The RCA Studio II was released in January 1977 by RCA, initially retailing at $149.95 USD. The console was very poorly received, for a number of reasons. This was a combination of its control scheme (face buttons on the physical console for player one and player two, and no way to remove these controllers), requiring players to use the actual console to control the action on-screen. The RCA Studio II was released with five built-in games, and a total of eleven other games were released by RCA for its console.
One major reason for its poor reception was its hardware specifications. The RCA Studio II was obsolete even by the standards in 1977, with the recently released Fairchild Channel F surpassing it in nearly every way. The release of the Atari 2600 later that same year sealed its fate, and the RCA Studio II was discontinued in 1979, two years after its release.
Regarding the system's name, there are rumors that the console is named after RCA's recording studio.
North America (January 1977)
- Processor: RCA 1802 microprocessor (1.78 MHz)
- RAM: 512 bytes (256 display, 256 program)
- ROM: 2KB (including five built-in games)
- Sound: Single channel buzzer
- Video: CDP1861 video display chipset, 64x32 monochrome display
One of the most unique and simultaneously infamous aspects of the RCA Studio II is its controller, located on the face of the console itself. There are two number pads of ten buttons apiece, one labeled A and one labeled B (player one and player two). Arrows on the outside of the number pad denotes the direction that button controls, while the zero button is typically used as a "fire" or "use" button.
Despite its poor reception in North America, there were a number of RCA Studio II clones released in European markets as a cheaper alternative to the more expensive ColecoVision and Vectrex. These clones included computers such as the Soundic MPT-02 Victory, Hanimex MPT-02, Mustang 9016 Telespiel Computer, Conic M-1200, and Sheen 1200 Micro Computer. Some of these clones were compatible with RCA Studio II games, while others even added improvements and modifications, such as color graphics or detachable controllers.