The new Atari VCS isn't technically a console--it's a Linux-based "PC" that supports gaming as well as other connected content (probably streaming, browsing, etc). Apparently the system's hardware will be a limiting factor to its gaming capabilities.
At $250 I don't think anyone expected the Atari VCS (previously known as the Ataribox) to run demanding AAA games at blistering performance targets. But just what kind of gaming can the box deliver? Atari says the all-in-one style box is powered by a customized AMD Radeon processor but official details haven't been revealed, and according to Tom's Hardware, the box's gaming power may be closer to the Nintendo Switch rather than an Xbox One or PlayStation 4.
The publication spoke to Atari COO Michael Arzt at GDC 2018 to glean some more details about the box. The Atari VCS is technically compatible with all Linux-based games, but running them at acceptable FPS or in-game resolution is another story: don't expect the latest and greatest games to run at 1080p 60FPS on the device, for example.
Interestingly enough it appears Atari is testing lower demanding games like the first Borderlands on the Atari VCS to see what happens...which is interesting given pre-orders might open up soon.
I'm keen to see if Atari's gamble pays off or not, but for right now it sounds like risky business.
The Atari VCS seems mostly suited towards supporting Atari's huge arsenal of classic games and IPs alongside smaller independent game projects versus tackling AAA blockbusters. This begs a very important question: will people actually spend $250 to play old Atari games, surf the web, stream Netflix, play indies, and possibly run an older Linux game at lower settings?