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View Full Version : Tadashi Takezaki explains why the Dreamcast failed.



Lan Di
08-11-2013, 12:33 PM
Polygon.com posted an interesting story regarding a former Sega executive about the demise of the Dreamcast. Read---> http://www.polygon.com/2013/8/7/4599588/why-did-the-dreamcast-fail-segas-marketing-veteran-looks-back

Greg2600
08-11-2013, 01:03 PM
I would concur with the statement that the DC was SEGA's last console regardless of its success. The company was just far too damaged by repeated failures.

Yharnamresident
08-11-2013, 03:04 PM
I would concur with the statement that the DC was SEGA's last console regardless of its success. The company was just far too damaged by repeated failures.Money wise, right?

I don't agree with how people say their reputation was too damaged from hardware failures.

It was those repeated failures though, that left them with $50 in their bank account.

The Dreamcast could've kept going, if they didn't lose so much money from their idiotic hardware decisions.

Rusty Venture
08-11-2013, 03:25 PM
It failed because it wasn't a cheap DVD player that also played games.

Lan Di
08-11-2013, 03:47 PM
It failed because it wasn't a cheap DVD player that also played games.

I agree with this 100%.

BTW, that avatar is epic!

Aang
08-11-2013, 03:50 PM
Looking back, Takezaki sees the Dreamcast as an incredibly revolutionary system, but one that was probably destined to be Sega's last no matter how sales turned out. "I think the Dreamcast really symbolized the changing of the guard that took place around that time," he explained. "PCs really began to evolve and improve at a dizzying rate beginning then, and it made people begin to wonder if a console tuned exclusively for games had any chance of surviving any longer.

Then how did the PS2 go on to sell 150 million units, worldwide? The real reason is the 32X fail and early Saturn cancellation which left their reputation in ruins.

Vector2013
08-11-2013, 04:36 PM
I guess overall that is what we do on Sega 16, talk about our perception of history. Especially sega's console (actual history) history, 8 bit to 128 bit.

I'm not going to sit here and continue to talk about tired dvd player would have helped it, 32 x ruined this and that, it's getting sickening, what happened HAPPENED we know why it happened most of us lived it.

I just want to say though, DC is the grandfather console of certain homebrew. The grandfather to TRUE console internet interaction. The console that dealt with piracy hardcore to the point at end it embraced it (both with sega smash pack hints to echelon and current iso's). Had a nice library (not the best, not the worst, but cool). Most people who talk about the DC still have one and love it. A failure, I think not. It didn't meet it's production $ale quota overall, but it's US launch was incredible (att). I still play my dc with sd isos. It was basically Sega saying "sorry we fucked you over these years, here is our apology, enjoy the DC for years to come".

Oh, and that girl in the avatar is chunky and not that hot and a better Asian girl could be found. Even OLD ass Tera is hotter.

Edit. Oh, she ain't hot ? Ppff who doesn't have taste :p.

http://i41.tinypic.com/kesnsl.jpg

retrospiel
08-11-2013, 04:45 PM
Oh, and that girl in the avatar is chunky and not that hot and a better Asian girl could be found.

You sir have no taste. =P

Vector2013
08-11-2013, 05:07 PM
You sir have no taste. =P

Ha, you are right. I don't have no taste for petite chunky woman people claim are hot, I have a taste for thin woman with some meat (not that much) that actually look way hotter. Like I said even old ass Tera looks hotter than that woman in avatar (do a quick google search). Put your genesis boombox down and take off your sunglasses. :p

sheath
08-11-2013, 05:59 PM
Interesting mini-interview. We pretty much knew back then that Sega simply could not compete with Sony on a cost level. Over the years we have started to see some sales figures crop up showing that the attach rate with software wasn't that great. Piracy killing diminishing software sales at_all was a major factor in the Dreamcast's cancellation no matter how you slice it. The biggest problem to me is that Sony simply made the market too virulent for smaller companies to compete.

Vector2013
08-11-2013, 06:04 PM
I am willing to bet more people fire up their dreamcasts than ps1's or ps2's even now.

Greg2600
08-11-2013, 06:07 PM
Money wise, right?

I don't agree with how people say their reputation was too damaged from hardware failures.

It was those repeated failures though, that left them with $50 in their bank account.

The Dreamcast could've kept going, if they didn't lose so much money from their idiotic hardware decisions.

Both financial and reputation. Nintendo lost a massive number of buyers/kids to Sony Playstation, but SEGA lost almost everybody. The Playstation was so successful, that as soon as the ground rumbled with word of the PS2, nobody gave the DC a look. I guess you could blame that on the SegaCD, 32X, Saturn, game developers, etc. When Microsoft began to get in, that was the end of the DC for sure, but it still wouldn't have sold up against the Gamecube and PS2. They just didn't have the funding to keep it going.

Rusty Venture
08-11-2013, 08:32 PM
BTW, that avatar is epic!

I've had more epic ones than that. I think everyone loved the ass shaking avatar the most.

old man
08-11-2013, 10:02 PM
I think dumpy Asian girls are hot, and that's one of my favorite avatars or yours. It's nice to see again. You got a full size pic? :B

Rusty Venture
08-11-2013, 11:51 PM
I do.

Lan Di
08-12-2013, 01:18 AM
I do.

Well what are you waiting for? Post it. :mrgreen:

old man
08-12-2013, 10:59 PM
Thanks for the PM rusty v. I would rep you if I could. :D

sheath
08-12-2013, 11:25 PM
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ren-stimpy-nightmare-fuel.jpg

evildragon
08-12-2013, 11:34 PM
I do.

:huh:

Yharnamresident
08-12-2013, 11:51 PM
Both financial and reputation. Nintendo lost a massive number of buyers/kids to Sony Playstation, but SEGA lost almost everybody. The Playstation was so successful, that as soon as the ground rumbled with word of the PS2, nobody gave the DC a look. I guess you could blame that on the SegaCD, 32X, Saturn, game developers, etc. When Microsoft began to get in, that was the end of the DC for sure, but it still wouldn't have sold up against the Gamecube and PS2. They just didn't have the funding to keep it going.But I still think money was more important.

Even if they had a good reputation, people would still think: "yea Sega is cool, but look the PS2 will have a DVD player!!!! I know what I'm getting for christmass"

Lan Di
08-12-2013, 11:55 PM
Thanks for the PM rusty v. I would rep you if I could. :D

I second that.

evildragon
08-13-2013, 01:49 AM
I have no idea what the fullview of this avatar looks like.

Oh well, off to porn I go!

Rusty Venture
08-13-2013, 02:41 AM
Even if they had a good reputation, people would still think: "yea Sega is cool, but look the PS2 will have a DVD player!!!! I know what I'm getting for christmass"

The reason I stick with the DVD player aspect is because DVD was just starting to gain mainstream attraction in late 1999. But DVD palyers were fucking expensive, I got my player for $300, and that was *after* $100 employee discount. First two movies I had "The Matrix" and "American Pie" (released right before xmas). Totally mind blowing to be watching a movie, at home, 6 months after it was released in theaters.

$300 for a Game system than *also* played DVD movies? Damn good value.

Yharnamresident
08-13-2013, 03:57 AM
Do we dare have this conversation again?

Was it too expensive for the Dreamcast to have DVD technology in 1998?

