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Forums - Gaming Discussion - Slightly Mad Studios’ CEO Reveals Details on Their New Console

Slightly Mad Studios is developing a “stand alone console,” that will support VR, CEO Ian Bell revealed Wednesday.

The Twitter account of Ian Bell, CEO of Slightly Mad Studios cryptically tweeted “The Mad Box is coming” on Wednesday.

When reached for more details, Bell told Variety that 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’,” Bell wrote in an email. “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.”

The reveal originally appeared via Bell’s Twitter account, which appeared to be newly created as of Wednesday. The official Slightly Mad Studios Twitter account also retweeted Bell’s tweets, lending validity to the new account, which is not Twitter verified, yet.

Slightly Mad Studios is the group behind “Project CARS 2” and “Need for Speed: Shift.” The London based studio, founded by Bell in 2009, is known for working on racing and driving simulators, as well, using its cross-platform Madness engine.

“What is the Mad Box?” Bell wrote. “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.”

A Twitter user, @LogiForce, responded to this tweet questioning the 60 frames per second claim, asking if it should be 90FPS for VR, to which Bell replied that it’s 60FPS “per eye.” Variety reached out to Bell, who clarified via email that the Mad Box will be 120 FPS after the confusing “per eye” FPS claim.

When asked about what games will be available on the console, Bell stated that “We plan to allow games from all developers, old and new.”
“The ’new’ possibly being many of those that benefit from our completely free development engine,” Bell said. “It will be a stand alone console.” As for exclusive titles, the CEO says it will be up to the developers.
“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. “As of now we have no plans to pay developers ‘incentives’ to exclude other hardware vendors.”
Exclusionary practices aren’t really in line with the thinking of Slightly Mad Studios, based on what Bell told us.
“We think the industry is a little too much of a monopoly or a micro oligopoly,” Bell explained. “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.”
The studio is looking at shipping the console beyond the UK, and Bell hinted at some intriguing possibilities.
“It will be a worldwide console,” Bell wrote. “And we’re already in early talks with areas that are, let’s say, not particularly open to other vendors at this moment.”
When asked if the console will be crowdfunded or offered in partnership with another company or investor, Bell’s explanation revealed that Slightly Mad Studios already has several interested parties.
“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,” Bell explained. “All that we have approached are discussing standard partial ownership investment deals.”
 As for how much the new console will cost, Bell said it will be “competitive with upcoming console prices.”
“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.”
While we don’t have any images yet for the console, Bell told Variety that images of early design builds will be coming in four to six weeks time.
In addition to games and driving simulations, Slightly Mad Studios creates “simulation adaptions” using its Madness engine. These adaptions have various uses “from automotive to mining, autonomous vehicle AI to tailor-made VR showrooms, from off-the-shelf solutions to full bespoke simulation,” according to its website.


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lol, he's going to leave exclusive titles up to developers. So they're expected to make exclusives...for a rookie device when they could make exclusives for any of the big 3 or even mobile and be much more profitable due to a proven market. Even if it does handle multiplats wonderfully, so does PS and Xbox and PC. Like, if you're going to make a console this far into the industry's progression, at least have a shoppable gimmick or exclusives.

There are free game engines, 4K and 60FPS VR will most likely be selling points for a handful of next gen PS and XB titles...I don't get it. I mean, the more competition is usually the better, so it'll be interesting to see where this falls on the spectrum of gaming if it does release but as of now, it's not very enticing.

Last edited by Ljink96 - on 03 January 2019

Living up to their name it would seem.

Massimus - "Trump already has democrat support."

I wonder if they'll allow windows + all the PC online stores on their machine. That would make it a better steam machine and if the price is within console range it could become a quite popular pc config devs could target.

Damn, late news this. As mentioned probably hundreds of times already, it's going to be DOA. You would need billions to grab a foothold, they don't have cash like MS needed with the Xbox.

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Ouya PC generation !

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Horrible name for a console imo.... the name alone is a issue.
Also a super expensive, VR focused console? good luck selling that.

Plus you cant just rely on 3rd party.
Anyone hopeing to step into the console bussiness needs to have some studio's behinde them or its just not going to work imo.

expecting this thing to flop.


Ljink96 said:

lol, he's going to leave exclusive titles up to developers.

Yep thats my take away. It just doesnt work.

Last edited by JRPGfan - on 03 January 2019

Lafiel said:
I wonder if they'll allow windows + all the PC online stores on their machine. That would make it a better steam machine and if the price is within console range it could become a quite popular pc config devs could target.

Steam tried that and failed because of it.
People dont want that, if they did they d get a real pc themselves instead.

People want consoles because they are consoles, and not just pc's that look like a console.
Its the ease of use ect that draws people into console ecosystem.

I smell a flop incoming. An expensive, high spec console, releasing a year after PS5 and Xbox Scarlett, with no 1st party exclusives? lol

The only potential new players next gen that would actually stand a chance of surviving in the console market would be Google or Apple, maybe Samsung or Amazon as well. Out of those, Google is strongly rumored to be working on a next gen console, and Amazon is dabbling in the idea, the other 2 aren't planning anything as far as I know. 

Last edited by shikamaru317 - on 03 January 2019

So an independent studio that has been around for maybe a decade is going to release a high-powered console about 3 years from now whose only real selling point seems to be a console that can work with multiple different VR devices. Mind you, this means the device will likely release well after the next-gen consoles who will likely just release more powerful versions not long after and banking on increased VR adoption where only PSVR seems to currently have any chance at good growth over the next few years. They are offering no games on their console that couldn't be played on other ones. If you aren't Amazon, Apple, Google, or any currently well known video game company I can't imagine anyone giving your console a chance. Valve and Nvidia tried their hands and last I checked it didn't work out terribly well for them. Much bigger names in the industry with a lot more pull and financial backing.