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Atari XE Game System sales?


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#1 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:20 AM

A few years ago, Curt uncovered Atari Corp's figures for the 2600jr and 7800. 

 

Were XE Game System figures ever located?

 

The only sales figure I ever saw for this machine was:

 

https://www.atarimag...arketplace.html

 



#2 SS OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:08 AM

My understanding is 100,000 units produced, all shipped and eventually sold.

#3 zetastrike OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:55 AM

Was the XEGS something that had any appeal when it was new?  It had a large back catalog of games and software, but most of it was older and the 7800, SMS, NES, and C64 were offering a current gen experience.  And a 65XE or 130XE would have been a lot less cumbersome of an object.  



#4 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:00 AM

My understanding is 100,000 units produced, all shipped and eventually sold.

 

I read that at the end of 1987, but what about 1988 and 1989?



#5 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:01 AM

Was the XEGS something that had any appeal when it was new?  It had a large back catalog of games and software, but most of it was older and the 7800, SMS, NES, and C64 were offering a current gen experience.  And a 65XE or 130XE would have been a lot less cumbersome of an object.  

 

Atari's hope was they'd get more distribution for the XEGS than they had been getting for the 130XE/65XE

 

In Canada, I only ever saw them (briefly) at Zellers for one Christmas season, though I saw the software at Toys R Us and Toy City


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#6 DrVenkman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:05 AM

Was the XEGS something that had any appeal when it was new?  It had a large back catalog of games and software, but most of it was older and the 7800, SMS, NES, and C64 were offering a current gen experience.  And a 65XE or 130XE would have been a lot less cumbersome of an object.  

 

This topic has been discussed to death in many "[system] versus [system]" threads over the decades since, but the XEGS was priced cheaply, and that large back catalog had some appeal to Atari fans, in particularly, especially budget conscious ones who'd probably grown up on the 2600 but never gotten a computer or any sort of higher-end game system. 

 

That said, it was typical of Tramiel-era Atari Corp.: low-budget, not particularly high build quality, priced to move. That about sums it up. Not a huge seller but it moved old game inventory and production inventory of A8 ICs - POKEYs, ANTIC, GTIA and SALLY chips, not to mention standard 6520 PIA chips, were sitting in tubes or in production queues in Asian fabs and needed to be sold to get off the books as overhead and expenses.



#7 zetastrike OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:14 AM

 

This topic has been discussed to death in many "[system] versus [system]" threads over the decades since, but the XEGS was priced cheaply, and that large back catalog had some appeal to Atari fans, in particularly, especially budget conscious ones who'd probably grown up on the 2600 but never gotten a computer or any sort of higher-end game system. 

 

That said, it was typical of Tramiel-era Atari Corp.: low-budget, not particularly high build quality, priced to move. That about sums it up. Not a huge seller but it moved old game inventory and production inventory of A8 ICs - POKEYs, ANTIC, GTIA and SALLY chips, not to mention standard 6520 PIA chips, were sitting in tubes or in production queues in Asian fabs and needed to be sold to get off the books as overhead and expenses.

 

I'm not dumping on it, I think it would have been a great deal for someone who wanted an 8bit and missed out before, or wanted to side-door another game system into their house by telling their parents they could do homework on it, or just preferred computer style gaming to the console stuff.  There was a lot of good software already available, much of it probably cheap.  


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#8 davidcalgary29 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:19 PM

But there was not alot of good, cheap software readily available for the system, and especially in North America. By 1987-88, the NTSC market had been effectively dead for two years and you could not find anything except from a few dedicated Atari dealers. The XEGS carts were the first high quality arcade games I had seen in years (I bought them all), but the casual noob gamer would not really have known about the huge catalogue or even where to find a 1050. Much of the A8 library was also very dated by that point, and in the case of existing A8 cartridge games (which was the focus of this system) pretty rudimentary and uncompetitive with its 8 or 16K ROM carts. Its not like Toys R Us was going to stock old Roklan or Imagic carts to satisfy the hordes.
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#9 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:30 PM

 

That said, it was typical of Tramiel-era Atari Corp.: low-budget, not particularly high build quality, priced to move. That about sums it up. Not a huge seller but it moved old game inventory and production inventory of A8 ICs - POKEYs, ANTIC, GTIA and SALLY chips, not to mention standard 6520 PIA chips, were sitting in tubes or in production queues in Asian fabs and needed to be sold to get off the books as overhead and expenses.

Logically, this can be the only answer. Slap "compatible with the XEGS" stickers on old stock 8-bit cartridges, and all the rest. Otherwise, if it had really been an attempt to get back into the console market in any significant way, they would have released an STGS 16-bit system and could have beat the Megadrive/Genesis and SNES to market, But the Tramiels really only cared about the ST line...until the writing was on the wall in the early 90's and the PC market saturation, then they decide to really turn back to consoles with the Jaguar, but far too late with out capital to pull it off.



#10 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:41 PM

oh Atari was flush with cash... make no mistake about it.... Tramiel had other plans.

Are you even aware of how much cash was on hand at the time of the JTS reverse merger?

I sometimes wonder where the information gets lost..


Edited by _The Doctor__, Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:41 PM.


#11 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:45 PM

oh Atari was flush with cash... make no mistake about it.... Tramiel had other plans.

Are you even aware of how much cash was on hand at the time of the JTS reverse merger?

I sometimes wonder where the information gets lost..

