The first half of January was very productive for the Atari VCS initiative on several fronts. After a busy week of sharing live demos of working Atari VCS units and software with enthusiastic partners, retailers, and press at CES, the team went straight to China for more manufacturing prep. Over a two week period in January, the team supervised a fresh pre-production run of Atari VCS development units; departing just as the factory team was preparing for their annual two-week holiday break and New Year celebrations.
We have explained in a previous blog many of the refinements we’d be making in the next build, so rather than be redundant, we present an extended gallery of new factory photos with limited comments.
The January build cycle resulted in a supply of “new and improved” Atari VCS pre-production dev kit units, many of which are already in the hands of content developers, with more going out starting this week. The streamlined and bright red Atari VCS PCB boards shown in the accompanying photos are upgrades over the original navy blue boards we have previously shared images of. The plastic housings in this new batch have still not been updated to final finishes.
The Atari OS and Dashboard Improvements
While the hardware was getting a lot of post-CES attention at the factory, our software teams were delivering fresh builds of the Atari VCS operating system and dashboard. Since returning from China and receiving new units, we’ve begun working on updated videos to better showcase the latest WIP builds of the OS and dashboard.
Below is an easy-to-follow run-through of an updated dashboard beta build shot at Atari HQ. This video shows a pre-production Atari VCS being connected to a TV/monitor and powered up with full internet connection and Atari Modern Controller. Our user logs in and navigates around the VCS dash to open Antstream, several popular web-based streaming services, and finally plays some games in the Atari Vault. This is the same hardware and WIP software build that our content partners are currently working with, and newer software than what was shown at CES. (Please note that all IP and marks included on the Atari VCS dashboard are depicted for demonstration purposes only and are the sole property of their respective rights owners.)
Next steps in China
The Chinese government has extended the New Year holiday an extra week until February 10. We are in close contact with our teams in China, and when the factory reopens, they will gauge the impact that the Coronavirus may or may not have on the next few weeks of production. In the meantime, we send our Chinese factory team and all affected partners best wishes for a safe and speedy end to this situation.
We remain dedicated and determined to do whatever is needed to drive the Atari VCS project forward to a successful delivery and will continue to provide updates as we get them.
Thanks for your ongoing support, enthusiasm and understanding.
— The Atari VCS Team