The Atari VCS had a lot of issues during development, but COO, Michael Arzt, insists backers will get their hands on the console in March 2020.
More than 11,000 people backed the Atari VCS on Indiegogo back in 2018, but the Atari VCS was delayed multiple times and there were a lot of questions concerning the console itself.
A Q&A by Michael Arzt, Atari COO, was posted on Medium and it covers some of the questions most often asked. Arzt stated that the machine was set for a full retail launch in March 2020, and a few pictures of the first Atari VCS pre-production units were shown off.
"Right now, the product is progressing according to the updated schedule of March 2020," Arzt said. "Our team is committed to bringing a successful product to market that we can be proud of, and that our customers will treasure for many years to come. Atari will always prioritise delivering a high-quality product over a self-imposed deadline. That was true at the project's start, it was true in March 2019, and it is true today."
The problem is, backers were told they will receive their Atari VCS in 2019 which is now ending. The other part of the promise being that they will receive them way ahead of the retail launch, which now seems like a few days before launch.
"Our Indiegogo backers are extremely important to us, and the entire team and I would like to thank our backers once again for their loyalty and continued support," Arzt said. "I am sure they will understand our prioritisation of delivering a quality product above all else."
"When we adjusted our schedule in March 2019, we were aiming for year-end 2019 delivery goal for the Indiegogo backers. Today, given the work still to be done, including the final stages of our certification and testing cycles, we now realise we will need a few more weeks than anticipated. Our teams, factories, and supplier partners are all working incredibly hard to make it happen; but as we all know, the devil is in the details, and we can win or lose a few days during each remaining step and will update our Indiegogo backers as soon as we have a final date."
Besides the huge delay, backers and possible customers are also concerned with how much Atari actually communicates about the project and the fact that nobody has ever seen the console running any game.
"We always want our backers, fans and customers to know how much they matter to us, and we want them to remain informed," Arzt said. "We understand that all of our stakeholders would like to know where things stand every day and want immediate answers to their individual posts and messages. I respectfully ask them to please understand that, as a public company, we must follow specific protocols that are in place."
"In addition, because we also must always consider the needs and wishes of our various partners, we do not always have full control over the pace or timing of our communications. We aim to make periodic updates to our community with complete transparency. If there was one thing I'd want people to always know, it's that 'no news is good news' where the Atari VCS is concerned."
As you could guess, the "no news is good news" line got people a bit mad, with many saying the approach is the opposite of what's needed given the scepticism around the Atari VCS.
"The Atari brand generates a lot of passion," he said. "It is only natural that we will attract interest and speculation, especially in the quiet periods heading into a major product launch like this one. Building a complex product like the Atari VCS from scratch takes time and care, and with any gaming and video platform, content in particular involves extensive discussions and cooperation with third-party partners. As tempting as it might be, we can't comment publicly on confidential partnerships and licensing discussions while they are in progress. As you can imagine, we are talking about some large brands that have rigorous confidentiality guidelines."
According to Atari, the March 2020 release date relates to North America only.
What do you think, is a nostalgia box worth $249.99 ($389.99 for the 8GB version)?