Bernie claimed the Dreamcast would cost $350, if it had DVD technology.

So its either they went with GD-ROMs and remained paranoid, or went with DVDs and had another expensive system launch.

Melf
08-13-2013, 10:55 AM
Wasn't the best-selling title for the launch PS2 "the Matrix" DVD?

The importance of that machine being a cheap DVD player should not be understated.

sheath
08-13-2013, 11:26 AM
Yup, in order for the PS2 not to have DVD besides Sony would have to stop being obsessed with being involved in the next big media format and profit from every unit sold. DVD is tied to the PS2's success and would have only sealed Sega's demise even faster.

Rusty Venture
08-13-2013, 01:59 PM
Do we dare have this conversation again?

Was it too expensive for the Dreamcast to have DVD technology in 1998?

Bernie claimed the Dreamcast would cost $350, if it had DVD technology.

So its either they went with GD-ROMs and remained paranoid, or went with DVDs and had another expensive system launch.


Sometimes it sucks to be first. There was no way they could anticipate the rise of DVD in 1999/2000 back in 1997/1998. Sony just got lucky releasing their DVD based system when they did.

Aang
08-13-2013, 02:09 PM
Not only would DVD have led to a stronger launch in Japan, it would have prevented the rampant piracy of Dreamcast titles when they figured how to trick the Dreamcast into booting up a pirate CD-R with the Utopia boot disk and got even worse when they discovered how to make self-booting pirate CD-Rs. By the time Sega removed the system's support for the mil-cd format in late 2000, Sega was already on it's last legs.

Yharnamresident
08-13-2013, 05:44 PM
Actually another reason why reputation didn't matter much.

The Saturn was a success in Japan, because Bernie wasn't over.

So Sega of Japan's image was still in a healthy place, they actually gave a console a long lifespan.

But once the PS2 came out, Dreamcast sales still plummeted in Japan. The Japanese were absolutely fascinated by DVDs.

sheath
08-13-2013, 06:08 PM
The Japanese love Sony, no holds barred. That company is like their favorite sports team, there is no getting around it. I suspect this stems from Sony's post A-Bomb US occupation origins "we will be the best producer of stuff in the world" goal.

kool kitty89
08-13-2013, 07:05 PM
Interesting mini-interview. We pretty much knew back then that Sega simply could not compete with Sony on a cost level. Over the years we have started to see some sales figures crop up showing that the attach rate with software wasn't that great. Piracy killing diminishing software sales at_all was a major factor in the Dreamcast's cancellation no matter how you slice it. The biggest problem to me is that Sony simply made the market too virulent for smaller companies to compete.
Yeah . . . Sega would never have benefited from directly competing with Sony on a cost level, but that's not to say Sega couldn't have carved out its own niche (both in terms of market position and overall product/cost/etc strategy) that would allow them to co-exist with the likes of Sony or MS on the market. More like what Nintendo did, but in a more "Sega" manner . . . including being much friendlier with 3rd party publishers and much less weird and stubborn about things compared to Nintendo. (so "like Nintendo, but better for publishers/developers, and consumers")

Of course, Sega's problem compared to Nintendo was their overall monetary problems (including falling out of their non-console markets), and (by the time of the DC) general PR issues across the board (and deepening funding issues, etc). That and Sega had only ever had consistent strong brand loyalty in parts of Europe (never really in Japan, almost in North America thanks to the Genesis), and they lost that edge in Europe at the same time they ruined their potential to establish it in the US, with the transitional mess they made of things in 1995-1997. (with some problems starting in 1994)

It was a perfect storm of bad decisions and bad luck. Almost a polar opposite of the situation that led to the Genesis becoming a massive success thanks to Katz, Kalinske, important Japanese software arriving in addition to that, and both NEC and Nintendo making so big mistakes that helped Sega establish itself. (NEC totally screwing up with marketing and management in general, and not remotely leveraging their megacorp funding or vertical integration advantages, while Nintendo continued to be super stubborn and a bit weird with 3rd parties while also having relatively convoluted and cost-performance ineffective hardware, especially given the 2-3 year lead over NEC and Sega)
Same thing for both Nintendo's success in Japan and North America the FC/NES, and Sega's success with the SMS in Europe. (Sega fumbling around with the mediocre off the shelf hardware SG-1000 -albeit MSX was in mostly the same boat- vs Nintendo's relatively impressive Famicom chipset, and Sega vs Nintendo's quality of management/marketing in North America and the same thing in Europe except reversed)




But back to "playing with Sony" on direct competition terms, it just was lose lose for Sega or Nintendo for that matter too. A big company like MS could afford to take the sort of investment risks needed to play on even terms (investment wise), and have enough in reserve to "suck it up" if things didn't pan out (and, to a large extent, the Xbox was a loss-making enterprise on MS's part . . . plus having severe issues with NIH syndrome in Japan).

Rusty Venture
08-13-2013, 07:10 PM
I suspect this stems from Sony's post A-Bomb US occupation origins "we will be the best producer of stuff in the world" goal.

Well I still have my Sony DVD player from 1999, and it still works. I call it "The Tank".

So there seems to be some truth to that.

Saturn Fan
08-14-2013, 12:54 AM
The Japanese love Sony, no holds barred. That company is like their favorite sports team, there is no getting around it. I suspect this stems from Sony's post A-Bomb US occupation origins "we will be the best producer of stuff in the world" goal.


Yeesh all your petty Sony hate. If Japan loves them, then it is well deserved. PSX & PS2 were godly consoles of gaming goodness. One might say they've built up a following these past 18 years similar to nintendo.

PS3 was pretty evenly matched with 360 though, so no raving success there. But they could possibley have another hit console on their hands. XBox One, the only real competition, is more expensive and kinda appears overbearing in the gaming world as of late.

Bottino
08-16-2013, 02:31 AM
It failed because it wasn't a cheap DVD player that also played games.

Dead on.


The Japanese love Sony, no holds barred. That company is like their favorite sports team, there is no getting around it. I suspect this stems from Sony's post A-Bomb US occupation origins "we will be the best producer of stuff in the world" goal.

True.

Also, i disagree when people say that the Dreamcast "failed".
For a console that had aprox. 3 years of official support, the Dreamcast library is nothing short of amazing. Easily trumps the library of the N64, Game Cube , X-Box and those new things, which had much more time on the market.

No Playstation could have done that.

As for sales, there's this guy(artist?) in Brazil called Michel Telo. He's awful but sells like water.
Sales do not necessarily equals quality.
If you release a 1000 games for a console from perhaps almos every company avaliable on the world, has much more money then the competition and counts with the media hype over it, of course good and best-seller games will appear. So, the real question is: who did more with less?
In that case, i think no one trumps the Dreamcast.

kool kitty89
08-16-2013, 06:02 AM
Yeesh all your petty Sony hate. If Japan loves them, then it is well deserved. PSX & PS2 were godly consoles of gaming goodness. One might say they've built up a following these past 18 years similar to nintendo.
Funny that you say that since Nintendo has been one of the worst (if not the worst -at least in spirit) perpetrators of extremely aggressive, bullying, anticompetitive business practices in the industry in general . . . at least they did so when they COULD, as in massive investment from competitors combined with legal action forcing them into more even terms, but when they had their way it was REALLY nasty in many respects. What Nintendo was pulling in the US and (especially) Japan in the late 80s and early 90s was crazy.

