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Thread: Why did support for the Saturn die off so long before Dreamcast?

  1. #1
    Master of Shinobi WarmSignal's Avatar
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    Default Why did support for the Saturn die off so long before Dreamcast?

    Really by the end of 1997 it was pretty much done. Several projects were canned, just a handful of games trickled out in early 1998. Even if "the Saturn was not our future", it wasn't technically history until Sega's next machine made it out, and that wasn't until September of 1999 in the west. There were a couple mil Saturn owners who had basically nothing to look forward to for almost 2 years. Why is that? The Nintendo 64 was not a wildly popular machine either, support was slow, yet stable up until the GameCube release in November 2001. Sony has abandon the Vita long ago, yet it continues to receive support. Wii U saw support, however limited, up until the Switch.

    I can't imagine why developers would think it's a bad idea to put out new software on a machine that millions still owned, where very little competition would exist. I think the N64 demonstrated how having fewer games release, means more copies of those games sold. I dunno. I've always been annoyed at how nearly two years of potential retail life was completely wasted for the Saturn.

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    Comrade as in friend. Master of Shinobi ComradeOj's Avatar
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    Some speculation on my part:

    The Dreamcast was out in late 1998 in Japan. 3rd party developers presumably knew about the dreamcast well ahead of the public so that they could have launch games ready. It that case, it would make sense to drop any titles set for a mid-late 1998 launch. That doesn't account as much for a lack of late 1997-early 1998 titles though.

    The playstation probably had the biggest hand in it. By that point the PSX was well ahead of the Saturn, and easier for devs to program for. Why make games for a more difficult platform with a smaller install base? Devs gave the saturn more attention during the early days ofr the 5th gen, but as time went on the playstation gained enough ground that devs couldn't justify the cost of making games for the Saturn anymore.
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    HNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG Raging in the Streets Moirai's Avatar
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    My only explanation is that Sega was just a sucky company by that point.

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    Hero of Algol
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    Really short answer: Sega had burned its own brand with lots of stupid moves, it sucked for 3D and that gen was all about 3D games.

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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingWCPO Agent Gryson's Avatar
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    I guess we're talking about North America, right?

    1) Sega of America was basically bankrupt by that point. Their overall strategy changed to one of cutting losses (writing off inventory, not taking any risks on game sales by only producing a small quantity per title, etc.). They were not producing new titles.

    2) Sega did not have good 3rd party support - Sony offered a more lucrative contract and the Saturn was difficult to develop for.

    3) Saturn games were not selling well. Sega needed to sell ~8 games per console to make up for the loss of the low sell price, but they were only selling ~4/5 per console. Not appealing to developers.

    Probably many other reasons.

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    Elemental Master WCPO Agent GameUser-16-32-128's Avatar
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    NA in the 90's was a really depressing and frustrating time for the Saturn since day one (yes, I lived through it!). On the other hand, releases in JP were abundant. IMO, SOA's management is to blame. So much untapped potential squandered/botched. Sigh.

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    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GameUser-16-32-128 View Post
    NA in the 90's was a really depressing and frustrating time for the Saturn since day one (yes, I lived through it!). On the other hand, releases in JP were abundant. IMO, SOA's management is to blame. So much untapped potential squandered/botched. Sigh.
    Yep, SEGA America were hopeless in the 32bit era and then Bernie put the final boot in the coffin. SEGA Europe were hopeless too but at least we did get some fine software right at the end and they brought over Deep Fear , l Sega America didn't even do that and to make matters worse Bernie upsets, one of the few 3rd parties that were supporting the Saturn at the time .

    SEGA American were beyond unless in the 32bit age, they even had to screw up the Saturn pad. Still when it came to the DC it was SOJ and more so SEGA Europe turn to screw up
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    Master of Shinobi
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    They were gathering developer support behind the scenes for the upcoming Dreamcast, and ultimately that meant that it was obvious that the Saturn is being dropped.

