Atari said it has delayed shipment of the Atari VCS game console until the spring, the second time it’s done so for fans who placed their preorders on IndieGogo. It is the latest sign, including a contractor resignation, that the console launch is going slower than planned.
Chief operating office Michael Arzt said in a post last week that the Atari VCS will not ship to IndieGogo supporters in December as previously promised. Those who preordered their machines for $250-plus could still get their deliveries ahead of the general ship date of March for the broader launch.
Rob Wyatt, a co-creator of the Xbox and cofounder of The Last Gameboard, said he quit as lead architect for Atari, and he said that Atari did not pay his company, Tin Giant, for six months of work. Atari did not respond to a request for comment on that claim, but the company did say that the VCS will ship.
Arzt said the early adopter delay was due to the need to certify the hardware. Back in March, the company delayed the launch for the first time when it said that it would upgrade the hardware and go with an AMD Ryzen microprocessor from Advanced Micro Devices.
“When we adjusted our schedule in March 2019, we were aiming for year-end 2019 delivery goal for the Indiegogo backers,” Arzt said in his post on November 27. “Today, given the work still to be done, including the final stages of our certification and testing cycles, we now realize we will need a few more weeks than anticipated. Our teams, factories, and supplier partners are all working incredibly hard to make it happen; but as we all know, the devil is in the details, and we can win or lose a few days during each remaining step and will update our Indiegogo backers as soon as we have a final date.”
Atari began talking about the new console in June 2017. Atari raised more than $3 million in funding. But the machine went through a number of redesigns and changes in management.
The VCS has the look of Atari’s classic machines, but it can play older Atari games such as titles for the Atari 2600, but it is not purely a retro console. The game has modern hardware and it runs the Linux operating system, so that fans can get modern games to run on the machine as well as the older titles.