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

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    Did you see Virtua Fighter in motion? I guess I could see someone not thinking it's an improvement if you just see it in a magazine, but seriously:

    The animation is so gorgeous! So smooth and fluid compared to sprite graphics. In motion, I don't get a sense of blockiness - it really looks like a good approximation of two realistic figures fighting.

    I find it a bit hard to imagine anyone seeing that in 1993 and dismissing it as "ugh, blockiness". I really think it's one of the greatest and most influential leaps in video game graphics ever made. And it came out just two years after Street Fighter II.
    I give Sega all the credit in the world for being willing to try something new but to me it still felt more like a tech demo than a polished fighting game. I just didn't think 3D was there yet. A few years later, playing Soulcaliber on my Dreamcast... now that was a different experience. But I'm biased toward 2D fighters, in general I think they control better and I usually find it easier to pull off combos.

    Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    I'd have to say that the Jaguar, 3DS, 3DO and Turbo Grafx-16 and had much worse titles at launch.
    Don't forget the CD-i. Phillips touted it as this revolutionary device that would replace your game console, multimedia PC, VCR, etc. What did it have at launch? A couple of edutainment titles and Connect Four?

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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    It was just the killer app the Switch needed in its early days.
    Let's just remember it was a Wii U port a game you could happily play on your home Nintendo console. The Switch launch lineup wasn't good at all, but it didn't matter. It's like with so much of the Saturn, it's wrong for SEGA or the Saturn but didn't matter for other systems or corps, be that being hard to programme for, launch hardware at a high price to your rivals, number of launch titles, major sport games ready at launch, incomplete development kits and every other excuse used to bash the Saturn with, but ok if you're MS, Sony or Nintendo.

    I think people overlook just how poor the Mega Drive launch software was in Japan and it wasn't great for the Sega Genesis, it took until the Mega Drive launch in Pal land to have a number of qualty titles on day one.

    It depends on people's tastes. Samurai Shodown II had just come out for Neo Geo, a game with beautiful, hand drawn pixel art.... versus the blocky characters of Saturn Virtua Fighter. For the life of me I could not see how this was supposed to represent an improvement.
    I actually liked Xmen: COTA more than any fighter at the time and it's still my fav fighter, truth be told. With VF it was those 3D graphics and more so the animation that was the standout, they moved and animated like humans, it was like watching a Jackie Chan movie in real time, more so with those sweeping kicks and you see the character spin 360 degree's and crash on the floor and to this day I'm sure Lau was based on Snake in the Eagle's Shadow Hwang Jang-lee character

    Its was the same for racers, I didn't like RR much wasn't the biggest fan of Virtual Racing in the Arcades, but their graphics blew away the likes of Outrunners and where 2D scaling sprits looked old hat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Black_Tiger View Post
    Virtua Fighter Remix was released for STV in April 1995. SOA should have been negotiating with SOJ to get a home version asap and packed it in with every Saturn from the early launch onward. During the Playstation launch they should have ran ads with side by side comparisons of VFR and Tekken.
    Yes, I agree. I mean SOA were able to get Sega Rally 1st before Japan or Pal land and like I said I just can't understand why SOA didn't look to leave the early launch for late July or Aug when the likes of Bug and ClockworkKnight 2 were ready to go. I think people are deluding themselves if SEGA would have done any better launching at the same time as the PS in the West.