OTOH, it's possible that Atari could have taken a similar direction with things (in terms of horrible treatment of 3rd parties) had 3rd parties not been able to just publish unlicensed (with Activision paving the way). I'm honestly note sure what kept the same thing from happening on the Famicom though . . . if the NES had been like that, it would have gone the way of the pre-crash consoles, so something must have been going on on the Japanese end of things to keep 3rd party publishers "in line" like that. (almost makes me wonder if the Yakuza were involved or something like that . . . after all Namco had significant dealings with them earlier on :p )

retrospiel
08-16-2013, 08:10 AM
Of course, Sega's problem compared to Nintendo was

their problem was that in comparison to Nintendo Sega's management had no idea what brand power they got on hands thanks to their 8-bit and 16-bit success. Sega of Japan just kinda got it (see Sega Ages series + various stand alone collections for Sega Saturn), but nowhere near on the level required to keep them in biz even IF things worked out on the hardware level. And even what little there was did not reach the West. The company being a one hit wonder in the US really meant that there were no people in any position of power who knew what made Sega special - which explains why SOA did not publish Sega brands like Super Fantasy Zone, Monsterworld IV, and Pengo for Genesis or Shinobi for Saturn. It still echoes today in that all they could think of was selling out their 16-bit past to AtGames and throwing a bunch of games on a PS3 disc. At least in Japan they did stuff like coming up with a new After Burner, a new Thunder Force, a new Fantasy Zone (okay not new, but a 16-bit remake of an 8-bit original).




Funny that you say that since Nintendo has been one of the worst (if not the worst -at least in spirit) perpetrators of extremely aggressive, bullying, anticompetitive business practices in the industry in general . . .

Are you referring to the "not more than 5 games per year (-x if your games suck)" rule they had in place to ensure at least a basic level of quality ? Of course I would call that bullying if I were a company like Acclaim (or some other company that tried to publish crappy games for NES).

sheath
08-16-2013, 11:57 AM
True.

Also, i disagree when people say that the Dreamcast "failed".
For a console that had aprox. 3 years of official support, the Dreamcast library is nothing short of amazing. Easily trumps the library of the N64, Game Cube , X-Box and those new things, which had much more time on the market.

No Playstation could have done that.

I know I bought a Playstation in 1997 and couldn't find as many games I actually wanted to play as I owned for the Dreamcast in 2001. Same goes for the PS2, that and the N64 are classic examples of systems who's reputation preceded them and had no basis in fact or games. It wasn't until 2003 that I even wanted to look at the Xbox, and 2004 the Gamecube. I have said it before and will keep saying it, the Dreamcast is the last great Arcade-Action (aka Hardcore) gaming console.



As for sales, there's this guy(artist?) in Brazil called Michel Telo. He's awful but sells like water.
Sales do not necessarily equals quality.
If you release a 1000 games for a console from perhaps almos every company avaliable on the world, has much more money then the competition and counts with the media hype over it, of course good and best-seller games will appear. So, the real question is: who did more with less?
In that case, i think no one trumps the Dreamcast.

Hah, here we've got Thomas Kinkade, people spend thousands on his "paintings of light" or whatever when he is just a silly shopping mall poster artist really. People who think popularity and sales equate to quality at all have their heads turned inside out.

Rusty Venture
08-16-2013, 01:36 PM
Are you referring to the "not more than 5 games per year (-x if your games suck)" rule they had in place to ensure at least a basic level of quality ? Of course I would call that bullying if I were a company like Acclaim (or some other company that tried to publish crappy games for NES).

That ruling sounds nice on paper, but all it took was slapping a different company name on a game to go around that (Hello Ultra Games). I also think the "Seal of Quality" was smoke and mirrors. "The Uncanny X-Men" got the seal, and it is total shit.

I don't even know if I want to read that "Game Over" book. The bits I have seen quoted elsewhere show Nintendo as a company that needed to be put in its place for all the shit they pulled. And Howard Lincoln is a prime example of a slimey, backstabbing lawyer.

retrospiel
08-16-2013, 02:32 PM
That ruling sounds nice on paper, but all it took was slapping a different company name on a game to go around that (Hello Ultra Games). I also think the "Seal of Quality" was smoke and mirrors. "The Uncanny X-Men" got the seal, and it is total shit.

I don't even know if I want to read that "Game Over" book. The bits I have seen quoted elsewhere show Nintendo as a company that needed to be put in its place for all the shit they pulled. And Howard Lincoln is a prime example of a slimey, backstabbing lawyer.

Yeah, I recommended that book to kitty a few years back as an example of a less biased book on video games but it's been many many years since when I read it and after reading a few pages here and there a couple of weeks ago I am shocked how rose tinted I remembered it.

I also agree on your perception on what it took to get a Seal of Quality (Every game that got a license and passed basic tests did get it, correct me if I'm wrong) but then again before that there was Atari and the video game crash of 1984. The Seal of Quality may have prevented the worse games from being released*, we'll never know.

*of course you also had to pay the license and whatnot to Nintendo so monetary issues may also have hindered many smaller developers to release good/shitty NES games. But much of the same applied to Sega or any later console manufacturer.

Chilly Willy
08-16-2013, 02:58 PM
There's really no such things as a "worse" game - ALL games are good to SOMEBODY. Nintendo learned that lesson on the DS - shovelware works because 1) it's cheap and easy to make, and 2) SOMEONE somewhere will like it if you cover a large enough area. They continued on with their shovelware approach with the Wii, which also did gang-busters. It's particularly funny given Nintendo's old stance and their "Seal of Quality" days. :lol:

Aang
08-16-2013, 03:17 PM
Funny that you say that since Nintendo has been one of the worst (if not the worst -at least in spirit) perpetrators of extremely aggressive, bullying, anticompetitive business practices in the industry in general . . . at least they did so when they COULD, as in massive investment from competitors combined with legal action forcing them into more even terms, but when they had their way it was REALLY nasty in many respects. What Nintendo was pulling in the US and (especially) Japan in the late 80s and early 90s was crazy.


From what I've heard, Sega wasn't much better toward third parties. I remember reading that Sega were nearly as restrictive towards their business partners as Nintendo during the Genesis heydays. They didn't have the clout to force exclusivity but it seems that many of the publishers, when first dealing with Sega, were happy to be getting away from Nintendo's dictatorial policies only to find out that Sega was only marginally better.



OTOH, it's possible that Atari could have taken a similar direction with things (in terms of horrible treatment of 3rd parties) had 3rd parties not been able to just publish unlicensed (with Activision paving the way). I'm honestly note sure what kept the same thing from happening on the Famicom though . . . if the NES had been like that, it would have gone the way of the pre-crash consoles, so something must have been going on on the Japanese end of things to keep 3rd party publishers "in line" like that. (almost makes me wonder if the Yakuza were involved or something like that . . . after all Namco had significant dealings with them earlier on :p )



I don't think Atari ever realized the monetary benefits of 3rd party licensing and exclusivity. They seemed to just be content so long as they were the only publisher on the 2600. Exclusivity wasn't as big an issue pre-crash unless it was a major title like Pacman being ripped off (like Atari's lawsuit against Magnavox over KC Munchkin being too similar). Atari didn't even seem too concerned over the rights to their own hardware patents-how else could Coleco release an add-on for 2600 titles? Also, you had Atarisoft making titles on competing hardware like Intellivision, Colecovision, Commodore 64, etc. You had Mattel's M Network producing games on the 2600. Things happened in that era which would never be possible post-crash.

