Atari VCS deep dive interview with COO Michael Artz

We spoke with Atari COO lead Michael Artz about the feelings of finally launching the VCS, the motivations behind the machine, and what comes next.


The Atari VCS had a long road to launch. Chief Operating Officer Michael Artz says himself that “it was definitely a marathon, not a sprint.” Now that the Atari VCS is out in the world where players can get their hands on it, there’s more to be done. We got to sit down with Artz recently and talk about the feelings that led up to the VCS’s launch, what the team wanted to convey most about the VCS’s place in gaming, and what comes next for the platform.

For Michael Artz, years felt like a whirlwind from the first teaser before E3 2017 to the full launch of the console. More important than anything was getting the Atari VCS into the hands of the faithful - the Indiegogo supporters who pledged into the device from the get-go. After that, Artz claims there was a certain satisfaction among the team. It wasn’t just launching the console, but also being able to prove detractors wrong about what the device could do and was meant to do.

One of the major plusses of the Atari VCS has been its ability to not only play games, but also use a suite of apps programmed to work with the VCS mode. YouTube, Hulu, and Twitch are among the apps available to the device, but one of the most useful by far is a native Chrome browser app that allows users to browse the net with relative ease. That, in of itself, allows for access to things like Stadia and even Xbox Cloud Gaming, which is an extremely versatile feature. Artz says getting this suite of apps was paramount in the team’s priorities for the VCS and hugely exciting when those deals were made.

Finally, Artz speaks to the idea of comparing the Atari VCS to a modern console. It was something the team never wanted to happen. They were always going for the idea of a great form-factor mini-PC, where Artz claims the VCS holds its own for the price that is paid.

The Atari VCS is available now for purchase in participating retailers and on the Atari VCS website. Want more interviews like this? Be sure to check out our Shacknews and GamerHubTV YouTube channels. There, you’ll find a wealth of reviews, previews, interviews, unboxings, and more on the latest video games, technology, and toys.

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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