    I just feel SEGA West didn't really want to push the Saturn at all in the west during 1995, they were all in love with the 32X and simply had no plan B. So much of their time money and developer support was put in the to the 32X.
    I will say that SEGA's America E3 1996 was a much better showing and you could see the different when SEGA was all behind the Saturn, shame it was too late and the damage was done, with so many just leaving SEGA and going to SONY and add in a lack of Sonic on the Saturn and it was a killer blow
    Last edited by Team Andromeda; 08-10-2022 at 04:27 AM.
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  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Andromeda View Post
    Let's just remember it was a Wii U port a game you could happily play on your home Nintendo console. The Switch launch lineup wasn't good at all, but it didn't matter. It's like with so much of the Saturn, it's wrong for SEGA or the Saturn but didn't matter for other systems or corps, be that being hard to programme for, launch hardware at a high price to your rivals, number of launch titles, major sport games ready at launch, incomplete development kits and every other excuse used to bash the Saturn with, but ok if you're MS, Sony or Nintendo.
    Sure, Breath of the Wild was released on both platforms and some people did buy it for Wii U, myself included... but the key thing here is that it was still one of the best games Nintendo had made in years. Six years later it still has a huge community of players and its sequel will almost certainly be a launch title for Nintendo's next console. The Saturn never got anything comparable.

    Those other things you mentioned did matter for other consoles too. The PS3 underperformed because the architecture was difficult to use and it was expensive to produce, at least initially. Nintendo has had a number of well-publicized failures over the years. I don't come here to bash any system it's more about looking at why some succeed and others don't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    Sure, Breath of the Wild was released on both platforms and some people did buy it for Wii U, myself included... but the key thing here is that it was still one of the best games Nintendo had made in years. Six years later it still has a huge community of players and its sequel will almost certainly be a launch title for Nintendo's next console.
    It wasn't exclusive and was just a simple port of a Wii U game a game would could play on your Nintendo consoles . The Saturn on day one had a port of one of the most advanced Arcade games around with VF. The PS3 didn't underperform at all, its Pal, Japan and USA launches were a complete sell-out, despite the high price. Its a utter myth that high price or being hard to programme for, hurts consoles sales as the PS2 and PS3 proved.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6135452.stm

    https://www.gamesindustry.biz/retail...ver-ps3-launch
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    I'm enjoying this recent interview with Tom Kalinske.

    He was asked what his plan would have been if he weren't forced to release the Saturn in May but could instead release it in September.

    His answer:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kalinske
    Let's have the proper amount of sports titles, let's have the proper amount of racing titles, let's have the proper amount of fighting titles, and RPGs and strategy games on the Saturn by the fall, and launch in that manner. And keep doing that year after year after year. And be very aggressive against our friends at Sony.
    All I can think: Where were all of those games going to come from, and how did launching four months early cause them to disappear?!

    I think it's safe to conclude that nothing would have changed in regards to the Saturn's fate if it had been launched in September instead of May.

    Saying otherwise is just distracting from the real issue: Saturn support needed to be implemented far earlier, and the 32X should never have been considered.

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    Honestly don't think it was the surprise launch. Just think Sega needed a proper NFL game in 1995.

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    Kalinske, just like Reggie for Nintendo, are marketers.
    They sell the products but don't understand the production side of it and tend to deflect criticism with bullshits, hoping people believe them.

    What's not often talked is that SoA overreliance on sports games and famous stars' endorsement was a double edged sword.
    If it helped in the short period during the Sega Genesis period (the sport genre was always one of the most popular in North America), it became a liability on the long run because such games had lower profit margins (due to licensing costs) and was exposed to competition by new entrants with enough cash to buy licenses.
    Sega of America marketshare in US in the sport genre collapsed from 1995 to 1998 meanwhile SCEA marketshare raised to second spot behind EA.
    Only with Visual Concept sport games on Dreamcast, which in turn alienated EA support, SoA martketshare in the sport genre raised again.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Deathscythe View Post
    Honestly don't think it was the surprise launch. Just think Sega needed a proper NFL game in 1995.
    I was thinking this, too. Sony had NFL Gameday late in 95. (EDIT - or was it early 96? Not sure now...) It seemed to be extremely popular in NA. It was a really fun game too, and I recall it getting rave reviews in the mags. Sega Sports NFL 97 (an embarrassingly poor effort) and Madden 97 (IMO an awesome game) finally came out Autumn 1996 on Saturn.