Nintendo pioneered the model for today's third party licensing but Nintendo contracts were much more dictatorial, especially during the NES era when they were extremely restrictive. But I don't think this was Yakuza related since the PC Engine had many games produced by most of the major Japanese publishers of the time. There was even outrage that these finished titles couldn't be brought over to the TubroGraphix-16 which was one of the reasons it failed.

I think Nintendo found some crafty lawyers in America that took advantage of any loophole to create one of the most restrictive contracts for licensees in the history of video games. The lockout chip on the NES was well publicized at the time, especially when Tengen (aka Atari) brought over Tetris to the system.

Rusty Venture
08-16-2013, 03:22 PM
I also agree on your perception on what it took to get a Seal of Quality (Every game that got a license and passed basic tests did get it, correct me if I'm wrong) but then again before that there was Atari and the video game crash of 1984. The Seal of Quality may have prevented the worse games from being released*, we'll never know.

To a young gamer, that seal seems to mean "Hey, this must be a good game if Nintendo approves!" First crap game bought/rented proved that just meant Nintendo allowed the game to be on their system.

Guntz
08-16-2013, 06:32 PM
To a young gamer, that seal seems to mean "Hey, this must be a good game if Nintendo approves!" First crap game bought/rented proved that just meant Nintendo allowed the game to be on their system.

That's what it has always meant. I don't know why people derive the quality part from the game itself. That is completely subjective and pointless. There are people who don't like Super Mario Bros. 3, one of the best NES games.

What "seal of quality" probably meant was the product itself, guaranteeing that this Game Pak won't be DOA when you pull it out of the box, or won't fall apart if you so much as breathe on it.

retrospiel
08-16-2013, 07:25 PM
I think what "Game Over" does is present a nice summary of how the media and the general public perceived Nintendo back then prior the Genesis launch. For that purpose it might still be an excellent book.

kool kitty89
08-16-2013, 07:41 PM
their problem was that in comparison to Nintendo Sega's management had no idea what brand power they got on hands thanks to their 8-bit and 16-bit success. Sega of Japan just kinda got it (see Sega Ages series + various stand alone collections for Sega Saturn), but nowhere near on the level required to keep them in biz even IF things worked out on the hardware level. And even what little there was did not reach the West. The company being a one hit wonder in the US really meant that there were no people in any position of power who knew what made Sega special - which explains why SOA did not publish Sega brands like Super Fantasy Zone, Monsterworld IV, and Pengo for Genesis or Shinobi for Saturn. It still echoes today in that all they could think of was selling out their 16-bit past to AtGames and throwing a bunch of games on a PS3 disc. At least in Japan they did stuff like coming up with a new After Burner, a new Thunder Force, a new Fantasy Zone (okay not new, but a 16-bit remake of an 8-bit original).
Sega and Nintendo both made some MASSIVE screw ups in the mid 90s . . . well, actually Nintendo never really stopped doing some of those things (softened a bit more at least), but Nintendo had other advantages to make up for it and make things more fool proof compared to Sega who had everything fall at once. (Nintendo has a more established position on the home console consumer scene . . . OTOH third parties had every reason to prefer developing for any other platform than Nintendo had it not been for Nintendo's massive market share; Nintendo had lots of liquid assets rather than almost everything tied up in investments -including non-liquid capital- as per Sega's case, and Nintendo had thriving 2ndary markets like the Game Boy while Sega's arcade and amusement business crashed pretty hard in the mid 90s and in the mess on the consumer end they ended up dropping the GG as well, rather than exploiting its huge potential to compete with the GB in the mid/late 90s -at least as long as they didn't screw up and introduce a successor too soon . . . all they needed were lower cost/lower power GG models that were quite possible in the mid 90s)

And in the post you quoted I was mainly comparing this one area . . . ie funding/revenue outside the consumer console game market, and not specifically addressing Sega's and Nintendo's overall problems/mistakes. (which I've pretty well established my opinion on too :p )


Are you referring to the "not more than 5 games per year (-x if your games suck)" rule they had in place to ensure at least a basic level of quality ? Of course I would call that bullying if I were a company like Acclaim (or some other company that tried to publish crappy games for NES).
No . . . that's actually one of the areas that wasn't so bad, though TGH it didn't really do much good in the long run.

I'm talking about the large number of limitations imposed by Nintendo on 3rd parties, including their proprietary manufacturing where Nintendo had full control over how many units and when cartridge production/delivery would take place (again, potentially useful in regulation, but also hugely exploitable in underhanded ways), and then the #1 issue of locking in all publishers of Nintendo platforms to ONLY publish to Nintndo consoles . . . they left a hole for computer publishing (presumably due to a fair amount of established computer publishing demand in Japan and especially US/Europe to the point where it would have lost too many publishers to include computers) for a 2 year period (pretty sure on that duration) after publication on a Nintendo platform. (there were a few loopholes, but not many) This was a huge problem for competing platforms gaining 3rd party publisher support and licensing arcade titles. (Nintendo had both locked-in on the Japanese end prior to the NES's US launch -something Atari Corp discovered in early 1985 when they were searching for new software to license for the 7800, and that's the reason Mike Katz targeted computer game licenses almost exclusively for the 7800)

And that's the primary reason you didn't see 3rd much/any 3rd party support on Nintendo's competition prior to the Genesis, and even then not so much until around 1991 (combined efforts of Sega marketing and negotiating and multiple lawsuits against Nintendo, at least in the US and Europe -not sure if direct litigation materialized in Japan . . . really weird there). I'd imagine things might have gotten broken up somewhat sooner if Sega had been able to push the sort of marketing for the SMS in North America that the Genesis later got, though Sega was also at a general disadvantage in funding given they may have had to cut software investment had they pushed more funding into marketing and such. (OTOH, if that paid off, they could shortly turn around and push even more funding into software overall, due to the higher market share facilitating such investment and general growth -as seen on the MD/Genesis . . . that and I suppose they could have done other things like offering especially attractive contrasts to 3rd party publishers)







There's really no such things as a "worse" game - ALL games are good to SOMEBODY. Nintendo learned that lesson on the DS - shovelware works because 1) it's cheap and easy to make, and 2) SOMEONE somewhere will like it if you cover a large enough area. They continued on with their shovelware approach with the Wii, which also did gang-busters. It's particularly funny given Nintendo's old stance and their "Seal of Quality" days. :lol:
The problem is that the competition also tends to have a competitive amount of shovelware, but with better hardware performance to support it. (so equally mediocre development quality will still tend to produce better looking games . . . perhaps better playing too if the Nintendo versions have actual performance issues hampering gameplay)







From what I've heard, Sega wasn't much better toward third parties. I remember reading that Sega were nearly as restrictive towards their business partners as Nintendo during the Genesis heydays. They didn't have the clout to force exclusivity but it seems that many of the publishers, when first dealing with Sega, were happy to be getting away from Nintendo's dictatorial policies only to find out that Sega was only marginally better.
Is this in regards to SoJ or SoA's licensing policies? I got the impression that, at least early on, Mike Katz was working particularly hard to attract 3rd party publishers and be relatively favorable with negotiating terms, while SoJ was considerably more limiting in general, with Katz having to work around their polices in several cases. (his dealing with EA's licensing contract being the most obvious example . . . SoJ more or less wanting to sue EA over their attempt at unlicensed publishing, while Katz instead pushed for an especially attractive licensing deal with EA that avoided such conflicts)

Not sure how things changed under Kalinske though, but I'd imagine Katz pushing that sort of stuff may have been some of the areas he rubbed SoJ management the wrong way. (perhaps more so in the way he went about broaching the topic . . . I think Katz had more of a direct management/communication style while Kalinske was/is a fair bit better at negotiation and manipulation in that sense )



Nintendo pioneered the model for today's third party licensing but Nintendo contracts were much more dictatorial, especially during the NES era when they were extremely restrictive. But I don't think this was Yakuza related since the PC Engine had many games produced by most of the major Japanese publishers of the time. There was even outrage that these finished titles couldn't be brought over to the TubroGraphix-16 which was one of the reasons it failed.

