Fueled by a successful Indie GoGo campaign and hoping to ride the same wave of success as Nintendo and Sega when they launched their retro consoles, former video game giant Atari was prepared to enter the home console market for the first time in over 25 years.
The Atari VCS would not only boast a design reminiscent of the legendary 2600 console, but would be running a Linux operating system and go beyond playing relics from the early days of the video game industry. A modern controller, expandable memory and even an app store have been touted for a 2020 release, but the production of the console has been far from harmonious.
A recent report from The Register suggests that the VCS is all but doomed after its lead architect has stepped away from the project and paints a rather unflattering picture of Atari’s efforts to make good on the pending release dates this December before rolling out for a major release next spring.
Rob Wyatt, who also helped develop the original Xbox, told The Register he tendered his resignation from the project last week and that Atari stopped paying his company six months ago. “Atari haven't paid invoices going back over six months...as a small company, we have been lucky to survive this long.”
The article also details that Wyatt isn’t the only one with financial grievances with Atari. Feargal Mac Conuladh, who initially pitched the idea to Atari and event set up an LLC to get the project going, sued Atari for $200,000 for breach of contract. Atari and Conuladh settled out of court earlier this year with Conuladh being awarded $82,400.
While Atari is offering pre-orders and even striking a deal to release the retro console at WalMart in March of 2020, it is hard to imagine that date is going to stick with nobody actually working on the console.
From the looks of it, Atari is following the status quo of their namesake. Following the storied video game crash in the 1980s, Atari was unable to rebound as Nintendo and Sega took over the video game industry. Multiple failed projects including the handheld Atari Lynx and the infamous Atari Jaguar dragged the company further away from its glory days.
Though the VCS may not have a chance to change the script, TheGamer will continue to update the story as updates make themselves available.
Source: The Register