Atari has self-published a Q&A with Atari VCS COO, Michael Arzt. Within the exec talks about QA testing, production, and the March 2020 release date for its retro throwback console. It even lightly touches on the controversy surrounding the console’s rocky journey to production – and apparently “no news is good news” for all you Indiegogo backers out there wondering what the hell is going on.
First of all, Arzt confirms that “the product is progressing according to the updated schedule of March 2020.” That gives the Atari VCS roughly four months to get finished and out the door on time. The project was given the green light on Indiegogo on June 30, 2018, receiving £2,362,318 in funding from 11,623 backers. Atari lists the VCS as in “prototype stage” on its campaign page, two stages shy of a completed project.
Communication, or lack thereof, has been a sticking point for backers of the Indiegogo campaign. The company’s official account was stripped of its mod status in the largest VCS subreddit due to attempts to mute users voicing their concerns. When asked to share Atari’s communication plans for the next few months, Artz responded with the following.
“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,” Artz says. “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.”
However, Artz does note that “‘no news is good news’ where the Atari VCS is concerned!” That’s settled then.
Michael Artz was at the epicentre of one of the first controversies surrounding the Atari VCS when the COO was caught out when claiming reporters at The Register were “irresponsible trolls.” Unfortunately for Artz, however, The Register called his bluff and dug out the recording of the interview and posted it online.
Atari addresses some of the “vigorous debate in social media” surrounding the VCS within the Q&A.
“The Atari brand generates a lot of passion. 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.
“We are glad to be reaching a stage where we can slowly start revealing more details and answer open and new questions from our community.”
The full Q&A can be read over at Medium, which includes justification for delays, the Indiegogo platform, and VCS’ UI and apps.
Atari states that its next update is just around the corner, filled with information on the team’s trips to China, production information, and factory photos. So stay tuned for more, especially as the project should be progressing at rapid pace in the lead up to March, 2020.