Slightly Mad Studios might have gone, well, slightly mad with the announcement of the Mad Box console. The developer of the Project CARS franchise is intent on entering the big leagues and bringing its very own gaming console to market. While we’ve certainly seen our fair share of strange consoles as of late—I’m looking at you, Soulja Boy—this isn’t planned to be some dinky little box that can play simple games. Slightly Mad Studios is swinging for the fences.
“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’,” Slightly Mad Studios CEO Ian Bell told Variety. His company’s vision of the console plans to support 4K gaming and the capability to display modern VR games (and really, any other games) at a smooth 120 frames per second. Further details about his expectations were posted on his newly-created Twitter account.
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 CEO SMS, Executive Director Codemasters. (@bell_sms) January 2, 2019
One might wonder if Slightly Mad Studios will be turning to crowdfunding or the like for this endeavor. That’s unlikely, says Bell. The company is already shopping around the Mad Box console to various different investors.
According to the creator, the idea has seen interest from organizations that could comfortably fund the project in its entirety. The Mad Box console will nonetheless be a business venture and one particular financial figure might be on the mind of customers: the cost. Mr. Bell believes that they can ship the Mad Box at a level competitive with the launch prices of other home consoles. This will be helped along by Slightly Mad Studios intentionally aiming to take less profit on each device.
A console isn’t much without its software and exclusives can sometimes drive sales. That is one area where Mr. Bell appears to disagree. “We think exclusives are ‘exclusionary’ but given that we’ll be shipping a [cross-platform] engine to all developers it will be their choice,” Bell wrote to Variety. “As of now we have no plans to pay developers ‘incentives’ to exclude other hardware vendors.”
Slightly Mad Studios is certainly ambitious with their plans for the Mad Box console. It’d be difficult to pull off 4K, 120 FPS, and VR support in a modern machine while keeping it under the price point of a brand new home gaming console. Nonetheless, Mr. Bell believes that his company can pull it off. They may be slightly mad, but they’re not crazy.