I think Nintendo found some crafty lawyers in America that took advantage of any loophole to create one of the most restrictive contracts for licensees in the history of video games. The lockout chip on the NES was well publicized at the time, especially when Tengen (aka Atari) brought over Tetris to the system.
I just wonder how Nintendo avoided 3rd parties going unlicensed in Japan as happened with the VCS/CV/IV/etc (no lock-out) . . . and how several companies did so on the NES and Genesis in spite of security measures. (and again, EA was ready to do that as well in 1990)

As for Tetris, I think that's a different issue entirely, since that was back when Tengen was an official licensee using official NES carts. Their Rabbit chip came later, and it's rather ironic that they went through all the trouble to reverse engineer it and then run into legal problems, when several other companies found a far simpler/cheaper (and legally foolproof) route via the voltage spiking hack as used by Camerica/Codemasters and Color Dreams.





That's what it has always meant. I don't know why people derive the quality part from the game itself. That is completely subjective and pointless. There are people who don't like Super Mario Bros. 3, one of the best NES games.

What "seal of quality" probably meant was the product itself, guaranteeing that this Game Pak won't be DOA when you pull it out of the box, or won't fall apart if you so much as breathe on it.
It was also supposed to be at least some level of standard on the quality assurance of the actual software, to avoid at least the worst offending examples seen on the VCS and such (not so much the mediocre examples, but the really worthless crap), that and it quickly also came to mean that it was screened and censored to NoA's standards. :p

Except at some point, some things that were really incomplete, buggy, unplayable crap still got through . . . like Super Man on the N64. :p

retrospiel
08-16-2013, 07:54 PM
I'd imagine Katz pushing that sort of stuff may have been some of the areas he rubbed SoJ management the wrong way.

The only thing we know for a fact is that there were various problems during the 11 months of developing Sonic the Hedgehog where SOA wasn't happy with what SOJ did and where SOJ wasn't happy with how SOA communicated their reservations.

Even Katz himself thinks they fired him because he'd 'speak his mind and not keep quite'.

If I am correct Kalinske took over shortly before Sonic's release, yes?

tomaitheous
08-17-2013, 02:13 PM
So, basically they didn't have the stomach, or the capital, to continue on. The should have died with the burning ship, putting all they had into it, and go on to have an incredible reputation. Instead, they took the bitch-ass move and ran away. Yay! Sega is still alive today. In name only. Pfft. It's been a looooong and drawn out death for Sega. Still is.

Guntz
08-17-2013, 03:08 PM
So, basically they didn't have the stomach, or the capital, to continue on. The should have died with the burning ship, putting all they had into it, and go on to have an incredible reputation. Instead, they took the bitch-ass move and ran away. Yay! Sega is still alive today. In name only. Pfft. It's been a looooong and drawn out death for Sega. Still is.

Exactly. I still don't understand why everyone uses piracy as a scapegoat. Sega simply ran out of money. It seems excellent marketing and innovative game development costs money. Shenmue didn't sell as well as expected either. The PS2 hype train severely maimed Dreamcast sales. But Sega's lack of money stands as the major reason for the Dreamcast's early death.

I'm still pretty disappointed that the Dreamcast was canceled in the US first. That's where it was selling the best. I guess making Shenmue II (and various other DC sequels) an Xbox exclusive was too good to pass up.

sheath
08-17-2013, 03:12 PM
Piracy helped Sega run out of money significantly faster. They were basically counting on 8+million Dreamcast owners plus late firesale adopters to actually buy software for once.

Chilly Willy
08-17-2013, 03:22 PM
Piracy helped Sega run out of money significantly faster.

Debateable at best, a complete lie at worst. Most INDEPENDENT studies show piracy INCREASE sales, not decrease them.


They were basically counting on 8+million Dreamcast owners plus late firesale adopters to actually buy software for once.

People buy when the product is readily available at a decent price. If you don't get them to the people in a convenient manner and at a decent price, people won't buy. It's amazing how media conglomerates never seem to get this point.

sheath
08-17-2013, 03:37 PM
Debateable at best, a complete lie at worst. Most INDEPENDENT studies show piracy INCREASE sales, not decrease them.


Hardware sales, not software, and we already saw that the Dreamcast's sales flat lined that year. I have also posted the numbers before on how much even 1% loss in numbers would have cost Sega in 2000, when it needed every dollar. I'm not saying that piracy was THE cause, but it was one of them.



People buy when the product is readily available at a decent price. If you don't get them to the people in a convenient manner and at a decent price, people won't buy. It's amazing how media conglomerates never seem to get this point.

I'm not sure how this correlates. I was buying Dreamcast games left and right because soon to be dead dotcom companies were giving 50-75% off deals all the time. At brick and mortar stores the Dreamcast looked like the PS1 in almost every way.

Guntz
08-17-2013, 04:09 PM
That same year the PS2 was announced. You must not have been there, but PS2 hype was so thick you could cut through it with a knife. Sony was outright LYING about the PS2's specs and supposed capabilities, not to mention the sells-like-hotcakes cheap DVD player functionality. The PS2 severely stunted the Dreamcast, without actually selling any units. The ironic thing is when PS2 finally launched, there were hardware shortages and a lack of software. The N64 had a very profitable Christmas that year, thanks in part to big name titles like Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and I think Banjo Tooie. If only Sega could have held on until the PS2 released.

A Black Falcon
08-17-2013, 06:45 PM
Piracy helped Sega run out of money significantly faster. They were basically counting on 8+million Dreamcast owners plus late firesale adopters to actually buy software for once.

I don't think the Dreamcast's attach rate was nearly as bad as the people who wrongly blame piracy would like to think it was...

Yharnamresident
08-17-2013, 08:09 PM
That same year the PS2 was announced. You must not have been there, but PS2 hype was so thick you could cut through it with a knife. Sony was outright LYING about the PS2's specs and supposed capabilities, not to mention the sells-like-hotcakes cheap DVD player functionality. The PS2 severely stunted the Dreamcast, without actually selling any units. The ironic thing is when PS2 finally launched, there were hardware shortages and a lack of software. The N64 had a very profitable Christmas that year, thanks in part to big name titles like Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and I think Banjo Tooie. If only Sega could have held on until the PS2 released.

