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Thread: SEGA Saturn a Historical Revisionism

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    Default SEGA Saturn a Historical Revisionism

    By SegaAMD

    When we talk about the fifth generation and look for history we come across a very simplistic view-SEGA's mistakes and how amazing Sony was- but this narrative only gained momentum when the generation was almost over and was consolidated after Sega's out from console market as a manufacturer.

    In the world we live in, there is always a war of narratives and, as in a war, the winner makes its narrative prevail and, in these circumstances, the adversary is demonized. To better understand for example a war between two kingdoms, regardless of who wins, the winner will pinate himself as GOOD and the loser as Bad. In politics, we see this happening to a greater or lesser extent.

    My goal is to bring a different point of view, because the dominant point of view is always the same, as a SEGA fan I don't like it when other Sega fans replicate the dominant and accepted narrative.

    What this topic intends is not to make a negationism because the facts cannot be changed but a historical revisionism and try at least among us to consolidate this alternative point of view.


    About SEGA mistakes

    there is no SEGA mistake, just decisions

    in fact Sega, Nintendo and Sony had their strategies and each strategy was correct, as Sony's strategy prevailed over the others it was constituted that it got it right and that the others got it wrong. in other words Sony's commercial success turned other competitor's decisions into mistakes. if for some reason Nintendo's strategy prevails, today we would be talking about Sony's mistakes.


    The market before and after Playstation

    The playstation has revolutionized the market, but just as every revolution doesn't mean it was a good thing, the console's proponents say that thanks to Sony consoles, they've come to be seen as electronics rather than toys and the market has reached profit levels where it arrived, This is quite true, but along with the advent of playstaion, the speed of arcade death has accelerated, games have become increasingly disposable, the search for different hardware is over, the controls are now copies of the playstation control and a setback for using 4 Buttons Instead of 6 buttons, old sprite games gave way to 2d games made from polygons, the industries gradually broke with their classic roots.

    The SEGA after Saturn

    Sega itself relented the pressure and in Dreamcast now imitated the playstation console using 4-button front controls, cross-shaped D-pad, as if it were little, if we enter today on the SEGA website it partially accepts that it was wrong with saturn but emphasizes that the competition was very powerful.

    Conclusion:

    I myself have sent SEGA suggestions not to go in the way of the market doing and continuing its story, but I'm not sure if anyone inside has read it. In any case, those who lived at that time can feel what a SEGA Saturn was a amazing console.
    Last edited by SegaAMD; 12-22-2019 at 02:49 PM.

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    Life!? ... What console is that on?



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    The problems with the Saturn were evident from day one, it had one of the worst launches of any console in history (and it was coming right on the heels of the 32X, another failure). Sony is by no means perfect but they were able to capitalize on mistakes from their rivals. A lot of the other things you mention would have happened anyway:

    -Arcades had been in decline for a decade and were only temporarily bolstered by one on one fighters and titles like Daytona USA in the early 90s.
    -The market wanted 3D games not 2D sprites, look at Sega's own arcade division, they had already figured this out a couple years earlier.
    -6 button pads were never the standard. The only reason they caught on for awhile was the popularity of Capcom fighters. Other than that I see no advantage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    The problems with the Saturn were evident from day one, it had one of the worst launches of any console in history (and it was coming right on the heels of the 32X, another failure). Sony is by no means perfect but they were able to capitalize on mistakes from their rivals. A lot of the other things you mention would have happened anyway:
    no way we ordinary consumers could predict that Saturn would fail in the west, only industry people could foresee that as Sony has already entered the market receiving the 3DO legacy and making many temporary exclusivity deals, basically Sega was unarmed with only your firsty party games, that in the long run would certainly translate into low sales.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SegaAMD View Post
    no way we ordinary consumers could predict that Saturn would fail in the west, only industry people could foresee that as Sony has already entered the market receiving the 3DO legacy and making many temporary exclusivity deals, basically Sega was unarmed with only your firsty party games, that in the long run would certainly translate into low sales.
    No one can predict the future but Sega's strategy looked bizarre even in 1995. We had just seen a series of ads for upgrading the Genesis with the 32X or Sega CD and then here comes another brand new Sega console, the first thing my friends and I thought was that the Saturn had to be a consolidation of their previous hardware, a Genesis+CD+32X all in one. What other impression would you get by looking at it? It's even got a cart slot and a CD drive! Then we found out it really was a new system and not compatible with anything else, too bad for people who invested in those add-ons. Meanwhile what happened to Neptune?

