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Classic Games (Games) Ubuntu

Atari Launches Linux Gaming Box Starting at $199 (linux.com) 75

An anonymous reader quotes Linux.com: Attempts to establish Linux as a gaming platform have failed time and time again, with Valve's SteamOS being the latest high-profile casualty. Yet, Linux has emerged as a significant platform in the much smaller niche of retro gaming, especially on the Raspberry Pi. Atari has now re-emerged from the fog of gaming history with an Ubuntu-based Atari VCS gaming and media streaming console aimed at retro gamers. In addition to games, the Atari VCS will also offer Internet access and optional voice control. With a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, the system can be used as a standard Linux computer.

The catch is that the already delayed systems won't ship until July 2019... By the launch date, Atari plans to have "new and exclusive" games for download or streaming, including "reimagined classic titles from Atari and other top developers," as well as multi-player games. The Atari VCS Store will also offer video, music and other content... The hardware is not open source, and the games will be protected with HDCP. However, the Ubuntu Linux stack based on Linux kernel 4.10 is open source, and includes a "customizable Linux UX." A Linux "sandbox" will be available for developing or porting games and apps. Developers can build games using any Linux compatible gaming engine, including Unity, Unreal Engine, and Gamemaker. Atari also says that "Linux-based games from Steam and other platforms that meet Atari VCS hardware specifications should work."

Atari boasts this will be their first device offering online multi-player experiences, and the device will also come pre-loaded with over 100 classic Atari games.

An Indiegogo campaign this week seeking $100,000 in pre-orders has already raised over $2.2 million from 8808 backers.
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Atari Launches Linux Gaming Box Starting at $199

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  • No they didn't (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @11:37AM (#56715762) Homepage Journal

    They started a campaign to FUND the future launching (if there are not manufacturing hiccups).

    Come back in 2019 and the console ships and repost this.

    • This is /. (Score:2, Funny)

      by rsilvergun ( 571051 )
      it'll be reposted by tomorrow morning if we're lucky, this afternoon if we're not.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      They started a campaign to FUND the future launching (if there are not manufacturing hiccups).

      Nevermind it's also Indiegogo, home of scams and frauds. I've seen way too many Kickstarter campaigns appear months afterwards on Indiegogo (oddly, they generally are the successful ones). But they are not real - they were scam campaigns with "flexible funding" ensuring the scammers get the money.

      Sometimes Indiegogo will remove the listings. Often times not.

      Even when this campaign is over you can bet an "Atarii" wi

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'll buy one. It's only $200 and it looks like a decent quad-core AMD A10 computer with a retro Atari VCS styling. I'll just need to wipe out the OS and install Windows 7 on it so I can actually play games.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Cheeky cunts.

  • So a silly box in a silly case with nothing but fake promises.

    I'm sure it will last ;-)

  • SteamOS isn't dead. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2018 @11:53AM (#56715828)

    with Valve's SteamOS being the latest high-profile casualty

    SteamOS is still being actively developed. It's Steam Machines that are no longer being produced. It's still possible to build your own Steam Machine and install SteamOS on it.

    • SteamOS is being used by a tiny fraction of gamers and while it might not yet be a casualty it is certainly moribund. The market failure of steam machines has all but buried it.
  • by J. T. MacLeod ( 111094 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @12:00PM (#56715856)

    The company wearing Atari's skin thinks it can make the Ouya work.

    To be fair, Ouya didn't even try to make the Ouya work. And with advances in ARM processors and their matching GPUs, now is a better time in terms of hardware. But other than their excellent physical design, there's nothing that gives me any confidence that this will go any better.

    (Also: We can't call Valve's dabbling in Linux a failure considering that they didn't fully charge ahead with it. They succeeded at creating a pressure release valve that kept Windows Store from picking up steam with publishers, and they continue to work toward that end.)

    • The company wearing Atari's skin thinks it can make the Ouya work.

      The following clause from the summary also made me think of OUYA: "and the games will be protected with HDCP." High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) blocks the use of (legal) HDMI capture devices. This means that in order for fans and reviewers to give exposure on YouTube to games worth buying, they'll have to invest in a combination of TV and camcorder suitable for making a video through the analog hole. The lack of YouTube exposure stemming from the requirement for all games on OUYA to use HDCP

      • by Dwedit ( 232252 )

        You're assuming that HDCP actually works and isn't bypassed by a cheap HDMI splitter cable.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          Until countries' customs departments start cracking down on imports of HDMI splitter cables that don't suspend operation when HDCP is in effect.

