Atari Experiencing Legal Woes and Delays with the Launch of Its New VCS Console

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Atari VCS
Image: Atari

In recent years, Atari has come to resemble a phoenix as each summer begins. Originally, the revived console was announced in June of 2017 at E3 as the Ataribox. The Ataribox had a motif reminiscent of the Atari 2600. This was at a time when many other console manufacturers were re-releasing versions of their own classic systems. It seemed poised for success, as the public consumed these releases unto the point of some selling out. In June of 2019, things had slowed in this nostalgic market, but Atari’s train was still rolling. The Atari VCS 800 was made available for pre-order. Sporting an AMD Ryzen CPU and coupled with nominal features such as USB 3.0, HDMI, and WiFi, it seemed ready for prime time. Marketing for the iconic brand would even reach new heights with Atari-themed hotels.

Welcome to June of 2020, and things are a bit rockier for this almost mythical release. The folks over at The Register have been tracking an interesting turn of events. Evidently, Atari could be losing a lawsuit of over $200K by default very soon. The new console’s designer, Rob Wyatt, sued the new company for failure to pay his company’s invoices. The total has reached $261,720. Since Atari did not respond by the May 13th deadline, it is possible that a default judgement could be made. This is not the only legal issue to arise. A man named Feargal Mac Conuladh had claimed that he had a deal for a slice of the crowdfunding pie, and new company, for proposing the original idea. He also sued the company.

Launch Delays

Long before the global pandemic began to affect supply chains around the world, delays would happen. Announced in July of 2017, Atari had hoped to launch the following December. The Register reports that it was mysteriously canceled the day before. The mystery deepened when one of their reporters was at GDC 2018 and encountered nothing more than an empty box. Crowdfunding has been seemingly successful for the phantom console. To date, it has raised more than $3 million. Last month, Atari announced Atari Litecoin, a new type of cryptocurrency, as a means of payment for its in-house Atari Token. Most recently, it appears to finally be shipping the first 500 units soon. Hopefully, the other 11,000+ people who’ve helped fund the console won’t mind waiting longer.

Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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