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Thread: The Saturn Early Launch in North America - Help Me Understand...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leynos View Post
    You do realize the N64 CPU was NEC right?
    It was only manufactured by NEC, they didn't develop the CPU.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    It's not about reading 20 mags, the point was anyone one of them was talking of the Saturn and looking to get any sort of info of it and what it could do, along with the trademark artist impression of what the machine may look like
    You had to be living under a rock not to know of the Saturn or that it was coming out reading any major gaming mag in mid-1994. I also don't know how much real truth was in MS helping SEGA or the silly talk of voice controls.

    And if not for the 32X, SEGA wouldn't have been releasing main hardware close together, the Mega Drive, Mega CD, Game Gear and Master System were hardly new kids on the block by late 1994 and 1995. Though I've always said in 1994 SEGA should dropped all in-house support for its systems and just focus on the Saturn (and of course the Arcade)
    LOL maybe I was under a rock back then. I had a lot going on in my life in 1994. I just kept hearing that the Saturn and Ultra64 were these long off projects, slated for around Christmas 1996. The 32X was supposed to be Sega's next big thing here and I was looking forward to it. Then in fall of '94, first I hear the Saturn is coming out in Japan right now, then the 32X flops out of the gate. I didn't know what to think.

    I wish forums had been a thing back then because I wonder how many other consumers saw it the same way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    LOL maybe I was under a rock back then. I had a lot going on in my life in 1994. I just kept hearing that the Saturn and Ultra64 were these long off projects, slated for around Christmas 1996. The 32X was supposed to be Sega's next big thing here and I was looking forward to it. Then in fall of '94, first I hear the Saturn is coming out in Japan right now, then the 32X flops out of the gate. I didn't know what to think.

    I wish forums had been a thing back then because I wonder how many other consumers saw it the same way.
    Saturn talk started long before any talk of Mars/32X. It was covered widely in most of the mags along with endless talk of the Snes CD drive and I never saw any date given for 1996 for either the N64 or Saturn. Nintendo kept the delay news for as long as it could before it confirmed the news in Autumn 95. Gamefan was the only USA mag I got regularly back in those days and even they were awash with Saturn 1994 launch talk and if you read EDGE/Next Gen, Sega Saturn Mag or Sega Pro would would be in no doubt it was coming fall of 1994, same for the PS in the multi format mags

    Much the same happened with the DC with talk of the system long before it was ever officially shown off and you sort of needed to be under a rock, not to now it was coming in 1998, even if that was one launch SEGA really should have delayed given the issues over GPU supplies.

    And I remember SEGA Mag, CVG, Edge giving a summer Aug 1995 date for the Saturn in the west. It was also talked on the Gamemaster show at the time too. I don't know how much truth was in that date's mind and if it was little more than press speculation and I've never really looked to use it as fact

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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    Saturn talk started long before any talk of Mars/32X. It was covered widely in most of the mags along with endless talk of the Snes CD drive and I never saw any date given for 1996 for either the N64 or Saturn. Nintendo kept the delay news for as long as it could before it confirmed the news in Autumn 95. Gamefan was the only USA mag I got regularly back in those days and even they were awash with Saturn 1994 launch talk and if you read EDGE/Next Gen, Sega Saturn Mag or Sega Pro would would be in no doubt it was coming fall of 1994, same for the PS in the multi format mags

    Much the same happened with the DC with talk of the system long before it was ever officially shown off and you sort of needed to be under a rock, not to now it was coming in 1998, even if that was one launch SEGA really should have delayed given the issues over GPU supplies.

    And I remember SEGA Mag, CVG, Edge giving a summer Aug 1995 date for the Saturn in the west. It was also talked on the Gamemaster show at the time too. I don't know how much truth was in that date's mind and if it was little more than press speculation and I've never really looked to use it as fact
    So I just did a search on Lexis-Nexis... one of the first articles that popped up from August 6, 1994 titled "Nintendo Squares off with Sega: Superpowers waging war of technology to win big by season's end" has this quote:

    In Sega's sweaty palm is 32X: an add-on component to their 16-bit Genesis. The unit is essentially a plug-in adapter that doubles Genesis' capacity to 32-bit, but because it's an add-on, you can still play your old 16-bit cartridges the way you always did.

    Sega is counting on 32X to bring the North American market one step closer to the 64-bit revolution, predicted to be on our shelves by Christmas of '96.
    1996 may have been just a rumor but it was a popular one at the time.

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    Yeah Axel, the article is talking about the N64 having a Christmas of '96 release, which it did. 32X was 32-bit hardware, so when they say joining, they're joining the 64-bit Nintendo console.


