Atari VCS console (Ataribox) lead architect Rob Wyatt resigns from project, claims non-payment for six months
UPDATE: After publication, we received the following statement from Atari:
"The Atari VCS is proceeding according to its previously announced schedule. Specific updates on the project’s current state have been shared previously and in today’s Medium blog post, as well as in today’s media alert.
It is Atari’s policy not to comment on an isolated matter under dispute, only to say that the Atari VCS project has always been a team effort and its success has never been and will never be dependent on any single individual or partner.
We remain confident in the Atari VCS as the entire team works diligently to bring forth its vision according to plan, and we will continue to communicate accordingly over the coming weeks and months, including hands-on presentations to key media and partners planned for later this fall."
The Medium blog post referred to in this quote can be found here.
The oft-delayed Atari VCS (formerly the Ataribox) console has had a troubled development so far, and it may get much, much worse. The lead architect behind the console, Rob Wyatt, has officially resigned from the project.
In a statement to The Register, Wyatt stated that he officially resigned on Friday, October 4th. Wyatt cited non-payment by Atari as a key reason for his departure. According to his claim, Atari hasn’t paid Wyatt’s company, Tin Giant, for the past six months. Tin Giant was contracted to help design and build the Atari VCS.
Wyatt’s departure has thrown the project into question, and with good reason. Aari has been blithe about project updates, software, and games for the console. Delay after delay has led many to speculate that the Atari VCS will ultimately be nothing more than vaporware, or hardware that never comes to be.
Further, The Register reports that, if it does come to market, the Atari VCS may be very different than what Atari sold to early backers. Citing sources familiar with the project, The Guardian reports that several features have been altered or nixed from the console, effectively rendering it as little more than a standard Linux PC. Per The Guardian, “Atari will not be able to build an ecosystem of games as it will not have its own store nor distinct operating system, and so has no control over how games and other software will actually run on it.” At this time, it seems that the Atari VCS has no original titles, no native apps, and will not be ready in time for release in March 2020, which would be the console's third delay.
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