With the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony Play Station 4 already well settled into the market, their hard earned positions are feeling the heat. In a tweet on Monday, the CEO of Slightly Mad Studios (SMS) and the producer of the Project CARS series of realistic racing games, Ian Bell teased the crowd with a photo of a potential Xbox One and Play Station 4 rival console in the making. He shared concept designs of the up and coming new console, captioning the images “first look at the Mad Box controller concept,” and “sneaky additional image.”
That is the latest news on the expected Mad Box console. But what exactly is Mad Box and what do we know about it so far? The word of Mad Box came out through a curiosity inciting tweet by Bell on the 2nd of January where he tweeted “The Mad Box is coming.” Following this, the same day, Bell tweeted a little more detail about the console and what to expect with phrases like “Mad,” “4K,” “VR,” and “60FPS” thrown out there to excite onlookers. (*cue Microsoft and Sony sitting uneasy at the edge of their seats*)
Soon afterwards, Variety caught the first exclusive intel on the details of the up and coming console as well as its specifications. Aside from what Bell had already announced via twitter, Variety learned that Bell’s statement of 60FPS per eye for the new VR console, which another twitter account challenged as being too little for VR, actually meant the equivalent of 120FPS due to the “per eye” notion.
As for the games to be playable on the new console, Bell told them that games from all developers, old and new, with new pertaining to games particularly able to take advantage of the high-end visual and graphics capabilities of the console.
Going into the details of the hardware of the console, Bell explained that although he thinks that the industry is a bit of a monopoly when it comes to such things, he believes that they have the right hardware contacts to pull together such a powerful claimed gaming experience under the hood of a single console.
As for availability, that’s another monopoly. Not all regions are open to welcoming new devices as they’re quite accustomed to the long reigning Xbox, Play Station, and Nintendo devices. With regards to this, Bell explained that the console will need to be crowdfunded or offered in partnership with some other company to compete in such markets. They’ve already been approached by interested investors and are continuing to look for the best deal they can get as they’re still in the early stages of preparing this console.
Putting a console this strong onto the market probably brings with it a hefty price tag, something that could deter many customers from trying it out. Bell explained that while other console producers make a great amount of profit off of each sale, he intends for his company to stick to a smaller and reasonable percentage so that the powerful device is more accessible for eager consumers. Besides this, as the quantity of shipment gains pace, the price will be dropped down further. This is definitely a strategy on the part of the company to offer something considerably more powerful within a ball park price of other market consoles. Other than hard and fast Microsoft or Sony fans, who wouldn’t try on something undeniably better and more advanced?
So, the Mad Box comes with its “Madness Engine” which is used to create simulation adaptations of popular video game concepts that range from what the company’s already known for: automotive and racing to other popular gaming genres such as first-person shooter and mining. The company’s own Project CARS was adapted and used to test out the console’s VR and graphics capabilities as well as the AI behind the vehicle software that is able to detect obstacles along its way.
Moving on, whatever we know of the Mad Box till date mostly comes from the words (well: teasing tweets) of Ian Bell which have progressed as follows.
On the 4th of January, Bell tweeted that the console will now be offering a staggering 90FPS per eye, which amounts to a total of 180FPS.
On the same day, Bell tweeted out a photo of console’s design with three color configurations in a single photo and one picture zoomed in on the particulars of the design. The photos were captioned, “Just for you guys.” Only the outer shell of the consoles were visible and the internal regions were blurred out as he claimed that the specifics of the internal design were still in discussion.
So, January 4th brought about quite a lot of tweets about the details of the new console. Bell boasted about the light weight of the console and its ability to communicate with other Mad Box devices wirelessly. He went on to explain the motivation behind the Mad Box designs saying that they won’s be something you’ll want to hide away but something beautiful that you will want to show off with pride. He also later tweeted that all developers will be given a one click export mechanism to port their games onto any gaming device, be it the Xbox, Play Station, PC, or the eagerly awaited Mad Box.
The next day, Bell posted a photo of several different top handle designs and asked the crowd for their preference. He also reached out for suggestions for a slogan with the winner of the best slogan being offered USD $10,000 as well as free games for life.
On the 7th of January, Bell shared the design concept 4. This boasted an adaptive touch enabled front that changes based upon the game or app being run. The front does not have any buttons but can be tapped, swiped, and clicked for commands. The actual shell has a carbon fiber and brushed metal pattern with gold, solid, and matte colors. The front sides will have color panels of RGB light that adjust and change depending upon the kind of music you’re listening to on the device or the game/app being run. The design also comes with a wall mounting position as well as an independent vertical standing orientation.
On the 10th, Bell confirmed that the concept 4 aesthetic is what the company will be moving forward with, subject to minor modifications as need be. The design chosen was heavily influenced by public votes, comments, and suggestions. This really is a console for geared towards the public and Bell is doing everything he can to reach out as far as he can and get all the input possible to make this what the people want.
Soon afterwards, Bell posted a short video showing of the RGB light color change at the front of the Mad Box design. He also took a shot at native market place holders like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo by sharing an article which claimed that the pre-existing place holders have a cause for concern as the Mad Box schedules to hit the market.
YES BELL! WE ARE INDULGING AND WE’RE LOVING IT!
The latest we’ve heard from Bell are the designs of the console’s controller which quite resemble the controller design of the Xbox One. Xbox is known for having perhaps the most natural feeling and enabling controller design, a plus point that the Play Station 4 never had, It seems that Mad Box has taken after the Xbox by designing something similar. The console really is gearing up to deliver the best gaming experience by learning from what’s already been offered, what’s worked best, what the people want, and what MORE can be done.
Mad Box Controller Concept Design. Image: Ian Bell via Twitter / Slightly Mad Studios.
The Mad Box is a long way from being ready for you to enjoy. The design is still in progress, the investors are still being decided, the console will need to be tested numerous times, it will need to be fine-tuned. It is enough to say that the console has a solid few years before it will be available and playable for the likes of you and me. If Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo aren’t worried after all that’s known of the new beast console in the making, they’re relying on some false hope that’ll give way when we all hop aboard the Mad Box bandwagon, because… well… how can we not?! Just LOOK at that thing!
The Play Station 5 is scheduled for a November 2020 release and the Xbox Two is anticipated to be around the same time or later (probably later). Let’s see what they pack under the hood to combat the Mad Box which may follow a a year or two later. They must pack a punch to ward off people from switching their gaming loyalties to the new console on the market.
Bell’s tweets keep us excited, the sneak peaks are all we could hope, and I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to get my hands on my own one as soon as it’s out! Keep posted with us for more reveals on the story and give Ian Bell’s twitter account a follow in the meanwhile for all the latest and truest hot off the board room.