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    NFL Gameday came out in the fall of 1995. I got a PlayStation, that November, just to play NFL Gameday, Destruction Derby and War Hawk.
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    Sega Sports NFL 97 wasn't even a Saturn exclusive as I recall. It got released on the PS1 as Jimmy Johnson's VR Football 98.

    I think SOA just purchased the publishing rights to a game that was already in development. Probably, at that point, they were so bereft of good software they took what they could get.

    That example, more than anything else, illustrates how out of control the internal software development situation had become at SOA.

    SOA had produced and published a football game every year on the Genesis from 1990 to 1995 (and two per year in 94 and 95). The Saturn comes out and... nothing for an incredible 1.5 years. Then, they buy up publishing rights to an outside-developed game (with the developer GameTek keeping rights) and slap their brand on it.

    Sony, meanwhile, has NFL GameDay ready to go for the PlayStation almost from day 1.

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    Technically, SOA didn't produce the 1st Joe Montana Football. It was actually created by the same team that had made Madden.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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    Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    Technically, SOA didn't produce the 1st Joe Montana Football. It was actually created by the same team that had made Madden.
    Sega produced it - they didn't develop it. That means Sega paid EA and told them specifically what to add to the game. Production refers to managing the project. SOA didn't do much in-house development. It produced titles with outside developers and published them. The first Joe Montana game was a weird case, but I'd still say Sega produced it (or co-produced it) given their involvement in licensing and altering it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Folco View Post
    Kalinske, just like Reggie for Nintendo, are marketers.
    They sell the products but don't understand the production side of it and tend to deflect criticism with bullshits, hoping people believe them.
    That's salespeople for you, take all the credit for the good and look to deflect any criticism and blame others for all the bad, a bit like a footy manager really.
    If I was to defend SOA a little, it wasn't like having an NFL game was seen as make or break for your console, before the PS It wasn't like the previous consoles had NFL games ready for day 1 and maybe SEGA was thinking EA would be there with Madden 96 and to take it's time?

    I don't believe people were buying a PSX solely for Gameday, I think it was a combination of hype, the fact that SONY was making a console (that alone was massive) and how SONY was able to show off good software on day 1 and also what was coming ( A bit like the DC US launch) . The trouble for SEGA America was they had no Sonic game to show was in production or any Joe Montana in production, that they could say and the show was coming to at least get some user's interest you know like when buying a 360, you knew Forza 2 and Halo 3 were coming, or who would see what was coming soon on the back of a console box. There was no of that, with key IP like Sonic and Joe Montana.

    It's such a shame too because other than F1 & Cricket. The Saturn was an ace sports system with IMO still to this day the best Baseball, Track and Field and Ice Hockey games ever made (to this day) and some really nice footy games too. It's always overlooked but some Saturn sports games support 8 to 12 player modes which was nuts for the time and huge, huge fun, with a gang of drunken mates.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    I'm enjoying this recent interview with Tom Kalinske.
    Enjoyable listening.

    I was taken aback when that guy said that it's apparent now that if Sega followed Kalinske's advices Saturn could have succeded.
    Adults can't be that naive, right?
    Sega was in a terribly weak position to compete and Sony was actively screwing up everybody else, not only by having far bigger resources but also by changing the rules of the game.

    Interviewers should have asked Kalinske if, in hindsight, he thought aggressively competing for marketshare disregarding profitability was a good move for Sega's long term prospect and why the software production houses SoA built were so inconclusive for the production of first-party key software.
    Or what he thought of the terrible waste of resources and time the 32X was.

    Casual observers always wonder how it was possible for Sega's consumer business to hit its peak and going out of business in a short span of 7-8 years.
    The reason is that Sega was more focused on short term gains and to be competitive with rivals than to build a strong foundation that could help the company to weather a storm if it would suddenly arise (as it happened).

  15. #105
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    Yeah, Mega Drive was built on Sonic and Sports and Sega of America dropped the ball on Saturn.

    Sega of Japan was propping up Sega Sports on Saturn for themselves. I love Worldwide Soccer!

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