    The July 1994 issues of EGM and Gamefan had Saturn, 32X and Playstation content listed on the covers of their respective magazines.



    EGM has a corner tab saying that their are 1st screen shots of Saturn and 32X games. It also has PS-X content being printed at the top edge.




    July 1994 issue of Gamefan has a half dozen Saturn titles listed on the upper left.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    Yeah Axel, the article is talking to the Nintendo Revolution (aka Ultra/N64) as having a Christmas of '96 release, which it did.


    The July 1994 issues of EGM and Gamefan had Saturn, 32X and Playstation content listed on the covers of their respective magazines.



    EGM has a corner tab saying that their are 1st screen shots of Saturn and 32X games. It also has PS-X content being printed at the top edge.




    July 1994 issue of Gamefan has a half dozen Saturn titles listed on the upper left.

    Understood. My point is that I wouldn't have cared when the Saturn came out... if it hadn't been barely six months since Sega released another 32-bit home system. It gave Sega the reputation that they had no idea what they were doing and weren't interested in supporting their own products for the long haul. That's why I say the early launch hurt them.

    Also if they wanted to launch early they still needed a killer app. None of the early Saturn games made me want to rush out to buy one. On the other hand, when I saw Mario 64 or NFL2K I had no problem snapping up an N64 or Dreamcast immediately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    I think all of this is important to point out because your post and the video suggest Sega didn't know what they were doing. I don't think that's the case at all. This game had nothing to do with Sega. This was 100% a Time Warner project. Sega's name is nowhere on it aside from acknowledgement as property copyright holder.
    I don't think it's that Sega didn't know what they were doing. The point is more that it shows just how far behind Sega of America was with supporting third party developers with the Saturn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leynos View Post
    You do realize the N64 CPU was NEC right?
    But the core architecture is a MIPS R4300. So having NEC make Saturn's CPUs doesn't really gain anything over Hitachi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    Understood. My point is that I wouldn't have cared when the Saturn came out... if it hadn't been barely six months since Sega released another 32-bit home system. It gave Sega the reputation that they had no idea what they were doing and weren't interested in supporting their own products for the long haul. That's why I say the early launch hurt them.

    Also if they wanted to launch early they still needed a killer app. None of the early Saturn games made me want to rush out to buy one. On the other hand, when I saw Mario 64 or NFL2K I had no problem snapping up an N64 or Dreamcast immediately.

    I'm really with you on the 32X, but Saturn coverage was in all the main mag's, which is why I always found it silly when some used to make out the Saturn was hidden from SEGA America or how SEGA America didn't have development kits until 1995. Its also funny how Gamefan was going with a early Saturn launch for America too











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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    Understood. My point is that I wouldn't have cared when the Saturn came out... if it hadn't been barely six months since Sega released another 32-bit home system. It gave Sega the reputation that they had no idea what they were doing and weren't interested in supporting their own products for the long haul. That's why I say the early launch hurt them.

    Also if they wanted to launch early they still needed a killer app. None of the early Saturn games made me want to rush out to buy one. On the other hand, when I saw Mario 64 or NFL2K I had no problem snapping up an N64 or Dreamcast immediately.
    I don't think that the early launch did all that much to hurt their reputation with consumers, but it did with retailers and 3rd party publishers who felt snubbed by Sega.

    I leave it on the consumer that bought a 32X and acted like they didn't know it was doomed. I saw the Saturn and PlayStation and thought that the 32X looked lame in comparison. I guess those 300K plus people that bought it on day one felt burnt, but I don't think that it made a bit of difference to those that never paid for one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    I'm really with you on the 32X, but Saturn coverage was in all the main mag's, which is why I always found it silly when some used to make out the Saturn was hidden from SEGA America or how SEGA America didn't have development kits until 1995. Its also funny how Gamefan was going with a early Saturn launch for America too
    Right. I knew the Saturn was coming, that part wasn't a mystery, I just had no idea it was going to come so close to the 32X. At no point in 1994 did Sega tell anyone "we're about to launch another Genesis add-on with its own library of games, but then we'll launch an entire console six months later". As soon as the 32X was announced it seemed like the Saturn was still a long ways off, because no consolemaker had ever introduced another generation of hardware so soon. In fact if you go back to fall of '94 there were SoA executives already talking up a mid-1995 Neptune at a sub-$200 price point, as well as an adapter to run 32X games on the Saturn when it launched.

    To launch one product, then immediately can it and move on to another is suicidal for any company. I can't even think of a comparable example. It would be like if Sony had introduced the Blu-Ray, early adopters buy players and discs and then six months later they launch Red-Ray and drop any mention of Blu. Consumers would be livid.

