You Can Now Pre-Order Your Own Atari VCS

The once-legendary game developer is back on the gaming scene with the Atari VCS.

It’s been almost a year since the gaming console has been unveiled. And now finally, fans can pre-order the Atari VCS via an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign. As of this writing, it has surpassed its $100,000 goal and is now at $1,885,000 and still counting!

The company has upgraded the classic console to compete with other brands.  “New and classic games meet streaming media and a universe of web-powered entertainment on Atari’s first-ever connected home platform.”

It will come pre-loaded with Atari Vault, a 100-plus game collection of classic Atari games like Asteroids, Centipede and Missile Command. The company is also partnering with “leading industry partner to be announced shortly”.

The Linux-powered Atari VCS games console will come in two versions. One is the $299 “time-limited” Collector’s Edition featuring the faux wood-front panelling. The package comes with the console and a classic joystick.

The second version is the Onyx Edition which is all-black. You can buy the set (console and joystick) for $279 or just the console for $249.

As of this writing, Atari is also offering an early buyer discount for US buyers. The Onyx console is at $199 while the set has a price tag of $229.

Atari expects to begin shipping the VCS consoles in the Spring of 2019.

Nintendo Is Selling Cheaper Switch Bundles Without Dock

A cheaper Nintendo Switch without bundled TV dock is now available in Japan, targeting second unit Switch purchases.

Nintendo’s hit console, the Nintendo Switch, just got a little easier on the pocket. At least for the people in Japan – for now.

The cheaper bundle unit, aptly referred to as “Switch 2nd Unit Set,” does not come with the dock for TV. It is targetted to customers who already purchased the original Switch bundle. Which means their Switches already came with a dock and are already connected to the TV, thus not requiring an additional dock. It’s is also very good for people who actually just intend to use the console for handheld gaming.

The Switch 2nd Unit Set has a price tag of ¥24,980 yen or $225. It offers savings of 5,000 yen or $45 compared to the full Switch bundle. The cheaper bundle comes with the Switch game system, two Joy-Con controllers and the Joy-Con straps. It does not come with the Joy-Con grip controller, the HDMI cable nor the AC adapter.

If you don’t already own the AC adapter, it might be a bit tricky to charge the device. You will need to find a third-party USB-C charger powerful enough for the Switch so a bit of research is needed.

Nintendo has yet to announce the availability of the cheaper Switch bundle outside of Japan. We will keep you posted!

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Say Goodbye to Sony Playstation Vita Game Cards (and Consoles!) in 2019

Sony announced they would no longer make PS Vita physical games for US and Europe. They might also stop manufacturing the consoles.

Sony recently announced that they will no longer be producing the physical PS Vita games for the US and Europe. Digital distribution will still however continue.

Sony’s American and European branches “plan to end all Vita GameCard production by close of fiscal year 2018,” the company told developers in a message obtained by Kotaku.

It appears that the company’s game consoles may suffer the same fate. When asked by Japanese site GameSpark, the company confirmed that Japan will still get PS Vita cartridge games. But Sony did not give a clear answer on whether they will continue with the hardware production.

“Since in Japan we want everyone who keeps playing to enjoy an extensive game line-up, at this present point we plan to continue our marketing activity,” the Sony explained.

According to Kotaku, this answer isn’t reassuring at all because they did not answer anything about manufacturing. Instead, they chose to answer about their plans on marketing.

If indeed Sony will cease production of the PS Vita, it will not come as a surprise. The interest for the consoles has long died down, coupled with the high price.

Will you be sad to this particular game console go? Let us know!

 

Leaked Image Reveals Microsoft’s New Xbox Controller For Accessibility

The Xbox may be getting a new controller built for accessibility.

A leaked image posted by Twitter user WalkingCat shows a controller with two oversized A and B pads, a d-pad, and the usual Xbox button and navigation controls. Could this be a controller designed for people with disability?

It seems very likely. Windows Central reports that Microsoft has been quietly working on a controller designed around accessibility needs. It is possible that this could be the latest controller for the Xbox.

The giant A and B pads look like they can be programmable controllers. It also has a large directional pad, and oversized Guide, Back, and Start buttons. Looking closer at side of the controller, you can see a USB port and a headphone jack. At the controller’s top part, there are at least 22 symbols which could be inputs for other devices to map Xbox functions to. The three light LEDs could indicate when different programmed modes are active.

It’s good to know that major companies like Microsoft are trying to be more inclusive in their devices. There’s no denying that most gaming consoles require precise motor control which could be difficult to some people. If this turns out to be a real device, it could really give a better gaming experience for those with unique accessibility needs.

Microsoft will have its E3 in June. If this is indeed a legit device, we’re sure to hear about it at the event.

Nintendo Switch Hardware Update Maybe Coming Soon

Clues on a possible hardware update on Switch include a new processor and more RAM.

The rumour mill is churning and somehow it’s hinting that a new Switch maybe in the works.

The recent 5.0 firmware update didn’t deliver any major changes to the device. It basically expanded the console’s parental control settings, and fixed bugs on playtime data.

But the clever guys on Switchbrew (through Resetera) probably had plenty of time in their hands and found some interesting bits when they went digging. Hidden in the file updates is a folder with showing some evidence of a new hardware configuration codenamed ‘Makiro’.

First off, there is a reference to a new Tegra 214 processor, which would replace the current Tegra 210 system on chip (SoC). Although this is probably mostly due to security reasons, the new processor could also bring some slight performance improvements.

Recently there have been a lot of vulnerabilities discovered in the Switch’s current firmware. This allowed users to install the homebrew software which opened it up to pirated games. Although Nintendo was able to patch some of these, the new processor could be a better solution.

Another nugget of information discovered was a PCB update and RAM upgrade. Files suggest that Nintendo may double the RAM from 4GB to 8GB which suggests a more powerful model.

Researcher Mike Heskin cautions however that it is also possible that this model may be intended for developers only and will not make its way to the consumers.

 

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