I can find internet forums from 2000, backing up your statement.

"Yea the PS2 can do 75 million polygons per seconds, and the Dreamcast can only do 3 million polygons per second."

Lan Di
08-17-2013, 08:41 PM
That same year the PS2 was announced. You must not have been there, but PS2 hype was so thick you could cut through it with a knife. Sony was outright LYING about the PS2's specs and supposed capabilities, not to mention the sells-like-hotcakes cheap DVD player functionality. The PS2 severely stunted the Dreamcast, without actually selling any units. The ironic thing is when PS2 finally launched, there were hardware shortages and a lack of software. The N64 had a very profitable Christmas that year, thanks in part to big name titles like Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and I think Banjo Tooie. If only Sega could have held on until the PS2 released.

That's pretty much accurate. I stood in line at a Kmart on launch day and I was 9th in line. The store manager walked out to the line started handing out tickets to customers in line so they could claim a PS2. He handed out 8 tickets :bang:. I remember then driving up to a Circuit City shortly after and an employee was standing in the parking lot yelling "there all gone".

That was one of the most fucked up days of my gaming life.

kool kitty89
08-17-2013, 09:40 PM
That same year the PS2 was announced. You must not have been there, but PS2 hype was so thick you could cut through it with a knife. Sony was outright LYING about the PS2's specs and supposed capabilities, not to mention the sells-like-hotcakes cheap DVD player functionality. The PS2 severely stunted the Dreamcast, without actually selling any units. The ironic thing is when PS2 finally launched, there were hardware shortages and a lack of software. The N64 had a very profitable Christmas that year, thanks in part to big name titles like Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and I think Banjo Tooie. If only Sega could have held on until the PS2 released.
On the specs end, I'm pretty sure there were no outright lies . . . just the typical "marketing spin that takes raw performance specifications and tech demos out of context" sort of thing.

Same thing for the PS1, real specs, but just out of context for what they actually MEAN in the real world. Crazyace and several other tech guys on here (among other places) explained this in greater detail, and it's all legit as far as the tech data being real and valid.






The only thing we know for a fact is that there were various problems during the 11 months of developing Sonic the Hedgehog where SOA wasn't happy with what SOJ did and where SOJ wasn't happy with how SOA communicated their reservations.

Even Katz himself thinks they fired him because he'd 'speak his mind and not keep quite'.

If I am correct Kalinske took over shortly before Sonic's release, yes?
There were some issues over Sonic, but Katz doesn't seem to imply those were the MAIN areas of contention between him and Japan. Hell, post-Katz Sega still had a TON of reservations and complaints about Sonic and put tons of work into reshaping the character into what they felt was reasonably marketable in the US. (Katz's hedgehog-specific criticism aside, there was a long list of other issues they worked through . . . and even on Katz's one noted area of contention, the original list of concept characters for Sonic 1 included several designs which would have avoided his complaints too -most notably the rabbit based one . . . which is a pretty natural choice overall too, given the speed thing, and also used in a few notable Sonic-inspired games like Quik the Thunder Rabbit and Jazz Jackrabbit)

His interview with Melf really makes it seem like SoJ management just didn't like him pushing the envelope the way he did (including his honesty), and were generally overly finicky/touchy. (definitely a culture clash issue, probably combined with specific personality clash too)

The whole Sonic issue is further supported by Katz's own admission of his being wrong about the hedgehog recognition issue in that very interview. So his later clarification on why he left Sega would imply that it was NOT over this specific issue and that there were more general conflicts involving his direct and frank manner and lack of "warm fuzzies" so to speak:

http://www.sega-16.com/2006/04/interview-michael-katz/

Japan management replaced me with Tom Kalinske. I never knew how to say Hyakumandai and I guess they didn't want to hear how it (life) really was, and they needed more warm fuzzies from their U.S. president... That ain't me. Carpe Diem.

And I'm almost certain Jack Tramiel appreciated Katz for that much more than Nakayma ever did.


I just ranted about this in much greater depth here too:
http://www.sega-16.com/forum/showthread.php?20318-Interview-Scot-Bayless&p=603398#post603398
;)






So, basically they didn't have the stomach, or the capital, to continue on. The should have died with the burning ship, putting all they had into it, and go on to have an incredible reputation. Instead, they took the bitch-ass move and ran away. Yay! Sega is still alive today. In name only. Pfft. It's been a looooong and drawn out death for Sega. Still is.
I've argued this point too. Sega either would have gone out in a blaze of glory, or actually pulled it off overall, betting the farm so to speak. (more so since the positive PR generated in the short term by pushing like that would have secured more investor and developer interest too)

Then again, the time for Sega to do that was with the Saturn and not the Dreamcast. Sega ran way from the Saturn too, and in that case they'd have been in a much better position to go "do or die" mode (following up completely in 1996 through 1999). At worst they'd have burned out enough to make them think twice of actually launching the Dreamcast (going to software only sooner), and at best, they'd have managed to pull the Saturn through to a decent 3rd place on the international market (actually if Japan sales kept up, it might have come close to tying with the N64 -especially if it meant pulling sales directly away from Nintendo).

Hell, they also ran way from the 32x, and regardless of whether the 32x was good to release at all (I think not), they'd have been much better off to follow through with it properly rather than effectively throwing it away in 1995. (while simultaneously screwing up the Saturn's introduction so much that it hurt both the Saturn and 32x, and Sega as a whole -and 3rd party developers, and retailers, and consumers, and especially PR for all of the above)

The 32x may have been a mistake, but the REAL mistake is what they did after the fact . . . their apparent idea of "correcting" the mistake doing the exact opposite and just digging them a massive hole in PR and wasted investments.

A Black Falcon
08-17-2013, 10:43 PM
I don't know, pushing your system to the end and going backrupt as a result, like happened to TTI, may have a certain attraction to it, but at least Sega managed to continue to exist as a company... with that other approach that well might not have happened. And at least Sega did manage to choose a better partner than post-Jaguar Atari...

Aang
08-17-2013, 11:11 PM
So, basically they didn't have the stomach, or the capital, to continue on. The should have died with the burning ship, putting all they had into it, and go on to have an incredible reputation. Instead, they took the bitch-ass move and ran away. Yay! Sega is still alive today. In name only. Pfft. It's been a looooong and drawn out death for Sega. Still is.

Yeah, Sega should have just left the console market back in 1997. It's ironic that was the year Titanic was released in theaters cause Sega was the Titanic. They should have just started making N64 and PS1 games starting in late 1997. Who knows, they could have still been a more respectable publisher today had they done that instead of releasing another failed console.

Aang
08-17-2013, 11:18 PM
Debateable at best, a complete lie at worst. Most INDEPENDENT studies show piracy INCREASE sales, not decrease them.



How would piracy increase software sales for Dreamcast? The entire library was available for download and could be played without the need to even mod the machine. In addition, there was little loyalty among most DC owners after being burned by Sega so many times so it's not like they even felt much guilt downloading DC games. This was as devastating to Sega as Napster was to the music industry sales of physical CDs.

Chilly Willy
08-18-2013, 12:23 AM
How would piracy increase software sales for Dreamcast? The entire library was available for download and could be played without the need to even mod the machine. In addition, there was little loyalty among most DC owners after being burned by Sega so many times so it's not like they even felt much guilt downloading DC games. This was as devastating to Sega as Napster was to the music industry sales of physical CDs.