    Also those magazines you posted did Sega no favors. If I'm just reading a spec sheet then the N64 sounds unbeatable with that 100 MHz CPU. Of course what it leaves out is that the N64 would be plagued by expensive games, limited capacity, small textures and blurry AA. That it still had a good library in spite of all that shows that it's not specs that matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    I don't think that the early launch did all that much to hurt their reputation with consumers, but it did with retailers and 3rd party publishers who felt snubbed by Sega.

    I leave it on the consumer that bought a 32X and acted like they didn't know it was doomed. I saw the Saturn and PlayStation and thought that the 32X looked lame in comparison. I guess those 300K plus people that bought it on day one felt burnt, but I don't think that it made a bit of difference to those that never paid for one.
    Yes but those 300k (or 600k by year's end) were the die hard supporters who Sega needed to boost Saturn sales.

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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    Right. I knew the Saturn was coming, that part wasn't a mystery, I just had no idea it was going to come so close to the 32X. At no point in 1994 did Sega tell anyone "we're about to launch another Genesis add-on with its own library of games, but then we'll launch an entire console six months later". As soon as the 32X was announced it seemed like the Saturn was still a long ways off, because no consolemaker had ever introduced another generation of hardware so soon. In fact if you go back to fall of '94 there were SoA executives already talking up a mid-1995 Neptune at a sub-$200 price point, as well as an adapter to run 32X games on the Saturn when it launched.
    I don't get you. Usually, when a console maker shows off it's new console, the plan is to launch it soon, not some 2 to 3 year's down the line and the 32X was always down as an Add-On to the Mega Drive
    Come the June Tokyo game show 1994 when SEGA was showing Saturn games that were playable and giving a Fall 1994 date, it really couldn't have been more clear.

    SEGA West thought the price would be too much and looked the 32X to actually become the best selling 32-Bit system. I don't recall much if any talk of a Neptune in 1994, I only heard that talk in Jan/Feb 1995 and if there was early talk it was always made clear was it was a MD/32X combo, nothing to do with Saturn.


    I had and have no time for the 32X, but it was clear the Saturn was coming to Japan in 1995 and the west in 1995, almost any gaming mag worth their salt was reporting it. I agree with you on the 32X. Forget consumers being confused, developers were, in what system they should back the most sadly for some they backed the 32X and got pissed off with SEGA and left them, like quite a lot of SEGA fans.

    The 32X was an almighty clock up. I so wish SEGA went with the original plan of the Jupiter, very much like how MS went with the Series S and X
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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post



    Yes but those 300k (or 600k by year's end) were the die hard supporters who Sega needed to boost Saturn sales.
    No, the Die Hard Supporters (In North America) got the Saturn in May of 1995(if they had one in their area) and didn't waste their savings on a 32X.


    I skipped on the 32X, until I saw it at the Toys R' Us bargain bin selling for $19.99. A good portion of those 600K 32X units were sold in 1995, collected dust and were clearanced out. The 32X didn't sell well enough to burn millions of potential Saturn buyers. The Saturn's issues were way beyond that.
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    https://forums.sonicretro.org/index....ly-2011.32913/

    I found this old Tom Kalinske interview that also sheds some light on the topic. He seems to downplay the friction between Japan and the USA.
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    The Playstation would've smashed the Saturn in the United States with or without the early launch and with or without the 32x. Thinking otherwise is delusional. Better hardware. Much better software. Much stronger 3rd party support. SquareSoft. One look at Ridge Racer and Tekken compared to Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA is all you needed to see to make your decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    SEGA West thought the price would be too much and looked the 32X to actually become the best selling 32-Bit system. I don't recall much if any talk of a Neptune in 1994, I only heard that talk in Jan/Feb 1995 and if there was early talk it was always made clear was it was a MD/32X combo, nothing to do with Saturn.
    It was Paul Rioux who talked up both the Neptune (as a combined Genesis/32X) and mythical 32X->Saturn adapter before either system had even launched. When neither of these things happened and the 32X was killed after mere months, it gave me the impression Sega had no plan and were simply flying by the seat of their pants.

    But I can see from this thread and the poll that I'm probably in the minority with this view, maybe it wasn't as widespread as I thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus View Post
    The Playstation would've smashed the Saturn in the United States with or without the early launch and with or without the 32x. Thinking otherwise is delusional. Better hardware. Much better software. Much stronger 3rd party support. SquareSoft. One look at Ridge Racer and Tekken compared to Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA is all you needed to see to make your decision.
    Agreed. Software is king.

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