What is the Mad Box console?

You’d have to be slightly mad to launch a new console in this day and age, right? Right. Slightly Mad Studios is doing just that, and it’s being dubbed the Mad Box.

The news of this latest hardware development came about after the CEO of Slightly Mad, Ian Bell, took to Twitter to announce his company’s console vision. Here’s how the conversation played out…



Immediately, the force of nature that is Twitter leapt onto the Slightly Mad CEO to probe his claims, and there seemed to be a certain amount of speculation as to the frame rate figure. Bell clarified his comments by saying that the 60FPS stat was “per eye,” which prompted one user to assert that the industry standard for VR is 90FPS per eye. “It isn’t :)” said Bell.

Glad we’ve cleared that one up, then.

Frame rate quibbles aside, it would seem that the aim is to create a super powerful gaming console that would go up against the likes of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Two (not their official names) whilst fully embracing the world of virtual reality and offering a free and accessible platform for developers to create games with. The platform in question is presumably the company’s own MADNESS Engine, which Slightly Mad describes as a “definitive cross-platform engine and development framework with multi-core / processor architecture” and “low-level support layers designed for multi-threaded use.” And if Bell is not referring to this specific engine, then presumably the final offering will be something very like it.

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Slightly Mad Studios is known for such titles as Need for Speed: Shift (pictured) and Project CARS.

As for when the Mad Box is due to hit the shelves, Bell said that the company is looking at a three year time frame, meaning that if current predictions are correct, it will arrive later than the anticipated consoles from Microsoft and Sony. But there is every possibility that it could be more powerful; Bell pointed out that the Mad Box’s specs would be equivalent to a very fast PC two years from now. So not your workhorse laptop.

Of course, many people have pointed out that Slightly Mad will be entering a crowded marketplace, and one that might not readily accept another gaming console. Bell seemed to be well aware of this fact in his Twitter exchange, and seemed inspired by the challenges rather than daunted, so I say good luck to Bell and his company. Personally, I think VR will die a dusty death and gaming consoles will soon be relegated to the same skip as cassette players and VCRs, but let’s come back in ten years and see if I’m right. (I thought the Nintendo Switch would fail horribly, and I found the “USP” of Blu-Ray to be laughable and unlikely to catch on. In short, don’t ever let me run a hardware company.)

How do you feel about this latest announcement from Slightly Mad Studios? Does the idea of a super-charged, VR-ready console get your gaming juices flowing? Is it the kind of hardware you would choose over the PS5 or Xbox Two? Or do you think the company’s plans will be dwarfed by the juggernauts that are Sony and Microsoft? Let me know in the comments below.

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