    I didn't even know anything about the Playstation at the time or which system might be easier to program. I just knew I wasn't going to spend hundreds of dollars on Sega's new console when they were already getting a reputation of not supporting their own hardware and the early titles were lacking. Where was the blue hedgehog? The only 5th gen console I bought was the N64, which was a reversal for me since I had favored the Genesis over the SNES.

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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    No one can predict the future but Sega's strategy looked bizarre even in 1995. We had just seen a series of ads for upgrading the Genesis with the 32X or Sega CD and then here comes another brand new Sega console, the first thing my friends and I thought was that the Saturn had to be a consolidation of their previous hardware, a Genesis+CD+32X all in one. What other impression would you get by looking at it? It's even got a cart slot and a CD drive! Then we found out it really was a new system and not compatible with anything else, too bad for people who invested in those add-ons. Meanwhile what happened to Neptune?

    I didn't even know anything about the Playstation at the time or which system might be easier to program. I just knew I wasn't going to spend hundreds of dollars on Sega's new console when they were already getting a reputation of not supporting their own hardware and the early titles were lacking. Where was the blue hedgehog? The only 5th gen console I bought was the N64, which was a reversal for me since I had favored the Genesis over the SNES.
    So, something else Nintendo ripped off from SEGA. A confusing new console. Is it a new add on or a new console? No one is quite sure in 2011 when they unveiled Wii U. Many just thought it was a new controller for Wii.

    Life!? ... What console is that on?



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    Quote Originally Posted by SegataS View Post
    So, something else Nintendo ripped off from SEGA. A confusing new console. Is it a new add on or a new console? No one is quite sure in 2011 when they unveiled Wii U. Many just thought it was a new controller for Wii.
    LOL yes the Wii U is a great comparison, another train wreck of a console launch with confusing marketing. To the Wii U's credit at least it had some very good 1st party titles, the fact that several of them sold millions on the Switch shows the hardware was the real problem.

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    I think the image of the Wii U was already tainted even when it became clear that this was a new console. It was another Wii. Personally, I love the Wii but most did not have a fond perception of it. Another Wii meant another gimmick based and under powered console that wasn't going to get the mainline games. One could draw a parallel to the 32x and Saturn. People thought, oh another 32 bit SEGA console, only it's way more expensive and still doesn't have any strong titles launching with it. Why do I want this? Hey look, the other guys are getting all of the interesting games.

    I imagine the sentiment was quite similar between these two series of console launches.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WarmSignal View Post
    I think the image of the Wii U was already tainted even when it became clear that this was a new console. It was another Wii. Personally, I love the Wii but most did not have a fond perception of it. Another Wii meant another gimmick based and under powered console that wasn't going to get the mainline games. One could draw a parallel to the 32x and Saturn. People thought, oh another 32 bit SEGA console, only it's way more expensive and still doesn't have any strong titles launching with it. Why do I want this? Hey look, the other guys are getting all of the interesting games.

    I imagine the sentiment was quite similar between these two series of console launches.
    That's true. I think the Wii U got a bad reputation because it looked even weaker than it was, especially when it was sold bundled with New Super Mario Bros U. Which isn't a bad game but it's so similar to the other installments in the series it's hardly a reason to buy a new system. There were rumors it was no more powerful than a PS3. If it had launched with Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Smash, BotW etc it might have been different.

    At the time of the Saturn I felt like there were so many tech products coming out I wanted to wait and see what happened. I had just watched the Jaguar, 3DO, CD-i and 32X all fail miserably. PCs were being sold with Pentium processors, CD drives, sound cards and a new OS called "Windows 95", maybe that was going to be the new gaming platform? (Turned out it wasn't, at least not for awhile). So I had no incentive to be an early adopter.

