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Its 1993, you're in charge of the Jag, what do you do?

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I would update that page to include the info that that MicroBox is cited in Sony's PS2 patents which is no surprise since the later PS2 case turned on its side does resemble the MicroBox.

 

That's elsewhere on the site I believe. But yes, many of the people over at SCEA at the time were ex-Atari people (from Inc. and Corp.)

 

Looking back, it may have been foolish that they didn't release that ST Game System way back when,

 

There were working on one back then actually. That morphed in to the Panther which morphed in to the Jaguar.

 

If I recall, the XE Game System's main purpose was to encourage the game companies to not stop developing software for the XE line since they had pretty much made the XE the scapegoat for the industry's piracy problem....

 

It was their attempt to do the 5200 "right", while using up the large stores of 8-bit software and such.

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Unfortunately for the Tramiels, they got seriously hosed on the Jaguar system by their developers who used the platform more as a learning tool, then to produce good quality games.

I always felt that was the major downfall of the Jaguar, more so than all the technical issues that us technical types like to harp on.

 

I was actually a teenage intern at a game company in the Jaguar's heyday and I perfectly matched your description! But thanks to good business leadership, I was prevented from working on the Jaguar. (Of course, I still play with it in my free time... I don't mind negative profits like those boring old suits...) :D

 

Back in 1994, I harassed my boss to start a Jaguar project, and after enough dodging, he took me aside and tried to gently introduce me to Business Reality. No well-managed company would partner with Atari, he explained. They were too small, too fragile, had too few marketing dollars to make any impact. Sega and Nintendo were actively courting partners, and Sony was rumored to be pouring billions of dollars on 3rd parties.

 

The other consoles promised C, they promised reusable assets, ease of development, cost-efficient multiplatform releases, PC-like file systems, virtually unlimited storage, etc... (Not all of them delivered, of course...)

 

Meanwhile, the Jaguar insanely boasted, 'Be a man! Devote yourself to weird non-standard tools, invest in thousands of lines of assembly for a RISC you will NEVER see again, tickle strange new registers in an architecture unlike anybody else's! And don't forget to design all your art for CRY, RGB is dead! Spend weeks counting bytes in ROM, like it's 1990 again! Design your own file system for our CD! This is what real men do!'

 

Seriously, I'm still a huge Jaguar fan, but it makes me shake my head to imagine the Jaguar in 1994 from the perspective of an experienced adult in the computer industry.

 

In my opinion, Atari ended up with young ambitious inexperienced students because people experienced in the industry knew better. I don't blame Atari. I don't think they knew much about the game industry in the 90s.

 

- KS

 

Folks, this comment from kskunk is the most insightful post in this entire thread. I doubt much more can be said.

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Folks, this comment from kskunk is the most insightful post in this entire thread. I doubt much more can be said.

 

+1 for sure. Only thing I was going to add was the comment he made at the very end... about Atari not knowing the gaming industry in the 90's. That's very much true about the late 80's as well ;) lol

 

Seemed Atari didn't know jack or really even care much about video gaming after the Tramiels paraded in.

Edited by save2600

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Folks, this comment from kskunk is the most insightful post in this entire thread. I doubt much more can be said.

+1 for sure. Only thing I was going to add was the comment he made at the very end... about Atari not knowing the gaming industry in the 90's. That's very much true about the late 80's as well ;) lol

Seemed Atari didn't know jack or really even care much about video gaming after the Tramiels paraded in.

 

 

 

Just amend the comment to read "The Tramiels knew nothing of the gaming industry" in any decade.

 

Sam Tramiel's comments at the shareholder's meeting asserting the JagCD would be as successful as the Commodore 1541 Disk Drive was with the C64 pretty much crystalized that in my mind.

 

 

This universe sucks. We live on Earth-2 or something. I'm sure on Earth Prime, Atari never failed and is still a company that dominates the video game and computer industries and the Tramiels are merely involved in real estate in West Chester.

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In my opinion, Atari ended up with young ambitious inexperienced students because people experienced in the industry knew better. I don't blame Atari. I don't think they knew much about the game industry in the 90s.

