Last year, I laid out my reasoning for why the nostalgia-inducing Atari VCS console could very well be my next Chromebox. With hundreds of retro games, access to streaming game services, a built-in Chrome browser, and a full-blown PC Mode, there’s very little this console doesn’t offer. The Atari VCS launched a few months back and you can pick the 800 series from Best Buy and other retailers for $399. The most intriguing aspect of this device, to me, is the fact that you can run live OS images from the USB port. The spec sheet even lists Chrome OS as one of the operating systems. I’m assuming that this is actually something along the lines of Neverware’s CloudReady but still, it’s really cool.
I’d bet that many that seek out the Atari VCS are simply looking for a viable gaming platform that brings back fond memories of days gone by. That said, the VCS is a versatile gaming console for a reasonable price, and the addition of PC functionality makes it a great option for those wanting a true all-in-one desktop device. The folks behind the VCS must see the console’s potential as a work PC because they just announced the addition of the Google Workspace Suite of apps that will live directly in the Atari VCS dashboard. That means you can access tools like Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and more without having to open a browser or boot from your USB-based OS.
With new games and services releasing regularly — and now with the ability to check emails, catch up on social media, school, work, shopping, or your favorite content — the Atari VCS is a functional and fun addition to the home that can be utilized by everyone in the family.Atari VCS
I wasn’t in any rush to get my hands on the VCS but this changes things up a little. I’m very interested in seeing the Workspace apps run on the console. Even if you don’t go so far as to boot Chrome(Chromium) OS or another operating system, this could legitimately replace a home or work desktop for a lot of people. So many live life exclusively in a browser, what else would you need? Atari VCS understands that and it looks like they’re trying to take a bite out of that market share with a device that’s sleek enough to sit on a desktop but versatile enough to be your go-to for work and play alike.
The system’s compact chassis makes it an ideal choice as a powerful set-top mini PC and gaming device for the office, living room, bedroom, or anywhere else in the home. Without taking up prime media center real estate as a traditional desktop PC or laptop, the Atari VCS’ unassuming profile and sleek appearance compliment its constantly expanding range of utility.
Some other cool features of the console include the companion app which allows you to access the dashboard from your mobile device and the fact that the RAM and storage are expandable. This makes the gaming/PC rig highly customizable and capable of doing just about any task. I have one of these on the way and honestly, if you can run Chrome OS on it, I don’t know that I’d ever recommended a Chromebox to anyone that does any degree of gaming. We’ll report back when I get the Atari VCS in my hands and you can look forward to a video of us running Chrome OS on the game console. If you have the Atari VCS, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the device. Drop a comment below and let us know how it handles and whether or not you think that it’s a worthy replacement for the home desktop PC. You can learn more about the Atari VCS here.