Atari is facing doubts over whether its upcoming video game console, the Atari VCS, will launch in March after a system architect on the project decided to bail.
Rob Wyatt, a former architect for Microsoft’s original Xbox game console, resigned from the VCS development team last week on claims Atari failed to pay him over the past six months, which was first reported by The Register.
“I can’t say anything about the project itself, but I can confirm that my company is no longer working for Atari because of ongoing payment issues,” Wyatt told us in an email.
In June 2018, Atari hired Wyatt and his Colorado-based company, Tin Giant, to help develop the VCS, a retro-inspired console that’ll come with more than 100 classic Atari games on board. In addition, the system promises to run modern games and 4K media on your TV, thanks to the system’s AMD Ryzen processor and Linux-based OS.
Wyatt declined to go into details about his resignation, but he said “it’s time to focus on other projects.” He’s now currently working on a touch-screen board game project.
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.
“The Atari VCS is proceeding according to its previously announced schedule,” the company’s PR agency, UberStrategist, said in an email. “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.”
Perhaps to tamp down speculation, Atari also released a blog post detailing its progress on the console. The post includes various images of the VCS’s hardware components, including the motherboard and plastic casing around the device, along with images of the factory Atari is using to build the device.
“We are very much looking forward to hosting a series of hands-on preview events later in the fall for a select group of press and partners as soon as we are ready,” the blog post adds.
Over 11,000 consumers have backed the Atari VCS project via an Indiegogo.com campaign; they should be receiving their units starting in December. The company also plans on selling retail models starting at $249 for the 4GB RAM base model in March.