Guys like John Carmak being the exception. ;)

 

-----

What I meant earlier was that it was a shame that the Panther work didn't get incorporated into the STe, and then of course later, the Jaguar development with the Sparrow/Falcon.

Remember that the STe predates the Panther, but again, I already mentioned that the Panther is ill suited for pretty much anything other than a design stepping stone to the Jaguar.

 

Looking back, it may have been foolish that they didn't release that ST Game System way back when, but then again, thanks to the Reagan Administration's last ditch effort with anti-dumping restrictions on imported DRAM, prices went through the roof and Atari and Commodore equally shifted their focus on the European market which did not enact similar provisions - surprisingly - on DRAM.

Huh, so that's the reson for the jump in DRAM prices ~1988 http://phe.rockefeller.edu/LogletLab/DRAM/dram.htm That would put foreigh products at an advantage unless some surcharge was added there as well. (except game consoles weren't using DRAM usually, so that wouldn't matter, a lot of mixes of SRAM, PSRAM, and VRAM, up to SNES which did use DRAM for main memory, but a lot of SRAM too)

 

However, I'm not sure how good an idea of an ST game system derivative would have been though. The standard ST was not a very good design to work with and the STe came in 1989, so it wouldn't have a head start over the Genesis, and would barely have one over the SNES. As long as it was profitable (no matter how limited the success was) it might have been good in the sense that it kept them in the video game scene.

The blitter did predate the STe, so it could have come a bit earlier, they'd just need to go another route for sound. (FM synthesis could be a good option -even the same chip the Genesis used -which has the direct 8-bit DAC feature as well -which the MD poorly exploited due to the odd decision to not connect the 68k orZ80 interupt lines to it)

It would have had to be cost competitive with the other consoles too though. (definitely a better option than the Panther at any rate)

 

Going by the site I linked to above, DRAM does reasonable enough for a 1988 ST based console. (DRAM is much cheaper compared to a lot of what's in the other 4th generation consoles, even in much smaller quantities) With ROM cartridges used for games, they might have gotten away with 256 kB, but 512 kB would have been nice. Plus, you mentioned Europe was free of such restrictions anyway, and Europe could be a good outlet for the product in general. (not limited to that of course, but I'd not bother with Japan)

One side effect could have been more ST games taking advantage of the BLiTTER. (ports from the console)

 

As for the Tramiels, it would seem like they weren't totally innocent when it came to the Jag. As many have said, had they chosen the 020 instead of the 68000 to be in the machine, it would've alleviated quite a bit of the problems.
Not to mention jokes for development tools including a broken RISC compiler. (plus the hardware bugs on top of using the 68k -which made good tools all the more important)

 

 

But the Lynx had a 16Mhz 6502 processor.... :)

Where's that from? (everything I remember reading mentioned 3.6 or 4 MHz)

 

But that would've made no sense. Atari Corp. had already shut down the computer division so if they spun off the Jaguar "division" as a separate IPO, then what good would Atari Corp. shares be... for a split of the $50 million in the bank they had at the time? I guess Atari Corp. could've been made into a holding company for all the IP.

Here's the original posts:

OK.on Topic. Since stock speculation was so great at the time Atari should have spun off Jaguar as a different company. Told the public Jag was the next great thing.(Internet Gaming) and done a great big IPO (as many did) (Amazon didn't make money for years). Then used the cash ala Microsoft not only to advertise but to purchase a well known software maker or two. Maybe from 3rd party Sega or a certain company that calls itself Atari now. ;)

 

Can't be worse than it turned out.

Something along those lines or an independent company since Atari had sullied it's rep a bit. There were many scam IPO's in the 90's. Why not a good IPO like the jag. Jaguar Corp. if you will.Selling it as made by IBM wouldnt hurt either.Remember this is marketing we are talking about. Also the internet marketing aspect would have to be added. As you will remember people invested heavily on speculation that anything internet related was going to be the next great thing. In other word 2 companies. If successful Jag corp now owning a couple good developers and having success in the marketplace buys Atari for $1 and now one company again or just an asset purchase.Atari could be used to market legacy items or develop new budget gaming or whatever.

