Slightly Mad Studios, the creators of the Project CARS franchise, announced earlier this week that they’re developing a VR-compatible gaming console called ‘Mad Box’. In a follow-up tweet, company CEO Ian Bell dubbed the project “the most powerful console ever built,” saying that Mad Box would deliver 60 fps VR rendering—decidedly a much lower number than VR enthusiasts are used to today. Now, Bell says the company has decided to up the frame rate to 90 fps.
“We’re going 90 per eye, 180 FPS internally,” Bell says in a tweet. “My CTO just called. We’re upping the specs already. It might cost a little bit more…”
By “180 FPS internally,” Bell is referring to the workload the hardware will need to perform in order to deliver the requisite 90 fps to the dual displays in standard PC VR headsets such as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. While the phrasing is unorthodox and initially caused a fair bit of confusion when the console was first announced earlier this week, 90 fps is certainly a step in the right direction in terms of delivering the minimum of what VR users should expect to have a comfortable, immersive experience.
Bell says the console is tentatively slated to launch in about “3.5 years,” and that while it’s still too early for pricing, it’s aiming to be “competitive with upcoming console prices.”
To boot, Bell teased a few concept images today of Mad Box, which features a prominent ‘M’ shape in its design.
Responding to more requests for information via Twitter, Bell fired off a slew of tweets today, saying the team isn’t considering a horizontal orientation, and that the support wings will include some sort of tech necessary to the console’s function—exactly what that is, we’re not sure.
“The Mad Box has a one press deployable carry handle, between the ‘m’s… It weighs very little and will talk to other Mad Boxes without cables,” Bell explains.
Admittedly, Bell thinks the design is still a bit “too garish” for living rooms as it is now. After all, not everyone wants an RBG-tastic case sitting next to their TVs. The studio’s logo is also proudly emblazoned on the side.
An additional concept image shows what appears to be RGB-lit water cooling system, although Bell says the front panel panel has been blurred as to not give away the system’s prospective internals.
Responding to a question concerning size, Bell says Mad Box will be “actually much smaller than it looks in those images.”
As far as concept images go, Mad Box is clearly aiming to make a statement; it’s certainly a far cry from the black living room-friendly boxes of today’s current console generation, tending to look more like a custom PC case. And just how the studio plans on setting Mad Box apart from a standard gaming PC, well, that remains to be seen as well.
In addition, Slightly Mad Studios maintains they’ll be offering “a cross platform engine that allows an ‘almost’ one click press to deploy to all major consoles,” with planned support for Xbox, PlayStation, Mad Box, and PC.
Mad Box will be the game studio’s first foray into hardware. Slightly Mad Studios is best known for their VR-compatible games Project CARS (2015) and Project CARS 2 (2017), not to mention a number of other conventional racing sims including Need for Speed: Shift (2009) and Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends (2011).