Tulip to revive CBM 64 as games console

Blast from the past

Dutch PC maker Tulip has quietly revived a system dead for more than a decade: the Commodore 64.

However, the upcoming C64 Direct-to-TV - which Tulip considers a "powerful" name, apparently - will no home computer but a "mini game console".

Due to ship in Europe and the US for a mere €30 ($37) during the second half of the year, the C64 DTV will launch with 30 titles taken from the C64 software archive pre-programmed into the device.

Tulip promises the device will be "the first of a whole series of entertainment products... using the Commodore name and label".

Tulip claims the C64 DTV is the "first new incarnation of the Commodore 64 hardware in over a decade", but we don't think it is. Tulip acquired Commodore in 1997 and the following year released the also powerfully named C64 WebIT, essentially a Windows CE-based box with an AMD chip, built-in modem and bundled C64 emulation software. Tulip eventually dropped the $400 product.

The C64 DTV sounds like the same kind of gig: a box with integrated C64 emulation. That explains the involvement of Ironstone, the UK company that in July 2003 licensed the Commodore 64 brand-name and the right to offer an 'official' C64 emulator.

Tulip admits the C64 DTV is something of a 'me too' product - the decision to offer the box was "prompted by the success of similar products based on the Atari, Namco and Intellivision gaming systems", the company says in a statement.

Tulip is perhaps best known outside of C64 circles as the company that sued Dell for $17bn, though it later accepted a mere $50m in an out-of-court settlement. Tulip alleged that Dell had infringed its patent covering how you connect PCI cards to an AT-format motherboard. ®

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