Slightly Mad Studios, the makers of honk ’em ups including Project Cars and Need For Speed: Shift, have announced plans to launch a games console of their very own. Less than one week into 2019, we already have a strong contender for Gaming Folly Of The Year. Unlike the Ouya, the last big attempt to establish a new player in the console market, this is to be a big, fancy, expensive console like yer PlayBoxes and Xstations. What does this have to do with PC gaming? Well… I hope this daft plan doesn’t drag down a studio who make pretty deece games and employ 160-odd people.
“The Mad Box is coming,” Ian Bell, the CEO of Slightly Mad, tweeted on Wednesday (as retweeted by the studio’s account, so it is legit).
“What is the Mad Box?” he continued. “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.”
You have it.
Bell explained a little more to Variety, including clarifying that the VR will be 120fps. He said that Slightly Mad “plan to allow games from all developers, old and new,” who’ll get to use the studio’s own cross-platform development engine. That’ll be the Madness engine. They don’t plan to lock down exclusives, and its price will be “competitive with upcoming console prices.” So… why?
“We think the industry is a little too much of a monopoly or a micro oligopoly,” Bell told Variety. “We think competition is healthy and we have the required hardware contacts to be able to bring something epic to fruition based on our designs.”
He does say they “have multiple investors already offering the required funding for us to see the product to completion,” so at least this isn’t all coming out of their own pocket. Because, y’know, it seems doomed.
Most games are cross-platform nowadays anyway, and the few games which are exclusive play a large part in console purchase decisions. Not to mention many widely-used engines are cross-platform, so that perk isn’t huge to developers either. With no exclusives and no established brand or brand loyalty, I can’t imagine this doing well.
Slightly Mad are also working on a Project Cars game for pocket telephones, as well as still updating Project Cars 2.