Future Of The VIC
Will Commodore discontinue the VIC-20? And if so, will the company still make software and hardware for the VIC-20s that are out there?
The Commodore 16, announced in January 1984 and first marketed in October, replaces the VIC-20 as Commodore's entry-level home computer. By last June Commodore had stopped producing the VIC. Although more than two million VICs have been sold worldwide, Commodore obviously feels that the $100 Commodore 16 is a better value for beginners and also helps promote the company's marketing strategy. The Commodore 16 is essentially a Plus/4 with 16K instead of 64K RAM and no built-in software or modem port. It is upwardly compatible with the Plus/4, not true with the VIC and the Commodore 64.
As early as the Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 1984, it was apparent that fewer companies were producing software for the VIC. There was even less software at the Summer CES in June. This doesn't mean that everyone is abandoning the VIC overnight. The installed base is still very large. But it will become increasingly difficult to find new products aimed at the VIC-20—and that includes products from Commodore. Because the peripherals are largely compatible, many people have upgraded from the VIC to a 64.
One high-ranking Commodore executive told us that if someone wants to buy a hundred thousand VIC-20s, Commodore could sell them. In other words, there are plenty of VICs still around, but the company is not planning to market them in competition with its own new machines. The same official told us, however, that owners of VICs who need help will be supported by Commodore. "We have spares. We have everything. If people have a problem, we will fix it, repair it—no problem."
COMPUTE! will continue covering the VIC-20 as long as there is sufficient reader demand. There are still many thousands of VIC users among our readers.