 

Not really. Not when you consider Sony's half billion dollar marketing budget and how much Nintendo and Microsoft and Sega were also spending on their systems. 



#12 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:48 PM

just run an infomercial.... and some stuff on qvc etc. at the time even if you make a dollar off of each sale your rich!



#13 Level42 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:16 PM

I had been playing my 1040STfm for about 2 years when the XEGS arrived.....it was like seeing the 2600jr. released when I ran my A8 system.....I couldn't understand there was still marktet for old technology like that anymore....

Edited by Level42, Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:17 PM.


#14 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:13 PM

Logically, this can be the only answer. Slap "compatible with the XEGS" stickers on old stock 8-bit cartridges, and all the rest. Otherwise, if it had really been an attempt to get back into the console market in any significant way, they would have released an STGS 16-bit system and could have beat the Megadrive/Genesis and SNES to market, But the Tramiels really only cared about the ST line...until the writing was on the wall in the early 90's and the PC market saturation, then they decide to really turn back to consoles with the Jaguar, but far too late with out capital to pull it off.

 

I distinctly remember this being what Kaybee Toys did for a time with the Atari 8-bit stuff. Shortly after the XEGS release they had the front clearance bins stocked with a lot of older Atari 8-bit software that was no doubt primarily targeted to new owners.



#15 Cafeman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:42 PM

Only 100k sold? I feel lucky to own one then. But I wasn't aware of its existence BITD. Can't recall ever seeing one, or any ads for it.

#16 jhd OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:48 PM

In Canada, I only ever saw them (briefly) at Zellers for one Christmas season, though I saw the software at Toys R Us and Toy City

 

I never saw the XEGS at retail here in Canada, but I do remember seeing them sold on The Shopping Club -- at least briefly. I have no recollection of the price or other details. 



#17 suspicious_milk OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:25 PM

They sold 100k units just during it's first Christmas season, alone.

 

https://www.atarimag...arketplace.html

 

The XEGS was a success; for what Atari wanted it to do.



#18 DrVenkman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:56 PM

I have a hard time accepting that 100K figure, especially considering the 1200XL, which was only in production for about 7 months, is widely reported to have sold about 225,000 or so (and a number of active here on AA have more than one!). Surely the lower-priced XEGS was made in greater numbers.



#19 x=usr(1536) OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:12 PM

I have a hard time accepting that 100K figure, especially considering the 1200XL, which was only in production for about 7 months, is widely reported to have sold about 225,000 or so (and a number of active here on AA have more than one!). Surely the lower-priced XEGS was made in greater numbers.

 

My guess would put the number closer to 200,000.

 

I'm including European sales in this.  In the 1987-1989 timeframe, there was a last-gasp 8-bit sales burst in Europe, largely driven by price.  By '89 it was more or less finished, but '87 and '88 did have something of a bubble in that regard.

 

In mid- to late-1988 I can recall seeing XEGS systems being sold with the keyboard and XC212 tape drive as a bundle for the equivalent of around US$129, and seeing new users turning up at users' group meetings with them.



#20 tkarner OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:30 PM

In the summer of 1988, while on summer break from college, I had a job at Toys R Us at the corporate flagship store in Paramus NJ selling video games. In that nearly four month period, console sales broke down like this: Roughly 80% NES, 20% Sega. If memory serves, I sold exactly one 7800 to a guy in his mid 20s who specifically wanted to play classic arcade games (perhaps the first retro gamer?). We stocked the XEGS. Didn't sell one. 



#21 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:43 PM

In the summer of 1988, while on summer break from college, I had a job at Toys R Us at the corporate flagship store in Paramus NJ selling video games. In that nearly four month period, console sales broke down like this: Roughly 80% NES, 20% Sega. If memory serves, I sold exactly one 7800 to a guy in his mid 20s who specifically wanted to play classic arcade games (perhaps the first retro gamer?). We stocked the XEGS. Didn't sell one. 

 

Interesting anecdotes, but "What I sold as one sales guy over a summer in one store, in one market" doesn't necessarily translate statistically overall. 



#22 tkarner OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:00 PM

 

Interesting anecdotes, but "What I sold as one sales guy over a summer in one store, in one market" doesn't necessarily translate statistically overall. 

 

Of course my story is anecdotal. But when the biggest store of the largest retailer in the biggest market fails to move a single unit for 1/3 of 1988, that's telling.



#23 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:42 AM

You were in the high end flag ship store, that says it all.

 

The kay bee and toys r' us around here sold plenty to to those blue collar hard working people. Girlfriend at the time's brother, who clearly didn't know much about me, tried to show off his purchase to me. His sister looked at him and giggled... then she explained it to him. I supplied him with some goodies.


Edited by _The Doctor__, Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:43 AM.


#24 suspicious_milk OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:53 AM

1200XL was very entering the home computer market; a fairly new market. It's positioned as the flagship of this new market. It's biggest competitor being Commodore.

The XEGS was entering the game console market; an established market. It's positioned as a risk/transition product, along side the 2600jr, 7800, and ST. It's biggest competitor is Nintendo.

Guessing numbers based off what you think should be, is pointless. Very complex markets and different situations with different folks in charge.

The XEGS was a greater success than the 1200XL; but it had a much lower bar.

#25 SS OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:19 AM

Where's Curt? I know that he's busy soldering away these days but I feel that he would have a fairly informed answer right off the top of his head.




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