A New Game Console Is Coming To Compete With PlayStation And Xbox

Exact specs haven't been confirmed yet.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Now Playing: First Look At New "Mad Box" Video Game Console - GS News Update

Slightly Mad Studios CEO Ian Bell has revealed the company is developing a standalone console. Exact hardware and software specs haven't been announced yet, but Bell has provided a few details. [Update: The look of the Mad Box console has now been revealed.]

The first mention of the console came via Twitter, when Bell tweeted, "The Mad Box is coming." Bell told Variety that the Mad Box will probably release in about three years and support up to 120 frames-per-second for virtual reality play. "It will support most major VR headsets and those upcoming and the specs will be equivalent to a very fast PC two years from now," Bell wrote. "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."

When it comes to games on the console, Bell wrote, "We think exclusives are 'exclusionary' but given that we'll be shipping a cross platform engine to all developers it will be their choice. As of now we have no plans to pay developers 'incentives' to exclude other hardware vendors." He further explained that Slightly Mad Studios thinks "the industry is a little too much of a monopoly or a micro oligopoly," and The Mad Box aims to bring some healthy competition to the console race, which for years has pretty much exclusively been a three-way battle between Microsoft's Xbox, Sony's PlayStation, and Nintendo's hardware.

The Mad Box is planned to release worldwide and be competitively priced in comparison to other upcoming consoles. "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 wrote.

2018 saw numerous changes to a lot of gaming hardware, including consoles. Some were good, and others not so much. Check out our report cards for more detailed accounts.

GameSpot 2018 Report Cards

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 327 comments about this story
327 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for brunod_f

Competition is always good for the market. I'm glad with this, but only time will tell if they're up to it.

Avatar image for Barzenak42

There is no way this will fly. Consumers are already saturated with 3 consoles each owned for different reasons. Having a console to only play 3rd party stuff is not going to be needed.

Avatar image for zerooriginality

Come on, SEGA! Where's your "MADBOX"?!

Avatar image for KingKalo

Remember 3DO? It was cool, it was $700, it was doomed. I have hope but I am nervous

Avatar image for p1p3dream

If they don't plan to have exclusive titles, than what is their business strategy for disrupting the current console landscape? The performance between consoles is all pretty close, so you need extras to differentiate your console.

That's cool that it will support multiple VR headsets- but chances are, people who have those other headsets will be PC users and will not be moved to buy a new console just for VR.

Bringing a console to market takes a huge amount of capital... and froim my understanding, most consoles with the exception of nintendo's, don't actually turn a profit.

Regardless, can't say I'm not interested to see what happens here!

Avatar image for peterhorner1867

Creating a console for VR that will be out in 3 years.

VR will be on the scrap heap with 3d, motion controls and motion sensors way before then. Why bother?

Avatar image for ukgamer51

Bit like the steam box hype, never heard a thing afterwards, to be honest not sure if they were ever released? did anyone get one ?

Avatar image for ahpuck

@ukgamer51: Exactly what I was thinking. It will go out like the Steam Box. Yes, it was released, but found no traction and it's all but history now days.

Avatar image for Vodoo

Another Soulja Boy box!

Avatar image for ibonedyourmom

I'm developing a car brand to be unveiled in the next few years that will compete with GM, Ford, Toyota, etc. They will be the most powerful and efficient production cars ever built. So yeah. This is definitely happening. Get excited, please.

Avatar image for ecurl143

Seems like a PR exercise to get Slightly Mad Studios name thrown around for a while.

This is pretty much hyperbole at this stage and honestly, anything less than say Apple or Samsung announcing some ninja powered console utilising quantum computing power in the next couple of months just won't make a dent with the tech-savvy gamer nowadays.

As already mentioned. the R&D on something like this will literally run into 10's of millions alone, never mind the prototyping, testing, building, certification, marketing etc, Jesus, that 500-600 million right there if it's serious about competing with industry giants like Microsoft & Sony.

Avatar image for cyrribrae

@ecurl143: Right, they're talking about building a platform - without any experience running a platform. It's not just hardware, or they could just be customizing a PC, slapping a sticker on it, and calling it good.. (Oh wait..). On that note, I'm actually curious if that part of it will trip up Google and Amazon (won't even including Apple on the list of companies serious about gaming). They both have massive platforms, but they are run very differently from how consoles are operated today. Will gamers embrace the Play Store model heavy on free games with microtransactions and little to no discoverability, or will the big new entrants learn moderation, curation, and certification?