      • by mentil ( 1748130 )

        This Atari VCS device supports Twitch streaming. There are enough videos on Youtube of every Atari 2600 game that noone will be missing anything. Some other games may be ported to the device... but there will already be Youtube videos for those.
        The Playstation 3 enabled HDCP for every game (until a patch near the end of its life) IIRC.

        • This Atari VCS device supports Twitch streaming.

          I am unfamiliar with Twitch, other than that it is a video game live streaming service owned by Amazon. Does Twitch allow a game reviewer to edit together excerpts of gameplay to form a review? The answer to this question is important if Twitch is the only way to get video out of the device.

          There are enough videos on Youtube of every Atari 2600 game

          I was under the impression that not all games exclusive to the VCS (2019) would be from the 2600, 5200, and 7800.

          The Playstation 3 enabled HDCP for every game (until a patch near the end of its life) IIRC.

          The PlayStation 3 console also had component out, which streamers and reviewers used.

    • > The company wearing Atari's skin thinks it can make the Ouya work.

      Thank you. We should not get into the habit of addressing such name-buyers as if they were the original thing. When names with goodwill are sold, the buyer with a plan to cash in on it inevitably can land the highest bid.

  • The issue is that "Atari" (not sure who they are at this point, the name keeps changing hands) are trying to sell us nostalgia, which I already have via a FPGA system. So what will they offer, that I can't get elsewhere for less? Far as I can tell, they got nothing. I see nothing about the unique platform specific games that would make me want to shell out anything for such a system.
  • Steam OS was a casualty? https://store.steampowered.com... [steampowered.com] Steam Machines perhaps? https://www.polygon.com/2018/4... [polygon.com]
    • It's a casualty in that it never really took off. If it was anyone but Valve with their barrels of money being made from Steam, it probably would have been shuttered long ago. Honestly, I've always thought one of the problems was that Valve didn't just build the thing themselves and run a certification program similar to other console makers. There's little money to be made on the hardware side, so I'm not sure why they thought 3rd party manufacturing would be a good idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In gaming, BSD has beaten Linux so far with the PS4, the number one platform for this generation.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Android phones and tablets run games on Linux (without GNU). PlayStation 4 consoles run games on a customized distribution of FreeBSD. iOS devices also run games and use pieces of FreeBSD at the base of userspace. But I imagine that Android devices have outsold PlayStation 4, iPhone, and iPad put together.

  • wait, what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Attempts to establish Linux as a gaming platform have failed time and time again

    Most of the studios making actually good game are releasing on Linux these days.

    Acid Wizard? (Darkwood) Check.
    Snapshot? (Phoenix Point) Check.
    Obsidian? (Pillars of Eternity) Check.
    InXile? (Wasteland 2/3) Check.
    Almost Human? (Grimrock) Check.
    Frictional? (Amnesia) Check.
    Re-Logic? (Terraria) Check.
    Catalyst? (Shadowrun) Check. ...

    On and on - that's the tip of an iceberg. Most of the interesting games are releasing on Linux. On the other hand, if you think Call of Duty 49 or Madden 290 is your idea of a good

    • I don't play CoD or Madden or most other AAA games, possibly the only exception to that might be World of tanks, but that doesn't have mindless microtransactions or lootboxes, (Nor a Linux version for that matter). But your pure ignorance and dismissal of what the majority of gamers play in favour of your niche games is one of the reasons Linux gaming has really failed to make it mainstream. The attitude that only what you enjoy can possibly be right will ensure it never becomes mainstream. So if you are g
  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @12:42PM (#56715984)
    at that price point. It's an AMD SOC with 4 gigs DDR & 32 gigs storage. The trouble is ram prices are pretty high. The board/CPU can probably be had for $50 bucks in quantity (neweggs got one for $70). The ram's gonna be at least $30 unless they use the cheap stuff (and they'll pay for that later in returns). Figure $5 for the storage. Figure $20 for the case and $15 for the controller, another $15 for packaging and another $20 to ship the thing (including cost of getting it to them and then to the consumer). I'm gonna guess that case cost them $5-$10 to get made (custom tooling is expensive and it doesn't look anything like the existing flashback consoles). They're getting close to $150 bucks. Take 8% for Indiegogo's cut and you've got almost all your profit.

