NEW YORK, Feb. 11, 2020 — Atari® — one of the world’s most iconic consumer brands and interactive entertainment producers — today announced that it has acquired an exclusive license for all assets of Wonder, the innovative gaming company behind WonderOS, an Android-based hybrid mobile gaming and entertainment platform.
What this means is that the Atari VCS™ is going to be pretty heavily into cloud oriented gaming, and the console itself will be as much of a terminal as a game platform. The idea is to make the gaming and entertainment experience as stateful and persistent on a per user basis as possible. The new Atari VCS hopes to be not just a gaming system, but an entire ecosystem, taking advantage of the promise of the new 5G wireless mobile computing communications standard.
The pioneering WonderOS technology was designed to unify mobile, console, and PC gaming experiences, offering an ecosystem that gives access to multi-platform games, entertainment apps, and streaming services — locally or through the cloud.
Wonder as a company hasn’t been around that long. It was founded in 2016 by CEO Andy Kleinman, an entrepreneur and former executive of Disney and mobile game companies Scopely and Zynga. “As a life-long gamer and fan of the brand, I can’t imagine a better company than Atari to be moving forward with,” said Kleinman. “I am confident that Atari is the right partner to bring Wonder’s promising technology to market.”
Atari itself has been around practically since the beginning of console gaming, and its Atari 2600 defined the marketplace for years. They transcend generations and audiences, and has a portfolio of either owned or managed games and franchises including more than 200 titles, including world-renowned brands like Asteroids®, Centipede®, Missile Command®, Pong®, and RollerCoaster Tycoon®.
They had owned the console scene from about 1984 to retreated from the console scene toward the end of the 90’s, with millions in the bank from successful lawsuits, but no actual product to sell. It wasn’t until June of 2017 that they announced the existence of a new production effort centered around the VCS system, but until now they’ve been laying low with respect to information about the new platform.
The new console will feature graphics powered by AMD Razen chipsets, and will be 4k capable right out of the box. They’ll also feature wifi, bluetooth, ethernet, USB ports, and everything else they need to function as a computer / console hybrid device.
This is the first console we can think of that can run other operating systems, by the way. On the Atari VCS web site, they speak of the device’s planned ability to boot the device in what they call “sandbox mode”, and run Windows, Linux or ChromeOS.
They also claim you’ll be able to load and run PC games on it. We’re suspicious of that one – even a lot of PC games aren’t completely PC compatible, so if there’s something even a little wonky with the Atari VCS people won’t have a fun time doing this.
The ribbed casing is a bit retro, recalling the seasoned history of Atari. Surprisingly, the classic Atari simplistic joystick is back, but we’re certain it contains some extra surprises that exceed the original, including bluetooth connectivity and what appears to be an SD slot nestled amongst the extra buttons.
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Founded by game industry veteran Andy Kleinman in 2016, Wonder raised $14M USD in venture capital from high-profile investors including Grishin Robotics and TCL Communications, with additional contributions made by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, former Sega CEO Hayao Nakayama, former Disney Interactive president John Pleasants, Grammy-winning artist Shakira, late NBA Commissioner David Stern, and former Zynga, Facebook, and MySpace executive, Owen Van Natta.