Piracy is used as a Try-Before-Buy system. It's a proven fact that pirates buy more software/music/movies than any other group. Besides, even if EVERY DC game was available, very few people at that time had both the internet connection AND the CD burner needed to pirate games. That's still the case today - most people aren't even aware that the games are available somewhere online, or how to get them if they did, or how to burn a copy if they could. That's why DRM is so stupid - the ONLY people it hurts are the paying customers!

sheath
08-18-2013, 12:47 AM
Piracy may be a demo station for the tech savvy, I can buy that because I do it. Under normal circumstances where the corporation doesn't need that 1%, or 10%, or whatever percent, that would have otherwise been forced to buy at retail or share their money in the used market I can even see it as a form of free advertising. I also think people are exaggerating just how accessible Dreamcast downloads were in 2000 when it really mattered. I was a tech guy back then too and I found Usenet .part files a pain to collect over dial up and didn't like braving pirate sites at that speed either. I doubt it was much of an option for consumers.

As to how much piracy might have hurt Sega's final revenue in 2000, here are some actual numbers based on final NPD (US only) software sales figures (http://www.gamepilgrimage.com/Dreamcastussales.htm).


Total:
26,603,472


Median:
55,701


Average:
106,414



As for the eternal doubter's doubt about whether the Dreamcast had a poor software attach rate, just divide that total by 4,096,544 which was the total US Dreamcast sales at the time of the report in the US. That makes 6.5 games per Dreamcast sold the final attach rate. I can't find any official attach rate figures for the PS2, PS1, Xbox or Gamecube off hand, preferably their first two years of attach rate would be more relevant than later. The Xbox 360's attach rate reputedly went from about 5 per console to almost 9 per.

At any rate, the Dreamcast didn't look to be the console megapublishers could farm out sequels on and sell 2-3 million games each time.

A Black Falcon
08-18-2013, 01:47 AM
Piracy is used as a Try-Before-Buy system. It's a proven fact that pirates buy more software/music/movies than any other group. Besides, even if EVERY DC game was available, very few people at that time had both the internet connection AND the CD burner needed to pirate games. That's still the case today - most people aren't even aware that the games are available somewhere online, or how to get them if they did, or how to burn a copy if they could. That's why DRM is so stupid - the ONLY people it hurts are the paying customers!
I might never have gotten into classic game collecting if I hadn't started playing the games in emulators first... it made me want the real thing.


Piracy may be a demo station for the tech savvy, I can buy that because I do it. Under normal circumstances where the corporation doesn't need that 1%, or 10%, or whatever percent, that would have otherwise been forced to buy at retail or share their money in the used market I can even see it as a form of free advertising. I also think people are exaggerating just how accessible Dreamcast downloads were in 2000 when it really mattered. I was a tech guy back then too and I found Usenet .part files a pain to collect over dial up and didn't like braving pirate sites at that speed either. I doubt it was much of an option for consumers.
Yeah, that last part is an important point! Most people in 1999-2001 still had dialup. We didn't get cable at home until 2000-2001, for instance... and we were ahead of plenty of people, certainly. Most people didn't have cable, and if you only have dialup, downloading games over the internet would be extremely hard. Even just downloading 30MB patches was a big production for me on dialup (took forever, unstable connection, etc.), forget about anything huge like that! It'd never have happened.

And beyond that, having to download all those parts, merge the files, have a CD burner... it's not like Playstation piracy, where all you needed to do was make a copy of the disc. On the DC it wasn't so simple. I'd guess that piracy was worse on the PS1 than on the Dreamcast, during their active lives. And I very highly doubt that it hurt the system (or Sega's profits) very much.


As to how much piracy might have hurt Sega's final revenue in 2000, here are some actual numbers based on final NPD (US only) software sales figures (http://www.gamepilgrimage.com/Dreamcastussales.htm).


Total:
26,603,472


Median:
55,701


Average:
106,414



As for the eternal doubter's doubt about whether the Dreamcast had a poor software attach rate, just divide that total by 4,096,544 which was the total US Dreamcast sales at the time of the report in the US. That makes 6.5 games per Dreamcast sold the final attach rate. I can't find any official attach rate figures for the PS2, PS1, Xbox or Gamecube off hand, preferably their first two years of attach rate would be more relevant than later. The Xbox 360's attach rate reputedly went from about 5 per console to almost 9 per.

At any rate, the Dreamcast didn't look to be the console megapublishers could farm out sequels on and sell 2-3 million games each time.
Yeah, it's important to note that attach rates go up over time. The DC died early, so it had no time for its attach rate to increase. Given that, 6.5 is quite reasonable... it's not like it lasted a full generation. I don't think there's any evidence that piracy was a significant financial problem for Sega on the DC.

Rusty Venture
08-18-2013, 02:16 AM
That's pretty much accurate. I stood in line at a Kmart on launch day and I was 9th in line. The store manager walked out to the line started handing out tickets to customers in line so they could claim a PS2. He handed out 8 tickets :bang:. I remember then driving up to a Circuit City shortly after and an employee was standing in the parking lot yelling "there all gone".

That was one of the most fucked up days of my gaming life.

I remember the store I worked at running out of PS2 systems and not getting more in for a week or two. I also remember having to lie to customers about having some in stock so we could fulfill rainchecks (when we actually got systems in). And this for a system that launched with "Smugglers Run" & "Fantavision".

I don't remember having those issues with the DC.

sheath
08-18-2013, 02:44 AM
So, software attach rates may or may not increase with each console sold. That is a given. What we do_not know is how many of that ~26 million software units were sold in 2000 or 2001 or 2002. Let's play with the total software numbers for a minute, along with Sam Pettus' old writeup on software piracy (http://www.gamepilgrimage.com/piracykills.htm). Let's say that Sega lost only 1% of potential sales to pirates who would have otherwise bought software. I would love to see any and all arguments against such a low possibility.

Now, lets see what 1% of ~26 million is, that would be 266,034. That would be more than double the average sales for Dreamcast software already. Meaning that pirated software of only 1% of the total sales for every game sold on the system more than doubled the sales of the average selling Dreamcast game.

Now let's take Pettus assertions that third party sales made Sega $8.40 per title and 1st or 2nd party releases made Sega $42 per title.

If only third party games represented those ~266k units at 1% of total Dreamcast software sales:
266,034*8.40= ... Anybody, anybody, Beuller, Beuller ... $2,234,685.6

Can anybody confirm or deny that Sega could take a loss of over two million dollars on Dreamcast software sales and stay afloat? Would anybody care to figure what that number would be if any first or second party Sega games were included?

