The new Atari VCS Game Jolt partnership and our platform’s focus on independent game developers

Atari VCS team excited to announce its partnership with Game Jolt.

Game Jolt has a massive footprint in the indie gaming community, and their approach to helping new and small developers maximize their potential makes them an ideal partner for the Atari VCS.

The partnership is all about supporting independent developers — using the Atari VCS as a vehicle for expanding the audience for some of the most creative and celebrated titles on the Game Jolt platform, and creating revenue opportunities for the development teams behind them.

Who Is Game Jolt?

Game Jolt is one of the largest and fastest growing social community and game distribution platforms in the world. 140 million people have accessed Game Jolt to play, follow, and talk about games — and most importantly, provide feedback and encouragement to the indie game developers who post their games on the platform. With hundreds of thousands of creators from all corners of the world — ranging from young developers in their teens to large studios making millions of dollars in revenue — there are over 135,000 playable games currently accessible at GameJolt.com.

As part of the agreement, Game Jolt will work with individual developers to co-publish new games on the Atari VCS. The Atari VCS Store will feature a “Presented by Game Jolt” section to highlight game titles that came from the platform, and the partners expect to feature Game Jolt-incubated titles at launch. These titles will be fully-supported using Atari’s formidable PR, promotional and social community reach, with the intent to shine the spotlight on fun, inventive games and their creators.

Atari is focusing on Indie Games because we want to recapture the excitement of discovery and simple joy that the original Atari system brought to millions of households, and we think that showcasing the creative games of independent developers, and small and mid-sized studios to new audiences is one of the best ways to do that.

We want the Atari VCS to be a home for creative, indie games and we are going to continue to grow and refine our business, and our partnership network so that we are well-positioned to partner with individuals and smaller studios.

Over time we expect to attract AAA franchises from big studios — the Atari VCS is built to support them as well — but the large and vibrant indie game universe is where we are going to start.

And, unlike on the dedicated game consoles, just because a title isn’t in our storefront doesn’t mean you can’t play it on the Atari VCS. Users always have the option to enable and boot the Atari VCS into PC Mode and download their PC game library from Steam, Itch.io, Epic Games … or even to log into Stadia or any other service a user may choose, it is up to them.

A New Home for Old Friends

We of course want the Atari VCS to be a home for retro gaming, but retro isn’t our one and only goal. We designed the Atari VCS as a modern PC device that is retro-inspired, with plenty of integrated nods to our brand’s legacy.

There is a whole world of gamers who collect old consoles, amass large collections of ROMs and emulators, and even develop new games for the old hardware platforms. We eventually see the Atari VCS playing a role in that space, and we would love to draw a lot of those games, and their developers to our platform. We also envision the Atari VCS acting as a platform for these developers to use as they create and test new content.

Our long-term vision is to enable a full assortment of affordably-priced classic emulators and game ROMs to be accessed and downloaded from the Atari VCS store. We are working on this with some great partners and will have more to say about this in the future.

But we aren’t going to fulfill that vision on day one. A lot of work remains for us in the ROM and emulator space, and we want to work with the retro community to ensure that we add value to what they are already doing. They have been keeping the retro flames alive, and we aren’t ever going to just drop in like a 600 pound gorilla and try and try to grab it from them.

Retro gaming and classic Atari fans will find a few things to like immediately in the VCS. For starters every Atari VCS comes with a free copy of the Atari Vault, which includes 100 Atari console and arcade classics. Yes, that game collection is already available on Steam and some other platforms, but nothing will match the experience of playing the updated versions of home and arcade favorites optimized for the Atari VCS with the new Wireless Classic Joystick, including use of its new “twist,” rumble and LED effects.

Retro gamers are also going to love Antstream Arcade, an amazing retro game streaming service. When we launch, Antstream should have around 1,000 retro titles in their collection, with many more on the way. It's a truly amazing collection, full of both all-time classics and obscure nuggets. Best of all, every Atari VCS includes a 30-day free trial of Antstream Arcade.

So the very first time you turn on your Atari VCS you will have instant access to more than one thousand retro games from Atari and countless others.

Retro Re-Imagined: Optimized and Updated Classics

Many original Atari titles have been re-imagined over the years, and we think the Atari VCS is a natural platform for optimized and reinvented versions of these classic games. The game engines developers use now enable them to do amazing, creative things… and Atari has an IP library that includes around 250 great ideas they can build upon… and several already are.

The first “retro re-imagined” title we have announced for the Atari VCS is Missile Command: Recharged. It will be uniquely optimized for the Atari VCS and Wireless Classic Joystick, and there are several others expected to be in place by launch. Some of these titles will start as “Atari VCS Exclusives” and offer “Atari VCS Optimized” versions with unique content and/or features only available on the Atari VCS.

More new reinterpretations of Atari classics could easily spring forth from the Game Jolt community, in addition to ones already being worked on.

How developers can get involved

As we prepare for the launch of the Atari VCS, we are working to ensure our customers have access to a wide variety of compelling games and content.

Developers that want to learn more about creating games for the Atari VCS can visit the developer page on the Atari VCS website to learn more. From that page they can also access a form they can use to introduce themselves and their work to the Atari r team.

Our initial focus is to find partners that have existing games that can be easily ported to the Atari VCS, and who are interested in expanding their distribution and reach to the Atari community.

Atari is also eager to work with developers and publishers that have new games in-development and may be looking for publishing help, or to add an additional distribution channel ahead of launch. This can be for the Atari VCS and other platforms too.

And finally, we welcome co-development opportunities for new titles and reimagined versions of Atari classics that can appear on the VCS (and elsewhere).

What developers should know about developing for the Atari VCS

The native Atari VCS is an optimized build of Debian Buster, and 100% Unity compatible. Most any game or app developed in Unity, Linux, HTML5 and Web Stack, that is also controller compatible, will run on the Atari VCS out of the box. Porting an existing title to the Atari VCS is relatively straightforward and usually involves a few tweaks to ensure the game recognizes and maps to the controls on the Atari Modern Controller and/or Classic Joystick.

The Atari VCS itself is our “Dev Kit” hardware, and serves as the final test bed before publication. We have pre-production units on hand that can ship out immediately upon request to engaged and approved developers ready to port their content to — or develop on — our platform. More detailed developer documentation is made available to developers once they are under mutual NDA with Atari.

Atari also seeks to be as developer-friendly as we can be, by pairing a favorable revenue split with an industry-standard standard distribution agreement. The Atari VCS Store will deliver an 80% royalty for our standard, non-exclusive distribution. This increases to 88% for any Atari VCS-exclusive content.

The Future is in All of Our Hands

Where the Atari VCS platform is on day-one, day one-hundred, and day one-thousand will be three completely different things, and a meaningful portion of the progress will very much be in the hands of the community of developers and users we hope to cultivate.

As always, we thank and appreciate the backers and fans that have supported this project through thick and thin. Excelsior!

— The Atari VCS Team