We knew that the Atari VCS, a sort of retro/modern gaming hybrid, would be popular, but we had no idea that it would raise more than $2 million in just a single day following the launch of its crowdfunding campaign.
The Atari VCS Indiegogo campaign went live this week and, within a day, the project basically crashed the site by drawing more than $2 million worth of support. With a literal month left on its campaign, a total of 9,082 backers have so far raised $2,353,817 for the console.
Described as a "gaming and home entertainment streaming device with open platform for creativity and customization," the Atari VCS capitalizes on the popularity of retro consoles (such as Nintendo's NES and SNES Classic Editions) while having the added bonus of being a modern gaming machine. You can play a huge library of Atari games with the VCS, and you'll be able to play more modern offerings as well. We'll get to more of the console's specifics in just a moment.
What's interesting about the VCS Indiegogo is that you could almost view it as a marketing tactic. Its performance has all of the games sites buzzing about its success, despite the fact that the console was almost certainly going to launch with or without crowdfunding. I say that because the stated funding goal of the VCS was simply $100,000. Obviously, Atari wasn't sitting in its offices thinking, "we could bring this console out if only we had an extra $100,000 in the bank, but alas." In other words, you could almost view this as a glorified pre-order campaign that will also help Atari gauge real interest in the machine. Information like that can help them better plan for production, and success like what it's currently seeing is probably a good push to get developers on board with the platform.
Again, this is a modern console, so don't expect to drop $60 on a machine that plays a couple dozen Atari games like with the Nintendo micro-consoles. Instead, the Collector's Edition of the VCS will set you back $299 and comes with the console and a joystick. An additional joystick will set you back $30, with a more modern controller going for $49. Or, you could get another joystick and a modern controller for a combined $59.
The Onyx version of the console is lacking the rad-as-hell wood paneling design of the Collector's Edition. It's a more modern black box, lacks a controller and, if you order soon, will only set you back $199. The console will cost $299 at retail. There are a few other packages available for various prices including the consoles and different mixes of controller.
The expected delivery date for the consoles is July 2019, so we'll be waiting at least another year before getting to take the VCS for a spin. Still, that's right after E3 2019, so maybe will decide to make a big splash at next year's trade show.
Also, it should be noted that every version of the console comes pre-loaded with more than 100 classic Atari games, which will go a long way to get your retro gaming experience rolling full steam ahead.