The console wars are coming, and an unlikely opponent is set to rise to seemingly end the “monopoly or micro oligopoly” of legacy brands like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. London-based Slightly Mad Studios, the face behind racing games like Project Cars 2, has announced that it is working on a stand-alone next-generation gaming console to take on the next Xbox and the PS5. The console is aptly called the Mad Box, and it will apparently be ready to ship in around three years' time.
Here is how Slightly Mad Studios CEO Ian Bell describes the company’s upcoming console on Twitter:
“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.”
Not a lot is known about the Mad Box hardware for now, but Bell told Variety, “it will support most major VR headsets and those upcoming and the specs will be equivalent to a very fast PC two years from now."
The Mad Box seems to be primarily geared towards high-end VR experiences which isn’t all that surprising considering the studio’s history with racing and driving simulators: VR would invariably be the next level. But the Mad Box will focus on cross-platform gaming and will be open for all, and as such exclusives would be a no-no, at-least initially.
"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," Bell said.
But you can’t always expect to end a monopoly by playing fair all the time, and Slightly Mad Studios seems up to the task. “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.” Which means exclusives will come eventually, but at the same time, developers will always have the free-hand to build games that suit their best-case scenarios.
Bell goes on to say that the Mad Box will be a world-wide console and will be priced “competitive with upcoming console prices.” Early design builds for the Mad Box are expected to be revealed by Slightly Mad Studios in about four to six weeks.