 

 

 

If they saw the writing on the wall, they should've sold the company back to Time Warner. EGM and other mags at the time were reporting that Time Warner approached the Tramiels about selling their stake back [to Time Warner] but were rebuffed. Had the Lynx and the Jaguar been controlled by the Atari Games Corp./Tengen/Time Warner Interactive and not the Tramiels, things would've been massively different, I think...

IIRC Warner didn't get Atari Games back until 1993, pretty much coinsiding witht he Jaguar's release. (prior to that Atari Games had been independent since ~1986 I think)

 

 

 

 

-----

Looking back, it may have been foolish that they didn't release that ST Game System way back when,

 

There were working on one back then actually. That morphed in to the Panther which morphed in to the Jaguar.

That would mean plans for an ST/STE derived game system were abandoned in favor of the Panther, then the Jaguar, right? (with the panther having nothing to do with the ST) Edited by kool kitty89

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There were working on one back then actually. That morphed in to the Panther which morphed in to the Jaguar.

 

That would mean plans for an ST/STE derived game system were abandoned in favor of the Panther, then the Jaguar, right? (with the panther having nothing to do with the ST)

 

Concept wise of a more advanced 68000 based game system it did, hardware wise no, they had nothing to do with each other. Curt has the memo's, they were working on a new ST based "Super XE" game system, I.E. a 68000 based game system. The idea of using the ST was dropped when the Panther design came aboard, which of course was then dropped in favor of the Jaguar design.

Edited by wgungfu

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Concept wise of a more advanced 68000 based game system it did, hardware wise no, they had nothing to do with each other. Curt has the memo's, they were working on a new ST based "Super XE" game system, I.E. a 68000 based game system. The idea of using the ST was dropped when the Panther design came aboard, which of course was then dropped in favor of the Jaguar design.

I still think the ST (with BLiTTER) would probably have been the best route for a game system prior to the Jaguar. (though it probably would have needed a 1989 introduction at the latest, and must have been price competitive)

 

From all previous discussions involving the Panther, it really seems like a bad idea, at least for what Atari Corp was interested in. (a cost optimized game console) The "Panther" object processor needed fast SRAM on a 32-bit wide bus to operate effectively, that's why the Panther was stuck with only 32kB of RAM, and the 68k was stuck sharing memory with the bus hungry Panther at that. I'm not exactly sure how expensive the RAM would have been, or if VRAM might have been a slightly more practical alternative to SRAM, but looking at contemporary consoles, they had more SRAM than that onboard. (though not in 32-bit configurations) I think the SNES and TG1 both used SRAM for video memory plus the SNES has another 64kB of SRAM for the sound system. (in addition to the 128 kB of DRAM)

So I don't know if Atari was just trying to make something really cheaply compared to the competition, or the Panther imposed some other kind of difficulties, and/or the SRAM used in it would have been more expensive than the contemporary examples. (if the panther had 64 kB of SRAM for video and a decent block of DRAM for the 68k, it might have been a bit more useful -but again, I don't know what factors fully rove the cost compared to contemporaries -or what price point they would have been aiming at)

 

If the Panther really was as hopeless as it seems, they were best off abandoning it as soon as possible (as I've noted before) and the ST+BLiTTER would definitely be a more feasible route. (that most definitely didn't have the costly RAM issue at least)

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Unfortunately for the Tramiels, they got seriously hosed on the Jaguar system by their developers who used the platform more as a learning tool, then to produce good quality games.

I always felt that was the major downfall of the Jaguar, more so than all the technical issues that us technical types like to harp on.

