It should not really be a surprise, but a sudden up-and-comer in the video game console business is going to have a rough time. The infamous Red Ring of Death that plagued Microsoft’s efforts last generation, combined with the failure of the Xbox brand in overseas markets, nearly killed the hopes of seeing a profit anytime soon for that Redmond giant. The odds of a relatively unknown studio like Slightly Mad Studios being able to release a profitable venture in the sector are next to nil.
This is why it should come as no surprise that Slightly Mad has apparently scrapped plans for their own games console after various bumps in the road. Slightly Mad Studios announced the not-so-cleverly named Mad Box a while back, with nothing more than weird digital mockups to show to fans and analysts.
Founder Ian Bell promised big performance with native 4K gaming and VR at 120FPS. That’s a major moon shot even in the upcoming console generation. There’s just no way that Slightly Mad could have pulled it off. “Two investors pulled out after the announcement of Stadia. All I can say at this stage is the future of the project is questionable,” Bell said in a recent interview with PC Games Insider.
“Google’s announcement of Stadia hasn’t helped the project with our investors,” he said. The project was further stilted after a dispute with a French company over trademark rights to the console name reared up. Slightly Mad dropped the trademark to avoid further litigation. Discussions are still ongoing internally at the Project CARS developer, but the future seems very much Mad-less.
It’s pretty easy to see why the investors wouldn’t want to throw their money away. Stadia is promising a world of reduced latency and 60 FPS gaming at 4K. There are even tales of premium subscription tiers that include free games. The Mad Box would have also had to contend with other competition. The mini-console explosion kicked off by Nintendo and Sony has spread to the likes of Atari and SNK as well, who are each offering their own miniature console variants. There’s the VCS and Neo Geo Mini respectively, with each one offering a different library of games.