Coleco announces new cartridge-based console


Put it next to your Ouya in the trash

Are you old enough to remember the ColecoVision console from the ’80s? Do you yearn for the days of old when games came on cartridges and everything had a nice physical manual? Do you often buy into new consoles announced with no hardware details because of overwhelming nostalgia?

If you answered yes to the questions above then Coleco has a console just for you and the ten other people that buy one: Coleco Chameleon. The Chameleon is said to be a “modern-day take on the classic game console” that will “play compilations of favorite games from the past.”

Chameleon will also play new 8-, 16-, and 32-bit style games, which Coleco calls “a growing and popular genre in today’s gaming landscape.” To me, that says it is trying to take over a niche market that already exists.

The console is a collaboration with Retro Video Game Systems, Inc. a company that attempted to crowdfund a nearly identical console last month on Indiegogo, which ended with a mere 4 percent of the $1.95 million it was hoping to obtain. Coleco hasn’t announced any specific pricing, software, or specs, but if it sticks with what the campaign was asking for, I don’t see how it thinks this will be a success.Turns out that most people didn’t want to pay $300 plus shipping for a new cartridge-based console, as only 241 people backed the campaign.

Backers had a choice of a few games planning to support the system that could be purchased ahead of time as add-ons, such as Read Only Memoriesfor an additional $50. On Steam, the game sells for $15. Yipes. I’m not sure there is a large market of people who want to buy more expensive physical copies of games they could purchase and play on most any computer.

Maybe second time’s the charm, but I just don’t see this being what consumers want. They already rejected the idea once on Indiegogo. What makes Coleco think adding its name is going to make enough people want to buy it to turn a profit? Being a hip new indie console didn’t work for Ouya, and with potentially a $300 console and $50 indie games, it sure as hell isn’t going to work for the Chameleon.

The Coleco Chameleon is planned to launch in 2016 and will be demonstrated at Toy Fair New York in February. According to RetroGamer, Coleco will also be launching its own crowdfunding campaign for the console on Kickstarter in the near future.