The Coleco Chameleon originally launched as the Retro VGS and embarked on a very ambitious Indiegogo campaign. Its creators tried to produce a new console which uses cartridges and appeals to retro collectors. Furthermore, the Retro VGS didn’t incorporate any online functionality, or community features like achievements. Instead, it was designed to offer a retro gaming experience via unique old school gameplay and impressive artwork. However, the project’s target of $1.95 million was frankly absurd and revolved around a minimum entry price of $350. This was absolutely laughable given the device’s mediocre specification and unknown software support.
As you can imagine, this didn’t bode well and the project only amassed $63,546. Eventually, the console was re-branded after an internal re-design and acquisition of the Coleco license. On another note, Piko Interactive, famous for releasing new games on older systems has pledged their support for the console and will release a number of intriguing games. As a result, the Chameleon is already building a small library which encourages consumers to be early adopters. Clearly the biggest hurdle is the device’s price which deterred many people from investing.
Recently, the team announced a complete overhaul of their pricing structure and the console will cost $135 for the first 1500 backers. This is a discount of 10% compared to the later models which retail for $150. This is a major reduction in price and probably down to a better production line or cheaper source of components. Also, they might have underestimated how difficult it is to acquire funding for a console without any history, or powerful branding behind it. Despite the new price, some retro enthusiasts are not convinced and feel it’s a flawed idea. A friend of mine, who’s a huge retro gaming expert told me this about the product:
Another major error is they asked for a huge amount of money on Indiegogo. Kickstarter is usually the best place to pitch ideas with large targets because it’s a more well-known platform. This time the Chameleon is going to relaunch on Kickstarter on February 26th. Although, we don’t know what the team’s targets are.
Image courtesy of The Verge