I maintain that if Coleco had properly executed on their vision of the Adam computer - if it had been released at a price $200 less; if it had been rock-solid reliable, our conversation about ColecoVision would be radically altered. A dedicated word processor system with a letter-quality printer, that was also a general-purpose computer, and an arcade-graphics quality home game console, all for less than $550... ...that would have been killer in 1983.
Even if the game titles available for the CV had continued to be mediocre throughout 1984, hundreds of thousands of families who'd started out with a CV for Christmas in '83, would have upgraded to the full computer system for Christmas of '84, and that would have kept CV sales alive for hundreds of thousands more. Additional expansion options would have been inevitable; new floppy-drives, dedicated higher resolution monitors, memory expansion, and so-on. Computers were crazy expensive back then; getting into a very basic IBM or clone PC system with floppies and a printer required thousands of dollars. Even a fully expanded TRS-80 system with memory, floppies, and a letter-quality printer was thousands of dollars.
The strategy of starting out with something useful for a few hundred dollars; a ColecoVision console, and then growing it into a full system for a few hundred more dollars at a time, was brilliant. But the marketing side promised more than the engineering could deliver. Coleco should have recognized that if a technology company like Texas Instruments was having so much trouble getting the right mix of technology and economy, this move of a toy company into technology was overly ambitious. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. I suspect that the thinking at Coleco was somewhere along the lines of, "To have any hope of winning the race, you've got to be in the starting blocks before the gun goes off".
Edited by almightytodd, Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:17 AM.