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What do Ya'll think Atari is going to do with the VCS in 2023?


PlutoniumPasta
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Yes, I know Atari isn't canceling the VCS. I got messages from Atari in their Discord confirming that the system isn't dead. However, the future for this system is hard to determine. At this point with the VCS being supported for almost 2 years now (I'm surprised Atari has supported it for this long) and it feels like anything could happen to this system. I personally enjoy my VCS and have gotten a lot of use out of it, but I wanted to hear some of AtariAge's predictions for this console.

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  • The title was changed to What do Ya'll think Atari is going to do with the VCS in 2023?

"The system isn't dead" equals marketing-speak for "the system is dead." :P

 

Really, though, expect more of the same as from 2022.  The real question is for how long, and for that one I don't have a glib, facetious, or even waggish comment to offer.  My suspicion is that 2023 will likely be where it starts to decline in terms of active (and native) development, but we'll see.

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I think it's possible 2023 will be the last year of full game release support by Atari, but we'll see, it really depends on corporate planning on their part in terms of what they want to focus on, especially with their CEO doing a takeover. Could be it'll keep getting releases for a while then trail off, at which point the hardware will still have at least several more years of use by buyers. The PC side isn't going anywhere, and will remain relevant at least for the next few years (it runs Windows 11 at the very least, so through that product's cycle you'd think, not to mention the ease of getting Linux on it.) 

 

But it depends: The console has a core community right now that will play and buy indie games, and the ability to actually get people to see and play your games (unlike Steam) is a compelling one. Seems there is at least a bit of growing dev interest due to it. They aren't selling a lot, but selling a bit, and actually getting live feedback from users as they roll out their console and PC release calendar.

 

2022 was a great year for the VCS, so if 2023 is like 2022 the console will be in a good place. Even if Atari ends up ditching it, it'll be good for at least a few more years until the hardware profile just ages out. Even then, it'll have a long future life as an easy emulator and mini PC box. 

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I predict the VCS at the end of 2023 will be pretty much the same place it was at the end of 2022. The system is not going to "die" this year and I think enthusiasm will still be there among its core audience as I do think Atari will produce some quality games this year (though enthusiasm might be a bit less than 2022 as Atari 50 had a huge part to play with that).

 

On another note, it would be fascinating to see consumer response if Atari had a substantial advertising budget, and put out a commercial during the Super Bowl (or NASCAR or NBA Finals etc) for the Atari VCS.

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1 hour ago, Flyindrew said:

I predict the VCS at the end of 2023 will be pretty much the same place it was at the end of 2022. The system is not going to "die" this year and I think enthusiasm will still be there among its core audience as I do think Atari will produce some quality games this year (though enthusiasm might be a bit less than 2022 as Atari 50 had a huge part to play with that).

 

On another note, it would be fascinating to see consumer response if Atari had a substantial advertising budget, and put out a commercial during the Super Bowl (or NASCAR or NBA Finals etc) for the Atari VCS.

I agree, I think 2023 will be a lot like 2022. Just a decent lineup of games for the VCS. The advertising is crucial to the Atari VCS. If Atari doesn't try upping their advertising game, the system will never sell more than 80,000 units (I heard somewhere that only around 40,000 units have been sold so far, and for every 100 VCS consoles Atari makes, only about 8 are sold.) Atari needs to advertise this as a home for retro and indie games. Some games like Danger Scavenger did much better on the VCS than the Xbox One or Series X/S. This will appeal to indie developers as a chance to sell their games without them being drowned out by triple A titles. I do think the system is getting better with a few games being announced for 2023 (Spirit of Samurai, Unsung Warriors, and Chaos Chassis just to name a few.) and the price drop is also a nice thing for Atari to do. Overall 2023 is probably going to be a good year for the VCS I do think Atari will try to push the system a bit more this year.

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5 minutes ago, PlutoniumPasta said:

(I heard somewhere that only around 40,000 units have been sold so far, and for every 100 VCS consoles Atari makes, only about 8 are sold.)

I find it hard to believe or you'd think Atari would be working harder to unload the inventory.  They'd be more motivated to get the international sales going, etc.

 

I mentioned this before, but when Atari first announced the project, they made quite a bit of noise for the crowd fund effort-- they showed they are capable of getting the message out.   When the units finally went on sale at retail, they barely made a peep about it.   They only sold through three retailers (GameStop, BestBuy and Microcenter),  and the first two were online only items.   The point being they never acted like they have a ton of consoles they were trying to sell.   It's more like they focused on fufilling the backers,  made some extra units for retail that would sell eventually.

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45 minutes ago, zzip said:

I find it hard to believe or you'd think Atari would be working harder to unload the inventory.  They'd be more motivated to get the international sales going, etc.

 

I mentioned this before, but when Atari first announced the project, they made quite a bit of noise for the crowd fund effort-- they showed they are capable of getting the message out.   When the units finally went on sale at retail, they barely made a peep about it.   They only sold through three retailers (GameStop, BestBuy and Microcenter),  and the first two were online only items.   The point being they never acted like they have a ton of consoles they were trying to sell.   It's more like they focused on fufilling the backers,  made some extra units for retail that would sell eventually.

