Slightly Mad Studios’ new console sounds absolutely nuts
Yup, you read the title right. Slightly Mad Studios, the developer of racing hits Project CARS 2 and Need for Speed: Shift, intends to kick off the new year with all guns blazing.
Just yesterday, 2 Jan., their CEO Ian Bell released a series of tweets introducing the Mad Box, a VR-compatible standalone gaming console. This seems to be the most important one though:
What is the Mad Box? It's the most powerful console ever built… It's literally 'Mad'… You want 4k, you want VR at 60FPS? You want a full engine for free to develop your games on it? You have it.
— Ian Bell SMS (@bell_sms) January 2, 2019
Fortunately, there’s no need to do the math just yet. It’s scheduled for release about three years down the road, so you’ll still have a tidy window.
What does the Mad Box offer?
Money aside, you might be thinking that VR at a mere 60fps frame rate sounds a little ‘meh’, and you’d be right. This was something that Twitter user LogiForce pointed out as well. In response, Bell explained that he meant it was 60fps per eye, which indicates a monstrous 120fps overall. He also mentioned that the performance of the Mad Box would be equivalent to that of a “very fast PC 2 years from now”, but only time will tell if it lives up to the hype.
In his email exchange with Variety (thanks, guys), Bell also talked about how the console would be accessible to everyone, his exact words being: “We plan to allow games from all developers, old and new.”
This is a bombshell if I’ve ever seen one. In an era with platform exclusives, having a platform that allows access between various developers and games would definitely rock the boat. Imagine being able to play both Playstation and Xbox games on the same console! Additionally, on the topic of platform exclusives, Bell stated that the company would leave the decision in developers’ hands, and there are no plans to incentivise platform exclusivity in any way.
Facing the competition
Over on the business end, it doesn’t take a genius to see that it’s going to be quite the uphill battle for the Mad Box. Considering the current big fish in the console pond: the Playstation, Xbox, and perhaps the Nintendo Switch, the Mad Box will certainly have quite the competition even three years from now. This towering challenge was a factor Bell acknowledged too, but he remained adamant that competition will have a part to play in the Mad Box’s success.
As for pricing, you won’t have to worry about the Mad Box shattering any wallets. Bell wrote in the exchange that the Mad Box would be competitively priced with other next-gen consoles. Design-wise, the studio doesn’t have anything concrete yet, but the team expects to release several drafts three to four weeks from now.
There’s no doubt: it’s refreshing to see another contender entering the console market. But whether the Mad Box’s supposed next-gen visuals and accessibility can outperform the longtime consoles remains to be seen. Guess we’ll just have to observe how the cookie crumbles in the next three years.
For more information, you can check out Variety‘s full exchange here.