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    Raging in the Streets bultje112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarmSignal View Post
    Really by the end of 1997 it was pretty much done. Several projects were canned, just a handful of games trickled out in early 1998. Even if "the Saturn was not our future", it wasn't technically history until Sega's next machine made it out, and that wasn't until September of 1999 in the west. There were a couple mil Saturn owners who had basically nothing to look forward to for almost 2 years. Why is that? The Nintendo 64 was not a wildly popular machine either, support was slow, yet stable up until the GameCube release in November 2001. Sony has abandon the Vita long ago, yet it continues to receive support. Wii U saw support, however limited, up until the Switch.

    I can't imagine why developers would think it's a bad idea to put out new software on a machine that millions still owned, where very little competition would exist. I think the N64 demonstrated how having fewer games release, means more copies of those games sold. I dunno. I've always been annoyed at how nearly two years of potential retail life was completely wasted for the Saturn.
    because the saturn sold like shit.

    the wii u stopped having any support pretty much somewhere in 2015, while the switch didn't come out until 2017. same thing.

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    ESWAT Veteran Team Andromeda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bultje112 View Post
    because the saturn sold like shit.

    the wii u stopped having any support pretty much somewhere in 2015, while the switch didn't come out until 2017. same thing.
    Yep, but SEGA West could have done better, they was still some fine software coming out, that could have been brought over. While the main AM and CS teams were getting ready to make the jump to DC.
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    Raging in the Streets Blades's Avatar
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    There was a detailed article about this, Iíll see if I can find it.

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    Master of Shinobi WarmSignal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bultje112 View Post
    because the saturn sold like shit.

    the wii u stopped having any support pretty much somewhere in 2015, while the switch didn't come out until 2017. same thing.
    That's not exactly the case. Software actually dropped off mostly after the 2013 holiday season for the Wii U, the next three years saw roughly 25 new releases per year and 5 whole titles managed to drop in 2017, including of course, Breath of The Wild. So technically it was supported until the Switch arrived.

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    Raging in the Streets bultje112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarmSignal View Post
    That's not exactly the case. Software actually dropped off mostly after the 2013 holiday season for the Wii U, the next three years saw roughly 25 new releases per year and 5 whole titles managed to drop in 2017, including of course, Breath of The Wild. So technically it was supported until the Switch arrived.
    yes I meant to say almost no support. wii u in 2015 was comparable to saturn in 1998 in the west (not japan) and by then the dreamcast was 1 year away from release while the switch still needed 2 more years in 2015.

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    End of line.. Hero of Algol gamevet's Avatar
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    Nothing good can come from this thread. Let finger pointing begin.
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    Hero of Algol TrekkiesUnite118's Avatar
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    If there was any one group to blame for that situation with the Saturn it would probably be Bernie Stolar and Sega of America. They pushed hard for the Dreamcast and when it was obvious it was happening, they ditched the Saturn and threw all their eggs in the Dreamcast basket. The problem was the basket wasn't ready yet. In Japan this gap didn't really happen. So it's not like there was nothing to release. What probably should have happened instead was to shift focus to localizing Japanese software that worked for the US market and making nice with as many developers who could help in that process such as Working Designs, Capcom, SNK, and Konami.

    If the cards were played right we could have had 1997-1999 on the Saturn be full of niche but good releases such as Arcade ports, JRPGs, shmups, etc. We could have had Working Designs localizing the Lunar Titles as well as games such as Grandia, Thunder Force V, Radiant Silvergun, etc. You could have had Konami bringing over their numerous arcade ports as well as Castlevania. You could have had Capcom and SNK localizing all their amazing Arcade ports. Sega could have then focused on bringing over the rest of Shining Force III, Deep Fear, the rest of the Sega Ages line, etc. Who knows if things went well some of the cancelled stuff such as the localization of Policenauts, or the cancelled port of Resident Evil 2 might have actually materialized into something.

    The Saturn was never going to go toe to toe with late gen PS1 and N64 software in the 3D department. But it didn't really have to in order to simply keep consumers happy until the Dreamcast came along. It just had to supply good quality software that did something better than the competition. It had that in Japan. It didn't have that showing here in the US and Europe.

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