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Atari VCS, Amico, Micro Consoles

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Kairon:
Ah-ha! The Intellivision developer site for the Amico was available without any login credentials for long enough that details about a couple more in-depth technical aspects of the system, like actual hardware specs or how aspects of the controller can be disabled to conserve battery life, have been exposed to the wild of the internet: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2021/06/what-the-hecks-an-intellivision-amico-consoles-leaky-dev-portal-offers-hints/

UncleBob:
Yeah.  And Tommy immediately went on the attack, threatening legal action.

I'd say I'm about to cash out my $100 preorder.

Kairon:

--- Quote from: UncleBob on June 29, 2021, 06:29:27 PM ---Yeah.  And Tommy immediately went on the attack, threatening legal action.

I'd say I'm about to cash out my $100 preorder.

--- End quote ---

Tommy Tallarico going ballistic on twitter was just additional self-inflicted wounds.

Amico really at this point needs to "put up or shut up". I don't have a pre-order yet, but I will actually consider pre-ordering this fall if this thing actually starts to shape up and look like it'll have a real, honest-to-god, competent launch. Some of the pack-in games already have my curiosity, they just need to deliver the actual things they said they would.

On the other hand, getting a better idea of the hardware internals of the machine makes me think that the internals of the machine aren't horrendously expensive after all, so they might actually have more space than I thought for profit in whatever business plan they're running.

Edit: Got around to watching some videos that analyzed the big leaks and some other amino stuff yesterday and I'd definitely way more concerned about the amino now. As a concept it was already very very niche and having to prove that a market was there that no one believes exists, but now I'm worried about other things entirely, like whether they might have run afoul of SEC rules when raising funding. To be clear I think the Amico has definitely shown a lot more than the vaporware consoles of the 90's and early 2000's, but there is a real chance this thing becomes like the Phantom or something like that ilk.

Kairon:
NintendoLife did an interview with Tommy Tallarico specifically to follow up on the criticism that's brewed up after the developer site leak and consequent Ars Technica article. It sounds like he's had a chance to craft a much better message now and really offer a counter-narrative to the criticism that was sort of being left unanswered.

In fact, this might be the most encouraging thing I've seen in a long time by way of presenting the Amico. (I admit though that's really not saying much. However this is at least written out in text easier to digest than verbal responses on some youtube video, it contains a lot of important information about the Amico and the company themselves in one place, AND he actually goes into specifics!

The most important tidbits I feel he's elaborated on or revealed here include:

- Talking extensively about how they work with developers (Basically, everything on Amico will be 1st Party with Intellivision as the publisher and willing to pay indie devs upfront for the work (compare: Epic Store?))
- Pointing out clearly explained inaccuracies in previous criticisms, but steering clear and not getting bogged down in less useful tech specs talk
- Stating that the final hardware is completed and has passed compliance tests
- Going into more detail about the lag in updating the controller screen on one debug unit's firmware version.
- Stating on what terms they worked with J Allard
- Clarifying how they're not a crowdfunded platform
- Claiming 100,000 preorders and purchase orders already and having to turn down Costco and Target because of hardware shortages
- Clear statement of $20 million in funds (at the start? in the bank right now? That's not clear, but what is clear is that they have funding, just not infinite amounts of it)
- Talking about how Amico differentiates from a Switch, and also from Mobile, and some scenarios it is uniquely designed for
- Going into specifics about the substantial features and work they fund and put into ports like Finnigan Fox or Rigid Force Redux

It sounds like with the orders they have they're thoroughly convinced the players are there, they just are running into (understandably) difficult headwinds in building the final physical units they'd actually need to make launch. The final hardware is approved and tested, the launch software is also probably near-final (I think I learned that from some other place on the internet he was talking about), but they just need to build the darn things and at scale.

Order.RSS:

--- Quote from: Kairon on July 09, 2021, 12:39:42 PM ---NintendoLife did an interview with Tommy Tallarico specifically to follow up on the criticism that's brewed up after the developer site leak and consequent Ars Technica article. It sounds like he's had a chance to craft a much better message now and really offer a counter-narrative to the criticism that was sort of being left unanswered.

In fact, this might be the most encouraging thing I've seen in a long time by way of presenting the Amico. (I admit though that's really not saying much. However this is at least written out in text easier to digest than verbal responses on some youtube video, it contains a lot of important information about the Amico and the company themselves in one place, AND he actually goes into specifics!
--- End quote ---

Not super informed on this whole theoretical console, but reading that interview I'm not getting the same vibe at all. For something which was meant to release in April, and is currently tentatively slated for October, there's an absolute dearth of footage proving this thing truly works.
Their E3 video had a lot of fullscreen footage of games, but it's unclear if those are running on actual hardware, or are PC builds. Nothing has a release date, no studios are credited, and when their CEO says they're paying their devs fairly I guess we'll just have to take his word for it?
This interview mentions NintendoLife have seen the console in action, but we aren't shown that evidence.

It's deeply worrying a single ArsTechnica article can dominate half this interview. I won't even touch the whole fake journalism adjacent accusations ("make us look bad", "spreading misinformation to make us fail") which is a massive red flag by itself. None of this would have happened if Intellivision were doing a better job at marketing and crafting a narrative.
It's truly bizarre how "here's our console aimed at families with kids below middle school age, without predatory monetization" is so hard for them to communicate.

They clearly had no press kit ready stamped "break seal in case of leaks", they squandered their highest profile showcase (E3) to date on a pitch video you might see on a Kickstarter, and their CEO is (by own admission) prone to gaffes on Twitter. Why is he in charge of messaging and marketing, then? The Ouya had a more coherent message.

Why do we only get these partial specifications (for a product which was planned to already be out) after someone reports on Intellivision's internal documents, and are we then told these internal documents were wrong? Does Intellivision just keep a backlog of outdated documents up for its developer partners? Do they not maintain their dev portal? It paints a sloppy picture, which could easily be rectified with "here are our current guidelines" instead of issuing baseless legal threats.
By going into the weeds addressing every single point in the ArsTechnica article they're basically going on the defensive, turning this into a he-said-she-said situation. You won't win that when your company has not produced anything, while the other is a 20+ year running successful operation with respected reporters.

The weirdest thing is, I do think there could be a market for this product, but none of that market is reading tech and gaming websites. Maybe they are out there trying to reach the mom-bloggers, home shopping networks, and Nuclear Middle-Class Family Quarterly Magazine, and we're just not seeing it?
A lot of their games look less interesting to me than 2012 iPhone games, but I'm sure there's a "quick round before I drive you to soccer practice" crowd for this. Why waste so much time on rumors/reports/leaks so far outside of where your marketing needs to be? You don't see Nintendo acknowledging this type of reporting ever.


--- Quote from: Kairon on June 29, 2021, 06:36:08 PM ---Amico really at this point needs to "put up or shut up".

--- End quote ---

Think you hit the nail on the head here. And all we're seeing right now is more talk. I'm oddly fascinated by this whole saga so will look into it more. Not interested in the product at all, but I mean, it's not meant for people like me anyway.

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