Project CARS developer, Slightly Mad Studios, is developing its own console, The Mad Box.
Joining Twitter to specifically announce the news, Slightly Mad’s CEO, Ian Bell, broke the news with a tweet that said: "The Mad Box is coming."
"What is the Mad Box?" Bell said in a subsequent tweet. "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."
"We’re not playing around here. This is beyond next gen. For too long have subtle iterations been accepted. Time to raise the bar, substantially." Bell also confirmed that the console "would not be that expensive", and support "most" current gen VR headsets like the Oculus and HTC Vive, as well as fighting sticks and racing wheels.
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 (@bell_sms) January 2, 2019
While the twitter account is brand-new and Bell’s account has yet to be verified, in an email with Variety via an official Slightly Mad email address, Bell said the console had attracted the attention of "several interested parties" and has "multiple investors already offering the required funding for us to see the product to completion". That said, "it’s still early days" and Slightly Mad was looking "at the best offers right now" and "all that [it has] approached are discussing standard partial ownership investment deals".
Interestingly, Bell isn’t looking for vendors to sell the console, either. "It will be a worldwide console, and we’re already in early talks with areas that are, let’s say, not particularly open to other vendors at this moment," he said.
Bell added 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," Bell said.
"Prices will drop with ship quantity but we’re not planning on taking as large a cut as other console owners to enable us to cut prices massively," he stated. "We fully expect to be matching the best of the rest early in the lifecycle though." Bell stated the company planned "to allow games from all developers, old and new, the "’new’ possibly being those that may benefit from [its] completely free development engine".
"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, talking about console exclusivity. "As of now we have no plans to pay developers ‘incentives’ to exclude other hardware vendors […] 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."
They will be a while guys. We want to ensure the kit you get matches the released box in terms of power and functionality. The engine will be released before though with a clear indication of what matches the intended final spec in terms of current PC power.
— Ian Bell CEO SMS (@bell_sms) January 3, 2019
Asked about dev kits, Bell said "they will be a while guys," but added "we want to ensure the kit you get matches the released box in terms of power and functionality. The engine will be released before though with a clear indication of what matches the intended final spec in terms of current PC power".
Bell told Variety "images of early design builds" are expected to be released in the next four to six weeks.