In all honesty, I almost thought this “news” was a joke when it surfaced, and that Ian Bell — CEO of Slightly Mad Studios — wanted to join the fold of crazy stuff that surfaced at the end of 2018, but no. According to a recent interview and a couple of tweets, Bell is serious about bringing a new “high-end console” to the games market in the next two or three years.
On January 2nd, 2019, Slightly Mad Studios CEO, Ian Bell, noted on Twitter that he and crew are developing a “stand-alone console,” that will not only support VR but will offer a free engine for devs to utilize.
In addition to this, on January 2nd, Bell also took up an interview with website Variety (archive.is) that details what this forthcoming “high-end” console will bring — dubbed “The Mad Box.”
Although many people responding to the Twitter post still believe “The Mad Box” is an early April Fool’s joke, Bell set forth to dispel the notion to said publication site by saying:
“The console will ship in around three years time and that it will be a console as is the Xbox or PlayStation.”
“It will support most major VR headsets and those upcoming and the specs will be equivalent to a ‘very fast PC 2 years from now. We’re in early talks with manufacturers of components so we can’t say much more right now other than we have the designs specced out in detail.”
Furthermore, “The Mad Box” is said to have a worldwide release and is planned to support games from all developers both old and new. However, this plan raised concern from the curious in that folks wanted to know if there will be any exclusives. Well, Bell told Variety:
“We think exclusives are ‘exclusionary’ but given that we’ll be shipping a cross-platform engine to all developers it will be their choice. As of now, we have no plans to pay developers ‘incentives’ to exclude other hardware vendors.”
With that said, most people who did not believe “The Mad Box” to be fake questioned why even make something that will likely fail? To that question, Bell had this to say:
“We think the industry is a little too much of a monopoly or a micro oligopoly. 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.”
As of right now, Bell and crew have investors that offer the required funding for the team to see the product’s completion, as stated below when Bell had a word with Variety:
“We have multiple investors already offering the required funding for us to see the product to completion, but it’s still early days and we’re looking at the best offers right now. All that we have approached are discussing standard partial ownership investment deals.”
With that said, what are your thoughts on The Mad Box? Do you think it’s dead on arrival? Something the games industries needs or are you indifferent to it and will believe it when you see it?