The established Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo game brands are facing more competition, with cloud gaming and streaming services entering the market.
But while Google Stadia could be the next major company to take a slice of the gaming pie, another, much older brand is making a comeback.
The Atari VCS has undergone several transformations and now looks ready to hit the market.
And the latest update shared during E3 2019 is that the new Atari console won’t be launching later this year like planned.
Instead, the Atari VCS will arrive in 2020, just ahead of the PS5 and Microsoft’s Project Scarlett.
We don’t have a confirmed launch date for the next PlayStation console but it seems very unlikely that they would let themselves fall behind the Xbox Two, which is scheduled to arrive holiday 2020.
The good news for Atari is that the VCS will be hitting the market in March, months before the other next-gen devices are expected.
And the good news for the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch is that they don’t have to worry about a new console rival this year.
They already have Google Stadia soft-launching in November, the busiest time in the industry calendar.
No one expects the Atari VCS to steal much of the current market, but it still has a solid base to grow from, since its successful Kickstarter.
Gamers can now pre-order the new Atari console from a range of retailers with a release date set for March 2020.
Pricing starts at $249.99 for the Atari VCS 400 Onyx (4GB) and tops off at $389.99 for one of three Atari VCS 800 (8GB) All-In system bundles.
It doesn’t appear that a UK price has been confirmed yet, but more news is expected on that front soon.
“Atari made a commitment to its fans to make the new VCS the best and most versatile game and home entertainment platform it can be, with a wide array of options,” said Atari CEO Frédéric Chesnais.
“After so many months of working on defining and refining the products, and after the strong initial support of our thousands of original Indiegogo backers, we are excited to finally and officially announce our product launch configurations, first key retail partnerships and the launch of the online presale that will put the VCS into the hands of America’s gamers.”
The Atari won’t be out-powering PlayStation and Microsoft when it hits shelves, but it does include some features that could make it more versatile.
From what has been shared so far, the Atari console will have upgradeable RAM options and a Sandbox Mode.
According to Atari, Sandbox Mode will allow gamers to install a 2nd OS like Windows, Ubuntu or Chrome, and use apps like Steam to play AAA games and retro emulators.
This will be done via a USB boot drive, opening up the system to a number of options not available on Xbox and PlayStation.
Others news released during E3 confirmed that the VCS 800 8GB RAM model will offer 4K HDR video, while the lesser 4GB VCS 400 models will be limited to 1080p.
And combined with the Atari’s AMD Ryzen processor and Radeon graphics, it’s going to be able to do more than just run Apps and Classic Games.
And if Chrome is an option to boot up and run, this also raises questions over Google Stadia compatibility.