Home » Mad Box to be the “Most Poweful Console Ever”

Mad Box to be the “Most Poweful Console Ever”

Mad Box to be the "Most Poweful Console Ever"

Unless you’re a gamer who is into ultra-realistic racing simulations (like me) there’s a decent chance you’ve never heard of Slightly Mad Studios. They are the developers of the Project CARS racing games, and when it comes to developing high performing gorgeous racing games, they are at the top of the field. They know how to squeeze extra performance and visual fidelity out a game engine, and out of a video game console. You need only look at Project CARS 2 on an Xbox One X to verify their credentials. Maybe with all that being said, the idea of a company like this building their own gaming console isn’t quite as insane as their name might make you think.

Variety sat down with Ian Bell, the CEO of Slightly Mad Studios, after he tweeted “The Mad Box is coming.” In short, the company plans to release “the most powerful console ever built” in three years called the Mad Box. It will be as fast as a high-end computer that you can purchase two years from now. He claims that means it will not only run games at 4k resolutions at 60 frames per-second, but even support 4k virtual reality headsets at that framerate! All of this would be achieved on a box that is cost competitive to what Sony and Microsoft will have on the market at that time.

There are probably tons of questions rolling around in your head. How can they expect to compete? Why would game developers want to develop for yet another platform (after all, many already try to target PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch), and how in the world will they convince other game studio to produce exclusive games for the Mad Box? Many of these questions can be answered by one statement (at least that’s what Bell hopes): the company will be giving away their game engine completely for free. More importantly, that engine will be usable on other platforms, so third party developers could use it to create a game that runs on all the previously mentioned platforms in addition to the Mad Box. Just having a cross-platform engine isn’t enough to lure developers though, and that’s why it’s important to focus on the fact that the engine is being provided for free. Many games use the Unreal Engine from Epic Games. Unreal, like most other game engines, has royalty fees. So the more money your game makes, the more money you have to pay to Epic Games. Yes, that Epic Games.

The timing for the release of the Mad Box is what could make or break the console. We fully expect both Sony and Microsoft to announce new game consoles this year, and to release them in 2020. If the Mad Box doesn’t arrive until 2022, there would be both positive and negative consequences to launching so far from the beginning a new console generation.

On the positive side, by the two year mark of a generation many gamers are curious about what’s available on other platforms. If you bought an Xbox One at launch, there’s a decent chance you were itching to check out the PlayStation exclusives by 2015. The same could work for Slightly Mad here, but their CEO said that they wouldn’t have any exclusives to offer. The other potential thing in favor of the Mad Box releasing then is that it should be more powerful than what Sony and Microsoft have to offer. Gamers looking for the best gear available could be ready to jump on board after having gotten a year or two out of their existing machines.

The biggest downside, and it pains me to say this, might actually be the lack of exclusives games. If the only major selling point to the Mad Box is higher performance, that might not be enough to get gamers to drop a few hundred dollars on a new console after having recently done so on more proven platforms.

We’re big fans of Slightly Mad Studios, and we’re excited to see what happens with the Mad Box. At the very least, it’s almost never a bad thing to have more competition in a market dominated by old players.