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    Nintendo wii U or xbox one are excellent examples, some users say: Microsoft made mistakes on xbox one or nintendo made mistakes on Wii U.

    No mistakes, just decisions, it's the results that tell you if the company got it right or wrong.

    I have already debated with people who were in favor of DRM / Family sharing and in their view it was positive even for the consumer, but as DRM / Family sharing was demonized by youtubers it is not known what their intentions were in doing so in the end. DRM is gone, so did Sega Saturn, which had its main characteristics demonized by opinion makers.


    Honestly, to this day, I find it unfair to see how Sega Saturn was cornered and as if it was still little to see all the blame being thrown at SEGA in what is today called Sega's mistakes.

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    Listen to the interviews with Kalinkse and Nilsen.....Nakayama ruined the company. He hired Kalinske, praised almost everything he did, all the while he was literally pounding tables and screaming at his Japanese executives. Nintendo never did this. Japan and America worked in perfect cooperation. As a result, the SOJ execs and engineers went out of their way to refuse any outside ideas for the good of the company. The Megadrive was a failure in Japan, while it was gangbusters in North America and Europe. Nakayama would routinely shame his workers over this, real good leadership. Meanwhile, SOA led the company from doormat to champs. How are they rewarded? The immensely profitable Genesis/MD line has support pulled, and SOJ ignores the potential Sony 32-bit partnership. Yes, the Saturn DID become the first and only SEGA console to "win Japan," but it was a disaster everywhere else. Nakayama clearly screwed over Kalinske with the ridiculous early launch. There's no other way to interpret that as a SOJ knife in the back, whether he just went along with it or whatever. That single-handedly ruined the company's stance with retailers in the United States (the most important game market in the world), and they never recovered it. Dreamcast was DOA due to this, despite what people say. You can say what you want about the 32X and SegaCD, blah blah, but a proper 32-bit disc-based system launch would have wiped a lot of that away. Particularly if it were a well supported system like a SEGA Playstation would have been.

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    Launching the Saturn in North America without an NFL game was a huge mistake on its own. Clearly SOA was caught off guard with the launch of the Saturn.
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    N64 took too long to receive an NFL, there is no mistake in that.
    RE1 exclusive on the Playstation did much more harm to Saturn than a NFL, Sega had no game to compete.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    Launching the Saturn in North America without an NFL game was a huge mistake on its own. Clearly SOA was caught off guard with the launch of the Saturn.
    Kalinske infamously was "ordered" to do that Saturn announcement by Nakayama. I wouldn't necessarily point to any one game or series, as Playstation had just as lackluster a launch lineup as Saturn for that first season. Not having ONE platform-based Sonic title seemed absurd though. The problem was that nearly every 3rd party title came out much later on Saturn than Playstation. Now, were there contracts wherein Sony paid the publisher $$$ to get it earlier? Probably. Bigger reason was that Saturn was a horrid system to develop on, which delayed released beyond PSX and PC, not to mention SNES in some cases.

    Following the launch fiasco, SEGA lost a good # of retailers, and there was a quick procession of highly successful talent at SOA out of the company. Several wound up at Sony. The SNES was still going strong at the time, Nintendo didn't let up until the N64 was about 2 years old. That kept publishers and retailers happy, not to mention revenue. Genesis had its cord cut far too early.

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    The original launch date was September wasn't it ? Please tell us what NFL game came out for the Saturn then ? .Not that the Mega Drive or PS2 launched in the USA with a NFL games, but hey never mind.

    Let's all remember the 32X was the 1st system out of SEGA and SONY to get FIFA and Doom

    The fact were SEGA America were too sure the 32x would win and also couldn't handle a sequel to Sonic on their own .

    And Nintendo was ruthless with its America staff , never mind how the poor staff at Nintendo Europe were treated .UK call staff sacked with out even a notice .... In Nintendo the Japanese always call the shots ...
    Last edited by Team Andromeda; 12-31-2019 at 04:26 PM.
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