-edit-

Actually I made that a lot harder than it had to be, based on Pettus' per software unit sold royalty numbers and the above NPD final sales list, Sega earned:



Total:
26,603,472

$644,800,834



Median:
55,701
$564,157


Average:
106,414
$2,579,203



So, just take 1% of the Total sales dollars that Sega made on software in the US to figure what piracy cost them. I would say this is an extremely conservative estimate. Losing a minimum of 6 million dollars on the US alone to piracy seems like an unacceptable loss to me.

kool kitty89
08-18-2013, 04:26 AM
Piracy is used as a Try-Before-Buy system. It's a proven fact that pirates buy more software/music/movies than any other group. Besides, even if EVERY DC game was available, very few people at that time had both the internet connection AND the CD burner needed to pirate games. That's still the case today - most people aren't even aware that the games are available somewhere online, or how to get them if they did, or how to burn a copy if they could. That's why DRM is so stupid - the ONLY people it hurts are the paying customers!
That's actually a really good point. I know a lot of people who do that . . . including my family (and me), though that includes both "download and later buy" or "download and later rent" (in the case of a show/film we'd rather have rented anyway, but simply wasn't available -legitimately- at the time). ;)


That said, there's also the other side of piracy . . . the side not of the tech-savvy do-it-yourselfer, but of the black market (selling burned games) and the like. Still, I rather doubt that made up a huge chunk of overall sales.

That and there's also the old-school swapmeet rout, as per cassette and floppy games, or shows/movies, and such. Except unlike VHS, standard floppy, or compact cassette, there's still the issue of relative commonality of CD-R drives back then. (still it cuts out the internet end of things) That, and unlike the 80s/early 90s counterpart of that, you'd generally exclude the example of "friends buying games and then swapping/copying them with eachother" where there'd still be an initial purchase in general. (and you often wouldn't lose many net sales as the copying was often due to budget limits anyway, as in those guys probably wouldn't have bought many more games if they couldn't share like that -they'd just have fewer games . . . and perhaps be more likely to share games in series rather than paralle -ie swap the original media, as was more typical of consoles ;) )



It would actually be really interesting to see widely sampled statistics on tendencies of typical media pirates currently. (ie how many really tends towards the "try before buy" scenario)


It also seems like putting more emphasis on the old demo/shareware business model would be a more proactive approach to addressing piracy than all this DRM BS. (which really makes a ton of those tech-savvy types MORE interested in piracy just to avoid that DRM crap in general)







I don't know, pushing your system to the end and going backrupt as a result, like happened to TTI, may have a certain attraction to it, but at least Sega managed to continue to exist as a company... with that other approach that well might not have happened. And at least Sega did manage to choose a better partner than post-Jaguar Atari...
There was no post-Jaguar Atari (that's Atari Corp, mind you). They completely liquidated the remainder of the company and sold the assets/properties to JT Storage . . . in a technical sense, somewhat like what Warner did in 1984, except with there being almost nothing useful left of the company (aside from patents and IP licenses) and that the receiving company had no interest in trying to expand upon that. (so while TTL picked up something very useful for their purposes -with decent management to back it up, in spite of Warner's sloppy handling of the deal- JTS had no such interest and was only buying a withered husk of a company's remaining properties, without the major industry ties and useful facilities/properties etc that TTL brought in when they became Atari Corp)

OTOH, Atari Games did stick around (much more like the post-console Sega, since those were the arcade guys split in 1984 -and Tengen, etc), except they got bought by Time Warner in the early 90s and then shoveled off onto Midway (becoming Midway west), and finally shut down in the mid 2000s. (shortly before Midway was bought by Warner, ironically)



But again, the "do or die" time shouldn't have been a battle for Dreamcast at all, it should have been following through with the Saturn (and 32x . . . for damage control at least).
That, or just pulling out of consumer hardware back around 1997 and saving all the mess they created by what they did instead. (potentially could have been a much healthier publisher/developer of games had they shifted that focus back then -could have focused Stolar's downsizing around that too, retaining a proportionally higher percentage of game development staff and less of the console hardware/management/marketing/distribution/etc related staff -Staff involved with PC game development would have been pretty significant to keep on)

Even then though, in terms of general company PR and such, announcing that the Saturn would be their last console BUT that they planned to keep it fully supported for the benefit of consumers and the industry as a whole could have been a net benefit to PR and morale (internal and external) of an extent that it would make the risk of losing money with said support worth it. (plus, on the software end, they could have begun treating the Saturn as one of several platforms they would publish to . . . probably starting with expanding emphasis on PC releases and looking into gaining licensing contracts for the competition -but on the plus side for the Saturn, they still had the advantage of no licensing royalties to cut into software profits, for what that's worth . . . and the overhead for designing and releasing the platform onto the market was already done too, so the support end of investment was all that was left -so weigh that against counter-points for publishing for Sony and or Nintendo vs just PC and Saturn -and maybe Mac)



Oh, but another note on the Jaguar:
If Atari could have "bet the farm" and gone "do or die" on the Jaguar, they really should have. That may have been just what it needed to really pull it off (also should have addressed some of the funding related issues that caused the hardware bugs/bottlenecks and lack of good software tools and documented workarounds in the SDK).

The problem was there that Atari really had no "farm" to bet at all, they had very little internal funding or investor funds to exploit (and quite a bit of debt to deal with as it was). It took pretty much all they had to pull together the hype (and limited product stock) for the 1993 test market. And THAT was where they got the brunt of investor interest for the Jaguar as it was: they BSed their way through the test release and caught the interest of some pretty big players in the industry (got their manufacturing deal with IBM that way -iirc the early Jags were not IBM built) and got investor interest too (enough to secure some investment loans). Still, that was just a drop in the hat for what they really needed, including the need to rebuild the company's internal infrastructure (polar opposite of Sega, Atari Corp had shriveled to a skeleton crew of staff by 1993), even the winnings for the Sega lawsuit in '94 didn't go nearly far enough to make up for that.

The only other option would have to dig into private funds from the Tramiel Family estate . . . which was sizable, but then they'd not just be betting the company, but . . . everything on a long shot. (and in hindsight, it probably was a good idea they didn't)
Really, Atari Corp had gone too far down the wrong path for far too long by 1993/94 to have any realistic chance of turning thing around. (1990 was the real turning point IMO -poor outlook and management of the computers -marketing, hardware development, and software/OS wise- and totally absent on the next-gen console front with the Panther canned without a direct replacement -and too late to just release a consolized ST)

That, or with a management turn-around by 1993, they just might have done well enough to keep the Lynx going and possibly see better long-term success (as price dropped and later revisioned allowed smaller bulk and better battery life -including non backlit models). Hell, with Sega leaving that market, they might just have become the best Nintendo alternative out there. Albeit they'd have had to drop the Jaguar release if they wanted to do that (not enough funding for both), and probably try to swing a new marketing campaign partially targeted at getting investors fired up too (like the Jaguar thing).
The handheld market was MUCH less crowded and (even with Nintendo) a good deal more realistic for Atari, especially with an established (albeit modest market share) platform out there already. (and with hardware powerful enough to hold even or better than almost anything on the market short of GBA)

Still, the sadder area of Atari Corp is what happend to the ST IMO, similar with the Amiga. (both very interesting and powerful general "alternative" home computers of their time, both technically more capable all-around -and cheaper- than contemporary PCs and clones -and Mac, and both having very strong standing in Europe and notable niches in the US . . . the ST being simpler -and potentially simpler to develop further without losing compatibility or cost efficiency- and the amiga more complex but also more powerful with innovative hardware acceleration, but both failed to follow up that hardware in any reasonable manner . . . and let the OS end of things drag a bit more too -less so for the Amiga given its OS started off a bit ahead of its time already and benefited more from refinement than TOS/GEM)
I really wonder what could have become of either of those machines if they'd progressed better and lasted longer. (especially if it meant keeping the PC out of the dominant market position in Europe for a good deal longer)