Atari loses VCS console architect after reportedly missing payments

Joanna Estrada
October 10, 2019

It may be too early to judge the already delayed Atari VCS "retro" gaming PC "console" but it seems that it is getting dragged into controversy yet again after the departure of the still-unfinished product's designer.

The Register's story on his resignation claims the VCS console's development has been "mess", and that the console may never launch, citing insider sources.However, Atari is downplaying the report. But then Wyatt told The Register he stopped working with Atari because it hadn't "paid invoices going back over six months".

However, the good news comes with a conflicting statement from former Atari VCS architect Rob Wyatt, who has officially resigned from the project, accusing Atari of allegedly failing to pay six months of invoices.

In a statement to IGN, an Atari spokesperson says the Atari VCS is still on track. As a small company, we have been lucky to survive this long. He had been working on finalizing the hardware of the much anticipated retro console, finally seeing a prototype motherboard delivered last month. Now the Atari VCS will have to be finished by a company called SurfaceInk.

You can see images of a "pre-production board" over on a Medium post that Atari published shortly after The Register's report.

The resignation of Wyatt is the latest in a line of problems that the VCS has faced since its initial "Ataribox" announcement back in the summer of 2017. This is not to speak of disgruntled backers who were still waiting on concrete details pertaining to the Atari VCS, its infrastructure, and its official release, which had gone overdue. The Atari VCS has always been meant to be a PC masquerading as an Atari 2600, and all the design and hardware changes that entail. He was also responsible for "securely booting the AMD processor and developing a custom semi-embedded version of linux with highly optimized audio and graphics drivers".

As things now stand, the Atari VCS is scheduled to ship in March 2020. At GDC 2018, the Atari VCS units shown to press came under fire for being largely for show, something Atari said was the objective of the units all along.

"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", Atari added. "Along the way, he has also lent his expertise to many AAA video games and high-end movie special effects", Atari stated in a press release announcing its hiring of Wyatt.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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