 

I was actually a teenage intern at a game company in the Jaguar's heyday and I perfectly matched your description! But thanks to good business leadership, I was prevented from working on the Jaguar. (Of course, I still play with it in my free time... I don't mind negative profits like those boring old suits...) :D

 

Back in 1994, I harassed my boss to start a Jaguar project, and after enough dodging, he took me aside and tried to gently introduce me to Business Reality. No well-managed company would partner with Atari, he explained. They were too small, too fragile, had too few marketing dollars to make any impact. Sega and Nintendo were actively courting partners, and Sony was rumored to be pouring billions of dollars on 3rd parties.

 

The other consoles promised C, they promised reusable assets, ease of development, cost-efficient multiplatform releases, PC-like file systems, virtually unlimited storage, etc... (Not all of them delivered, of course...)

 

Meanwhile, the Jaguar insanely boasted, 'Be a man! Devote yourself to weird non-standard tools, invest in thousands of lines of assembly for a RISC you will NEVER see again, tickle strange new registers in an architecture unlike anybody else's! And don't forget to design all your art for CRY, RGB is dead! Spend weeks counting bytes in ROM, like it's 1990 again! Design your own file system for our CD! This is what real men do!'

 

Seriously, I'm still a huge Jaguar fan, but it makes me shake my head to imagine the Jaguar in 1994 from the perspective of an experienced adult in the computer industry.

 

In my opinion, Atari ended up with young ambitious inexperienced students because people experienced in the industry knew better. I don't blame Atari. I don't think they knew much about the game industry in the 90s.

 

- KS

 

Folks, this comment from kskunk is the most insightful post in this entire thread. I doubt much more can be said.

 

+1

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Unfortunately for the Tramiels, they got seriously hosed on the Jaguar system by their developers who used the platform more as a learning tool, then to produce good quality games.

I always felt that was the major downfall of the Jaguar, more so than all the technical issues that us technical types like to harp on.

 

I was actually a teenage intern at a game company in the Jaguar's heyday and I perfectly matched your description! But thanks to good business leadership, I was prevented from working on the Jaguar. (Of course, I still play with it in my free time... I don't mind negative profits like those boring old suits...) :D

 

Back in 1994, I harassed my boss to start a Jaguar project, and after enough dodging, he took me aside and tried to gently introduce me to Business Reality. No well-managed company would partner with Atari, he explained. They were too small, too fragile, had too few marketing dollars to make any impact. Sega and Nintendo were actively courting partners, and Sony was rumored to be pouring billions of dollars on 3rd parties.

 

The other consoles promised C, they promised reusable assets, ease of development, cost-efficient multiplatform releases, PC-like file systems, virtually unlimited storage, etc... (Not all of them delivered, of course...)

 

Meanwhile, the Jaguar insanely boasted, 'Be a man! Devote yourself to weird non-standard tools, invest in thousands of lines of assembly for a RISC you will NEVER see again, tickle strange new registers in an architecture unlike anybody else's! And don't forget to design all your art for CRY, RGB is dead! Spend weeks counting bytes in ROM, like it's 1990 again! Design your own file system for our CD! This is what real men do!'

 

Seriously, I'm still a huge Jaguar fan, but it makes me shake my head to imagine the Jaguar in 1994 from the perspective of an experienced adult in the computer industry.

 

In my opinion, Atari ended up with young ambitious inexperienced students because people experienced in the industry knew better. I don't blame Atari. I don't think they knew much about the game industry in the 90s.

 

- KS

 

Folks, this comment from kskunk is the most insightful post in this entire thread. I doubt much more can be said.

 

I don't know, I think kskunk might have made soem earlier statements which were at least as insightful. ;) (I'm not about to dig through the thread and find them though)

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Unfortunately for the Tramiels, they got seriously hosed on the Jaguar system by their developers who used the platform more as a learning tool, then to produce good quality games.

I always felt that was the major downfall of the Jaguar, more so than all the technical issues that us technical types like to harp on.

 

I was actually a teenage intern at a game company in the Jaguar's heyday and I perfectly matched your description! But thanks to good business leadership, I was prevented from working on the Jaguar. (Of course, I still play with it in my free time... I don't mind negative profits like those boring old suits...) :D

 

Back in 1994, I harassed my boss to start a Jaguar project, and after enough dodging, he took me aside and tried to gently introduce me to Business Reality. No well-managed company would partner with Atari, he explained. They were too small, too fragile, had too few marketing dollars to make any impact. Sega and Nintendo were actively courting partners, and Sony was rumored to be pouring billions of dollars on 3rd parties.

