Project Cars never did make it onto a Nintendo console in the end, but some of you may be familiar with the game's creator, Slightly Mad Studios. As well as making a well-received sequel, the UK firm has built up quite a fanbase around its racing property and is now eyeing a rather more taxing challenge – a move into the world of video game hardware.
Dubbed 'The Mad Box', Slightly Mad Studios' proposed foray into the realm of hardware will, according to CEO Ian Bell, be "the most powerful console ever built" and will support both 4K visuals and VR at 120fps. Bell initially tweeted this news before explaining a little more to Variety.
The console will use Slightly Mad's own cross-platform development engine, called the Madness Engine, and won't have any exclusive games. Instead, Bell says that the price of the machine will be 'competitive' with 'upcoming' consoles, which he presumably hopes will make it appealing to publishers and developers. Bell also says that "old and new" software will be present on the machine, which makes it sound rather like a Steam Box, if you ask us.
When quizzed on why Slightly Mad would ever decide to enter the costly waters of hardware production, Bell replied:
We think the industry is a little too much of a monopoly or a micro oligopoly. We think competition is healthy and we have the required hardware contacts to be able to bring something epic to fruition based on our designs.
"Multiple investors" are apparently on board already, which means Slightly Mad could actually have the cash required to pull this off. But would such an idea succeed, especially in a market where a firm like Microsoft – one of the tech industry's biggest players with loads of first-party studios under its belt and very deep pockets – finds itself struggling to remain in the running?
Could Slightly Mad's console – which, as Bell admits, won't have any exclusive games – really shake things up? Let us know with a comment below.