    Now let's talk support. It's Linux and not Chrome. Not sure if that matters. If the only folks who buy it are techies they might be OK, but there's still going to be support costs.

    Still, it's Indiegogo, meaning probably no prototype to speak of. The whole thing feels like a scam. If it's not that price point would make it a great little Linux box though.
    • Now let's talk support. It's Linux and not Chrome. Not sure if that matters. If the only folks who buy it are techies they might be OK, but there's still going to be support costs.

      Support will likely be:
      1. you plugged it in and it didn't work? mail it to us and you'll get a refurbished unit
      2. you don't understand how to use a webbrowser UI to play your games? go to our forum on your computer and ask questions.

      (the company I currently work for uses the same sort of "support forum" for PC, Mac and Linux gamers)

      As for the price. I suspect BOM plus production costs are around $80-120, anything more and they'd walk away from it and cancel the campaign. If executed poorly BOM can be $230-2

  • by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @01:00PM (#56716044)

    with Valve's SteamOS being the latest high-profile casualty

    So, either:

    A) SteamOS has been discontinued (news to me), or...

    B) Whatever moron wrote the above has no idea what those words even mean...

  • which Atari games? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Saturday June 02, 2018 @01:03PM (#56716060) Homepage Journal

    I don't think I really want to spend $199 to play Atari 2600/5200 games.

    Now if the catalog was all the PC games Atari/Infogrames/GT Interactive has published for the last 25 years then that is more interesting. For example: Roller Coaster Tycoon, Alone in the Dark, Test Drive, Deer Hunter, Unreal Tournament (technically), Neverwinter Nights, Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonshard, Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes, ... there are lots of decent to good games in their catalog.

    Lots of contracts and agreements to hammer out as I'm sure many rights have reverted back to the original owners by now. But I'm optimistic because there is a convincing argument that money can be made.

  • Let's hope that, among those "re-imagined" clasics, they are able to port the games on the "Atari Arcade" to the browser of that machine.

    I played those games back in the day while I was still using Windows (on MacOS since 2009) and those were good fun.

    You can try them (with variable sucess, depending on browser) even now:

    https://atari.com/arcade#!/arc... [atari.com]

  • An Indiegogo campaign this week seeking $100,000 in pre-orders has already raised over $2.2 million from 8808 backers.

    Damn. It would have been funny if there had been 720 or 722 less backers.

    • 8808 backers.

      Damn. It would have been funny if there had been 720 or 722 less backers.

      Or if you were dyslexic.

    • by mentil ( 1748130 )

      Even funnier if it had 6507 or 6502 backers, considering the actual chip used in the Atari 2600.
      I checked back for a few days and noticed the funding amount slowed down drastically after it hit $2 Million. Apparently people realized it'd make more sense to buy a $15 Raspberry Pi and load it with games than to buy a $200+ device loaded with an unknown mix of Atari 2600 games. Now if it included 5200/7200/8-bit/ST/Lynx/Jaguar games, then it would be something that hasn't been released before. It's way over-sp

  • And just like the long gone (real) Atari they are selling promises of things like "new games" that will never see the light of day. They are just a startup who won the lottery this go around to get the Atari name brand so they can get the public to fund them, like what happens every 3 years, so they can develop a few units, pocket the funding profits and then wait another 3 years to repeat. The nostalgia for retro Atari, like Commodore, never fades. And they continue to exploit that.
  • Why would any retro gamer want a console?

  • The hardware doesn't look that bad to me. I mean Much better specs than Ouya, Ubuntu instead of Android, and a standard hardware platform instead of the chaos of Steam Machines. The promo video also seems to imply that "Atari" understand we can't live on recycled 2600 junk, and there will be coin-op arcade games and even some modernized ones following the model of Tempest 4000. If those actually materialize, they could possibly get me on board.

    But it's a YEAR away, even assuming there are no further de

  • $200 on a machine that plays 30+ year old games....

    Yeah, this is DOA..

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