Avatar image for hrv_25

hell yeah!!! new paperweight!!!! m ordering 2!! too many papers...

Avatar image for starjay009

What next ?? EA, Bethesda, and Ubisoft to release their own consoles that ONLY play THEIR games ?!!!! **shakes head**

Avatar image for shadowwarrior4

to compete with xbox and playstation?yea great joke its not even April yet

Avatar image for Richardthe3rd

Sorry, but the pitch sounds too good to be true and not fleshed put enough.

A "very fast PC" 2 years from now us basically the statement that drove me to not take this seriously. Currently "very fast" PCs require a GPU that costs at least $500-600 alone, and that's the previous gen. 3 years from now? That's probably gonna look like $700-800 at the rate things are going.

These guys are going to have to secure proprietary hardware that scales back from these manufacturers and create a devkit that allows themselves and third party to optimize software, which if they're looking to actually make something affordable wont have top of the line hardware. That's no easy task; the tricks Sony and MS use to optimize their hardware which is very lacking are the most impressive parts of their console offering.

These guys have a lot to prove to the market and a LOT of money to spend if they want to launch a viable product in the area. Skepticism is inevitable, especially when details are sparse and the dev is making it sound way too good to be true. They arent at the phase where they have to scale back features due to the cost of mass production, etc., which means a lot can happen to this "concept."

Avatar image for scr34m

It will be interesting to see something new other than the favorites- Xbox, PS, and NS

Avatar image for Vodoo

They mention they will be competitively priced like other consoles. So you're basically putting out a third party games box. Isn't that what the PC space is?

Exclusives are what make people go one way or the other, or both. But these exclusives are usually owned and developed by the console manufacturer. So you're going to put out a box and not have any of your own development behind it? Seems destined to fail. A micro pc in the works, lol.

Sounds like they're trying to stand out on the VR front, but the next gen consoles will probably be right there with you, AND have exclusives.

Avatar image for ZombieVirolina

@Vodoo: The thing about “competitively priced” is that the Big Three sells the first iterations of their product at a loss, depending upon first party games, exclusives, and add-ons to make up the difference. As the tech becomes cheaper and smaller in the later stages of the console, that’s when they start making a straight profit on the consoles. This won’t have exclusives and a racing game as it’s first party content. They’ll be filing Chapter 11 before they get a chance to miniaturize the tech.

Avatar image for cyrribrae

@ZombieVirolina: That's no longer true. Every PS4 and Xbox One and Switch was sold at a profit (maybe not all of the sales, but that's hard to know). BUT, that doesn't mean the profit margin is very good. These companies don't actually care that much about how many consoles are sold when they are looking for profits. They care because these are platforms that can buy their software (plus it helps marketing). That's why even in a down year when "Xbox had no games" (pfft), it still made a TON of money - from Fortnite (and other subscriptions).

This is precisely why Xbox is experimenting with different platforms. Why cling to the box when it has never made you much money? Why not get more people buying your games everywhere? Now, there's no guarantee that game streaming will take off nor that people have any interest in playing console games on a phone (PSP and Vita certainly didn't hit sales expectations despite being capable devices). But, boy.. it's an exciting time for tech nerds.

Avatar image for theKSMM

If it's not too expensive, I'll buy one. It will no doubt have value as a historical artifact after they stop making them. I can sell it in mint condition along with it's entire five-game library to some YouTuber for his "What Happened to the Mad Box?" video of 2025.

Avatar image for cyrribrae

@theKSMM: Oh yea? I'll buy your Ouya off you :p

Avatar image for suprsolider

It will fail.

Simple as that.

Avatar image for hrv_25

Now this kind of new year resolutions are f****d up!

Avatar image for thedre666

Is this the same Ian Bell from Elite fame?

Avatar image for linadragonx

@thedre666: As far as I'm aware no. In fact I believe Ian is his middle name and his full name is William Ian Bell. He has never worked on anything outside of racing sims. https://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,392792/

Avatar image for thedre666

@linadragonx: thanks!!!!

Avatar image for Shantmaster_K

It will be hard to compete. They better have something special.

Avatar image for dlM0kn

Oh boy, can't wait to hear how this console flopped or at the very least never took off from the beginning in a year or two from now.

