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Atari VCS FAQ offers fresh console details and focus from COO Michael Arzt

According to Arzt, the VCS is looking to capitalize as a mini PC more far more than offer a retro console or get involved in a competition with next-gen systems.


For about as long as the Atari VCS has been in development, critics have often wondered about who this device is marketed towards and what it’s packing under the hood to execute and deliver once it’s in the living room. To that end, Atari VCS COO Michael Arzt recently published a lengthy FAQ to try to clear up some of the remaining mysteries about the device. Among the many questions taken on, Arzt goes into further detail on the tech of the VCS, as well as Atari’s priorities in game availability and customer appeal.

Michael Arzt published a Q&A on the Atari VCS on Medium on July 29, 2020. The goal of the publishing was to answer many of the common questions that are still coming up in regards to the purpose and priorities of the Atari VCS. Interestingly enough, Arzt claims it’s wrong to think of it as a “retro console” such as the Atari Flashback and other such devices.

“The Atari VCS is a much more powerful PC-based device, with a premium build quality, significantly more power, internet access, and an online store full of games, apps and streaming services, so it really can’t be compared to the “throwback” consoles,” Arzt wrote.

Artz stresses that Atari isn't truly aiming to compete one-to-one with next generation consoles so much as offer players a versatile gaming and streaming experience through the VCS.
Arzt stresses that Atari isn't truly aiming to compete one-to-one with next generation consoles so much as offer players a versatile gaming and streaming experience through the VCS.

Michael Arzt compares the Atari VCS more to the design of a mini PC, banking on the power of a AMD Ryzen R1606G processor with Radeon “Vega” Graphics technology to offer the power of mid-tier gaming PCs in a form factor.

“In spite of such a small form factor, the R1606G processor used in the Atari VCS allows for HD gaming and supports a variety of video codecs for 4K HDR videos and streaming,” Arzt continued. “At our anticipated MSRP we see tremendous value in the Atari VCS All-In bundles when compared to comparable mini-PCs on the market, which typically require you to purchase an operating system, RAM, storage and peripherals.”

Arzt goes on to speak to the versatility and upgradeability of the Atari VCS. Though it will come packed with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 32GB SSD hard drive, four USB 3.1 ports will allow players to use external harddrives to load different operating systems (Windows 10, Ubuntu, Steam OS, and Chrome OS have been confirmed to work with varying technical effort). Just as well, two DDR4 slots are also available that have been tested to handle up to 32GB of RAM each. Arzt boasts that users can even upgrade to an M.2 SSD if they want for further improved performance.

While the $390 price tag may have looked daunting for the All-In Bundle on the Atari VCS, it’s looking a bit more clear what the console is going for and how it will deliver on what it offers. With the console set to ship in October and pre-orders for December 2020 open, Atari VCS is finally coming up against its finish line. With its focus on a sort of “mini PC in the living room” form factor and functionality, is it enough to make a solid case for an Atari VCS in your home come launch day? Let us know in the Shacknews Chatty comment section below.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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