentiality, things seem rocky for the throwback console. In its Medium post, Atari says its planning hands-on preview events with the retro box "later in the fall" for press, so we'll see how the box actually performs once we manage to get our hands on one.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

In other news

The Second Player Goose in Untitled Goose Game Has a New Honk

There are also some subtle visual ways to tell the two naughty geese apart.

Minecraft Gets PlayStation VR Support Later This Month

In a free update for all current players.

And Now, a One-Woman Performance of Hamilton in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

And there's a chance you could attend a future performance!

Nintendo's Mario-Palooza Shows How the Pandemic Could Change Everything

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | There's no such thing as a slow news week when the industry is forced to question its most foundational assumptions.

Need help?

Little Friends Dogs and Cats Walks - Treasure, Statues, Misbehaviour

Taking your Dog out for a walk in Little Friends Dogs and Cats is one of the easiest ways to level them up. Here’s how treasure, marking, and Misbehaviour works.

Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee - Essential Tips, Complete Beginner’s Guide

Here's our guide to both Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu, and Pokemon Let's Go Eevee, including tips, how to make an excellent throw, how to transfer Pokemon, and more.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 Achievements: How to Check Your Achievements

You’ll earn Achievements while playing Luigi’s Mansion. Here’s a full list of them, and some info on how to check the ones you’ve completed so far.

Little Friends Dogs and Cats Tickets - How to Get More Blue and Pink Tickets

Some of the best items in Little Friends Dogs and Cats can only be bought using tickets. Here’s how to get them.