Avatar image for Sevenizz

@dlM0kn: What a stupid thing to say.

Avatar image for dlM0kn

@Sevenizz: I know right? What a horrible human being I am to be slightly cynical from past experiences. Great comment you posted there as well. Extremely helpful and enlightning. Thank you for explaining in a sentence or two why I might be wrong. Oh wait, you didn't.

Avatar image for penstrol

@Sevenizz: Are you on the payroll for Slightly Mad or something? You're just going through attacking every comment that says anything negative about this.... whatever it is.

Avatar image for decadentdescent

@penstrol: I agree with Sevenizz, it's a stupid thing to say. Healthy competition is always best for the consumer; better products and cheaper prices, etc. Why would anyone wish against that?

Avatar image for dlM0kn

@decadentdescent: Where in my post do I wish against healthy competition? All I was insinuating in a joking and cynical manner that the console they talk about in the article called the Mad Box could possibly be a flop in a year or two. I see that reading comprehension is still not a strong suit amongst most internet users.

Avatar image for Slim02

@decadentdescent: Really that why we do not have any big name Toy stores or Video Game stores and we are seeing other big name stores closing left and right.. I am sorry but competition hurts consumers..

Avatar image for wolfpup7



Slightly Mad Studios indeed lol

Avatar image for D1rty_Dawg

Ahh another 'Phantom' console... can't wait to not hear another thing about it :)

Avatar image for thedre666

@D1rty_Dawg: I was thinking about the Phantom the other day.... That thing fell away into the abyss, if it was actually real.

Avatar image for ZombieVirolina

@thedre666: Someone actually has a prototype of it. Check YouTube

Avatar image for joalopes

I would love to see some more competition in the console space but this is just a marketing tactic to bring attention to their brand.
For starters why are they announcing something they aren´t prepared to show yet?

Serious companies would keep their cards to their chests until they were prepared to show their product.

The Xbox was a secret project way before it was announced. Google is rumored to be working on a gaming console callsigned Yeti.

These guys are a small gaming studio that has far as I can tell have only developed race games

Come on. They aren't even capable of building a prototype.

A design? A specification? Are they serious?

They are just going to be yet another company with a branded custom PC like Alienware or similar.
What OS is it going to run on? Windows? Steam OS?

Avatar image for Sevenizz

@joalopes: Why don’t you patiently wait for more information before dismissing something you literally know nothing about?

Avatar image for OtakuD50

@Sevenizz: Why would anyone bother "waiting" for something that has 0 warranted hype going for it. If anything, Slightly Mad should have patiently waited until they had something substantial to present before announcing anything.

Avatar image for BadAzzOG619

Does this remind anyone of the Phantom? Was supposed to compete with the PS4 and 360. Look how well that went lol

Avatar image for ZombieVirolina


The Phantom was supposed to come out to compete in Gen 5. 2002 announcement.

Avatar image for risingdawn

I'm pretty sure to make it into the console space you'd need to litteraly burn money for an entire generation to simply get a foothold, I doubt these guys have enough cash to run at a loss for 4 years+

You'd need to convince enough people to buy the console as a second box for a start, subsidise enough publishers to convince them to bring a game out on the box, run at a loss on hardware, secure exclusivity, create new IP's 1st party more than likely at an initial loss.

And even then the next gen you'd have to bring out a console that sells at a loss to hit the cheapest console sweet spot to convince people to swap sides.

Never going to happen, company cannot afford it.

Avatar image for Sevenizz

@risingdawn: You do realize companies get financing all the time for big projects, right?

Avatar image for moviespot

@Sevenizz: metaphorically speaking, this is a new burger joint, they offer exactly the same as mcdonalds. They are launching world wide and have to compete at a loss for 4 years. Does this actually sound viable to you?

Avatar image for linadragonx

@Sevenizz: There is usually a pay off when you get investment capital and the like. These guys are asking to enter a market that is already matured and are showing no signs of thinking anything through. They have nothing going on that doesn't scream "vaporware" at the moment and frankly I'd be leery as hell considering they are publicly announcing something without giving much info on it. Sony and microsoft had to throw money at the wall for years to gain traction and they are huge companies. I can almost guarantee you these guys don't have that kind of money or enough investors to throw away hundreds of millions if not billions to build up and gain traction.

Avatar image for D_K

Sounds a lot like the early stages of steam box.... like why get that and not just build a PC? I dont get these companies.