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Useful Notes / Atari VCS

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The Atari VCS is a microconsole/miniature PC hybrid device produced by Atari, and the company's first console since the failure of the Atari Jaguar over two decades prior. The system comes pre-installed with a collection of 100 arcade and Atari 2600 games through its "Atari Vault", with the ability to purchase other classic games of that era, indie games, and various streaming apps on its digital storefront. Other modern titles are also supported by proxy thanks to the system's "PC Mode", which allows the user to boot alternate operating systems such as SteamOS and Windows. It released on June 15, 2021.

First teased as Project Ataribox in June 2017, it was initially planned for pre-orders and crowdfunding via Indiegogo to open in December 2017, with the console itself launching the following Spring. However, realizations that it would take more time to develop the platform pushed pre-orders and crowdfunding into May 2018, with the new release window being 2019. While the crowdfunding campaign did launch in Spring 2018 and manage to raise $2.9 million (far ahead of the $100,000 goal), the console continuously saw its launch pushed further and further into the future.


Not much was known about the Atari VCS beyond its name prior to release, something which garnered skepticism due to past failed crowdfunding endeavors, as well as an early interview with one outlet painting Atari as being unsure about what they wanted the console to be. All of this seemed to point to a device doomed to become vaporware, but despite the numerous delays - which include the upgrading of the system's CPU, the lead designer quitting over lack of payment, and production delays caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic - the Atari VCS would finally start being shipped out to backers in Fall 2020, with the console officially launching on June 15, 2021.

See the original teaser for it here, and the Indiegogo trailer here.

For the original Atari VCS, see the page for the Atari 2600. See also the Atari Flashback series.


Technical Specs:


  • Dual-core Ryzen Embedded R1606G APU system-on-a-chip; 2.6GHz base speed, boosts up to 3.5GHz
  • Integrated Radeon Vega 3 GPU


  • 8GB of DDR4 2400 RAM; user upgradable to 32GB
  • Internal storage of 32GB eMMC onboard flash storage; upgradable to 1TB via M.2 expansion slot
  • USB HDD support; solid-slate drives must be SATA-based


  • Dual-band 802.11-AC Wi-Fi, plus a gigabit Ethernet port
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Four USB 3.0 ports and an SD Card slot
  • HDMI 2.0 output


  • Linux-based operating system called Atari OS
  • A "PC Mode" that allows the user to install and boot another operating system, including Microsoft Windows.
  • Has two controllers designed by PowerA: the Classic Joystick and the Modern Controller. The former functions as a wireless Atari 2600 controller with a second fire button and a home button, while the latter is stylized to resemble a Xbox One gamepad, albeit with a directional disc as opposed to a D-Pad. Other third-party controllers can be paired to work with the system via Bluetooth.
  • Support for native 4K and HDR.

Alternative Title(s): Ataribox