The Atari VCS will finally be available to the general public this month. IGN has reported that the console is coming to US retailers beginning June 15.
The new VCS will be available to purchase online at a specific set of retailers, including Best Buy, GameStop, Micro Center, and the official Atari VCS website. Each retailer will reportedly be offering their own unique launch-day promotions. News of the VCS’s official US launch comes months after Atari announced that Indiegogo backers would be receiving their consoles. The company launched the fundraising campaign in 2018, and after a series of setbacks, it seemed as if the VCS would never see the light of day. Fortunately, Atari was able to beat the odds, with backers finally getting what they’d been waiting for, and pre-orders becoming available in July of 2020.
Buyers can purchase the new system on its own for $299.99 or as a bundle with the wireless joystick and controller for $399.99. Sold separately, the joystick and controller will cost $59.99 a piece. To accompany bundle purchases, GameStop and Best Buy will add on an Atari Speakerhat, while Micro Center and the official website will throw in a free digital copy of Missile Command: Recharged. And to top it all off, all consoles will come with the Atari VCS Vault built in, which means players will have access to 100 retro Atari games. Not only that, they will have access to game streaming platform Anstream Arcade, which houses over 1,000 retro games from systems like the SNES and Mega Drive. Additionally, over a dozen titles will be available at launch on the digital storefront. In other words, there will be a lot of options to choose from.
One way in which the VCS stands apart from its competitors is its unique blend of retro and modern. While the console’s game offerings are overwhelmingly retro, its dashboard brings it into the modern era with a variety of popular streaming services, a companion app that allows users to play various media, and a built-in Chrome browser and Google Workspace apps. And in terms of the console’s controllers, each has an entirely different vibe: one is modeled after the classic joystick from the Atari 2600, while the other looks closer to the modern controllers associated with the PlayStation or Xbox.
While initial reviews of the VCS have painted the console as nothing to write home about, it will be interesting to see how the general public reacts. Could the access to so many beloved retro titles draw in older fans looking to relive their youth? Will the modern updates attract a younger crowd interested in something different? Let’s see how things “play” out.
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