×

Slightly Mad Studios’ CEO Reveals Details on New Console (EXCLUSIVE)

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.”

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.
“Project CARS” was even used to help test Almotive’s autonomous vehicle software and its ability to detect obstacles, according to VentureBeat.
“Project CARS 2,” a racing simulation game released in 2017 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One and had “generally favorable reviews” and a score of 84 on Metacritic. It was nominated for Best Sports/Racing Game for The Game Awards in 2017.

More Gaming

  • Frank Pearce - Blizzard Entertainment

    Blizzard Co-Founder Frank Pearce Exits After 28 Years

    Frank Pearce, one of the three co-founders of game developer Blizzard Entertainment, is leaving the company. The announcement of Pearce’s exit comes less than a year after president Michael Morhaime, another Blizzard co-founder, left the company. J. Allen Brack, executive producer of “World of Warcraft,” took over the position as president of Blizzard. “The time [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

  • The Lion King

    'Lion King' VFX Supervisor Rob Legato to Keynote at the 2019 View Conference

    Rob Legato, visual effects supervisor of “The Lion King,” “The Addams Family” co-director Conrad Vernon and Baobab Studios’ co-founder and chief creative officer Eric Darnell, director of the VR studio’s Emmy- and Annie-winning VR short “Crow: The Legend,” are rounding out the keynote speakers at this fall’s 20th edition of the View Conference in Turin, [...]

  • Nintendo Switch

    Nintendo Releases Updated Switch With Better Battery

    Nintendo just refreshed its wildly successful Switch game console, but the company isn’t giving existing Switch owners many reasons to upgrade: The renewed game console comes with a better battery that guarantees up to 9 hours of game play, while otherwise sticking with the same design and features of the original Switch. The new model [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    U.S. Consumers to Spend $26 Billion on Music, Video Subscriptions This Year

    U.S. consumers are expected to spend a combined $26 billion on music and video subscription services this year, according to new estimates from the Consumer Technology Association. That’s up from $20.4 billion in 2018, and nearly twice the amount spent on such services in 2017. Propelled by the continued success of Apple Music and Spotify, [...]

  • Gears 5 - Xbox Game Studios

    'Gears 5' Will Exclude Smoking Depictions After Concerns Raised by Youth Anti-Tobacco Org (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Gears 5,” the forthcoming installment in the “Gears of Wars” third-person shooter game franchise, will be a smoke-free establishment. The game, set for Sept. 10 release, comes from Xbox Game Studios and game developer The Coalition. The decision to remove all smoking references from “Gears 5” came after not-for-profit anti-smoking organization Truth Initiative approached Turner, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content