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After RetroArch v1.1 – RetroBox

I was meaning to make this announcement after RetroArch v1.1 was released and this idea has been a bit long in the works. However, due to some sudden unexpected Kickstarters that have taken similar concepts and tried to create some kind of questionable monetization scheme around it, I felt compelled to make a pre-announcement about what we’re going to do post-RetroArch v1.1

RetroBox and why it’s needed

So the concept of RetroBox is based on a couple of problems:


So what is the RetroBox project going to amount to?

RetroBox will be an open-spec game console. It’s not owned by any particular company, and it will operate much like the 3DO/VCR model where any manufacturer could make his own box. Because RetroArch is so impressively multi-platform and portable, you don’t even have to limit yourself to a specific processor architecture like ARM – most libretro ports are available for most microarchitectures available, so you can pick and choose your own hardware.

The aim here is to create an ecosystem that is more open, more optimal and definitely more interesting than what is provided so far by the Androids, iOSes, and Steams of this world. And to have a POC game console platform of our own that illustrates this best.

Why is RetroArch a good fit for this?

So what is this project NOT going to be?

Every effort will be undertaken to ensure this will not be your typical sleaze-ridden entrepreneurial ‘scam’ where the main incentive is ‘get-rich-quick’. There will be NO Kickstarters, no Indiegogos, no crap like that going on. I would find it morally unconscionable raking in thousands of bucks for an undertaking like this off something that is typically going to be used by most people as a way to play emulated videogames run on copyrighted trademarked video game consoles made by commercial companies. If other people want to sell out and try to make themselves a buck off this ‘retro game stuff’, they can go ahead and do it. We will try to maintain a clean nose and keep ourselves out of this potential legal quagmire. The ramifications will be huge in the long run and we refuse to have any part in it.

So, crowdfunding is not an option. So far we are going to run the RetroBox project with our own personal finances and with the hardware we already have. Which is why it’s essential that we have your support in this endeavor. Hardware gifts will be of the utmost importance in ensuring this project will become better. However, hardware gifts will only be necessary for stuff we necessarily need – so that this doesn’t become another way of profiteering altogether.

Not just about emulation

Also, RetroBox will NOT be only about emulation. I keep stressing that RetroArch is NOT a multi-system emulator frontend, and I mean it. I want to ultimately see this evolve into its own game platform, with indie games, emulators, games, virtual reality applications and rich multimedia applications all competing for the user’s same attention. So you will be also seeing a lot of additional stuff not related to emulators at all, but which will be just as exciting.

Of course, because this is an open-spec console, emulators don’t get relegated to the sidelines like they would on a traditional videogame console. This is what will make RetroBox different – the freedom is in the hands of the user, and the platform holder doesn’t dictate to the user what he/she can’t do with this box.

What about features that people want to see?

We will try to make sure that this has as many of the bells and whistles that these sleaze-ridden KIckstarter-founded projects have such as Ignition and Gamertopia. The whole NES Remix-idea for a kind of retro game console is a good idea, as is netplay, leaderboards and that kind of thing. We think we can do all of this better anyway because of RetroArch’s impeccable cross-platform nature. I think we can do this netplay in a way that every RetroArch port out so far on any platform can play together with the RetroBoxes all the same.

What about standardization?

So what will all this take?

So when will all this start?

So yeah, this announcement is a bit of a ‘jumping the gun’ type of affair, but I felt I had to say something. I felt compelled to make this post because I see a lot of Johny-came-latelys trying to make a buck for themselves by filling an obvious gap in the market, and I just want them to know about our plans and that there’s something coming up that will put all their ‘accomplishments’ to crap. Hopefully people have gotten wise at this point and they don’t buy into another Ouya. Then again, given the obvious sleaze associated to these Kickstarter-led ‘game consoles’ and the empty hollow platitudes and ‘dumbspeak’ (and most importantly the amount of money they can accrue), you never know.

This project will start being kicked into high gear after RetroArch v1.1 is released. If you are interested in helping out in any way possible, drop us a mail at  This project is being started because most importantly we feel like doing it and not out of any sleazy attempt to ‘get rich quick’ or whatever the incentive is by most of these entrepreneurs. Hopefully our attempt to keep this ‘real’ and not branch off into entrepreneurial la-la land will be appreciated by endusers, developers and platform holders alike.

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