And thats the frustrating thing. If the VCS sucked and had no potential thats one thing. But that's not the case here as the VCS is a really good (hybrid yesterday-today) system with so much potential and its just so unfortunate that if there is a downfall to this system, it will be due to poor marketing, not the quality of the hardware nor the content produced for it.

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The system isn't dead in the sense that digitally its still supported (for now) Atari already announced its being discontinued at the last shareholders meeting though, so while not "dead", it is dead.

 

I just got one, and probably wouldn't if I'd known. I've already got the means to play most the games (though cooperative modern tv support is nice) and most additional features are not needed, by me. We'll see if I use it beyond this year, but I've got doubts.

 

Edit) and don't even start. We've already had this discussion back in 2001. " but dream cast is doing amazing, they only stopped production because its doing so well they have warehouses full of them" and Sega had a hell of a lot more funding, support, user base, and intelligent people running it at the time, not to mention, relevance in the gaming community. Yes, I like the vcs, and you do, I assume, but no, the average Joe does not (assuming they're aware the thing exists)

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The VCS, as a hardware platform, has gone as far as it can go now.  With no more plans to create more than it's the end of the line...but that's not a bad thing as long as Atari continues to make games for the system in addition to the PC & consoles.  Hopefully they can find a PC OEM manufacture to license the manufacturing & distribution of the new VCS, but who can say with things up in the air.  Hopefully Wade Rosen can find a group of investors to keep Atari going as a private company instead of a corporation that's always chasing after get-rich-quick schemes.

 

I believe that Atari, as it currently is now, should be a digital game publisher like Sega is now and should focus on getting their games on many systems including the VCS.  If the VCS, as a gaming platform, is to survive then they should make AtariOS available as a digital storefront for gaming PC's including Steam Decks.  Then people can make their own VCS's if they want or buy whatever VCS Atari is still selling.

 

But regardless of what happens, the VCS will still survive as long as there is still a vibrant community and even if there are no more new games available officially, then they can still be repurpose as desktop PC's or even emulation machines.

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13 hours ago, MrMaddog said:

Hopefully they can find a PC OEM manufacture to license the manufacturing & distribution of the new VCS, but who can say with things up in the air. 

[...]

If the VCS, as a gaming platform, is to survive then they should make AtariOS available as a digital storefront for gaming PC's including Steam Decks.  Then people can make their own VCS's if they want or buy whatever VCS Atari is still selling.

 

So, the same business model as CD-i and the 3DO, though hopefully more successful this time.

 

Licensing deals (to other PC manufacturers) could present a challenge. Atari would presumably want this as a source of revenue, but the margins on this type of hardware are going to be razor-thin and few customers are going to pay a significant premium for the Atari brand. Therefore manufacturers are not going to be willing to spend too much for the VCS name/branding. 

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Atari has expressed that there are games still in development and the VCS will continue to be supported.    I for one would like to see a more planned schedule of releases.   We are nearing the end of January and there has not bee a single release for the month.   Akka Arrh is coming in February, but I want to see more scheduled than that.   

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14 hours ago, MrMaddog said:

I believe that Atari, as it currently is now, should be a digital game publisher like Sega is now and should focus on getting their games on many systems including the VCS.  If the VCS, as a gaming platform, is to survive then they should make AtariOS available as a digital storefront for gaming PC's including Steam Decks.  Then people can make their own VCS's if they want or buy whatever VCS Atari is still selling.

I don't really see the point of running AtariOS on something like Steam Deck when Steam sells almost everything in the Atari store and more.

 

I hope by the time Atari decides to stop publishing new content,  they open the Atari OS to being able to install content from Steam, GoG and user-provided packages.   The VCS is capable of running thousands and thousands of existing games,  but AtariOS currently limits you to the hundred or so titles Atari sells.   It would be nice to run all my games in one place and not dual-boot into PC mode

 

 

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I don't know why Atari thinks this way, but for some reason they seem unwilling to release any titles for the VCS until Akka Arrh is released in February. I hear there is essentially a blackout window until Akka Arrh. Again, seems weird, plenty of time between now and then to release something that wouldn't squash the hype for Akka Arrh, but seems like a corporate meeting room decision.

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I would love to know how many units are still left, but I don't think we're gonna hear that info. We know there were thousands of units unsold, but we also know that the deep sales in November and December sold well enough that the shipping company had trouble keeping up with orders, and by the end of December there was a public shipping delay they had to deal with. Seems possible they aren't sitting on nearly as big a pile of unsold these days, but who knows. 

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Yeah I missed that to. Not like I need another 128 GB flash drive, and I'd probably never use the "pc mode" its sold as, but I love the brushed aluminum look with atari logo on it. Looks like a nice hefty USB drive. I think there was black too, but they're sold out now. Does Atari ever restock sold out items? I notice all the 2600 stuff disappears almost instantly to never return.

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