 

The other consoles promised C, they promised reusable assets, ease of development, cost-efficient multiplatform releases, PC-like file systems, virtually unlimited storage, etc... (Not all of them delivered, of course...)

 

Meanwhile, the Jaguar insanely boasted, 'Be a man! Devote yourself to weird non-standard tools, invest in thousands of lines of assembly for a RISC you will NEVER see again, tickle strange new registers in an architecture unlike anybody else's! And don't forget to design all your art for CRY, RGB is dead! Spend weeks counting bytes in ROM, like it's 1990 again! Design your own file system for our CD! This is what real men do!'

 

Seriously, I'm still a huge Jaguar fan, but it makes me shake my head to imagine the Jaguar in 1994 from the perspective of an experienced adult in the computer industry.

 

In my opinion, Atari ended up with young ambitious inexperienced students because people experienced in the industry knew better. I don't blame Atari. I don't think they knew much about the game industry in the 90s.

 

- KS

 

Folks, this comment from kskunk is the most insightful post in this entire thread. I doubt much more can be said.

Same could be said of the C64 at release, it should have been a non starter with Apple and Atari standards already well known and supported,not to mention both being household names,however in spite of the disadvantages it thrived,so it could be done.

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Same could be said of the C64 at release, it should have been a non starter with Apple and Atari standards already well known and supported,not to mention both being household names,however in spite of the disadvantages it thrived,so it could be done.

 

So the C64 was backed by a small, shaky company, and used a foreign, buggy architecture with poor tools?

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Same could be said of the C64 at release, it should have been a non starter with Apple and Atari standards already well known and supported,not to mention both being household names,however in spite of the disadvantages it thrived,so it could be done.

 

So the C64 was backed by a small, shaky company, and used a foreign, buggy architecture with poor tools?

well it was an unknown or much lesser known company, a new and unknown o/s and very poor build quality. Yes it was a risk and at the time generally viewed as unlikely to succeed.

Sounds similar to Jag to me(though Jag hardware was well made), not to mention, the same guy in charge or same family at least.

Also no need to just pick on c64, there was Coleco,hmmm a new system made by a leather company that has no established market share.. sounds risky,yet it too made it.

To be fair,in the case of the Jag,it was 1993 not 1982 and software companies had a much different point of view including cross platform developement. A bane for end users who want the most from the system they own but cheaper for the software house (EA being a prime example of that bad idea).

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Also no need to just pick on c64, there was Coleco,hmmm a new system made by a leather company that has no established market share.. sounds risky,yet it too made it.

Coleco, like commodore was in good financial condition, though didn't have a history of electronics/computer products. (CBM had the PET and VIC-20 just for starters)

The ColecoVision used off the shelf parts, a common CPU and already established VDP, so that wasn't so much an issue. Still though, Coleco, lik the contemporarye Atari, made a ton of their own games, not the situation with the Jag.

 

 

To be fair,in the case of the Jag,it was 1993 not 1982 and software companies had a much different point of view including cross platform developement. A bane for end users who want the most from the system they own but cheaper for the software house (EA being a prime example of that bad idea).

But on computers, multiplatform games were pretty common from the early 80s onward (if not late 70s), there are a lot of games crossing the Atari 8-bit, C64, Apple II, IBM compatibles, VIC-20, CoCo, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, then with the ST, Amiga, and PC too. (not all of those simulataneously, granted, though some games came close)

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To be fair,in the case of the Jag,it was 1993 not 1982 and software companies had a much different point of view including cross platform developement. A bane for end users who want the most from the system they own but cheaper for the software house (EA being a prime example of that bad idea).

That was basically what I meant when I said that Atari didn't know much about the game industry in the 90s.

 

One big difference between the C64 and Jaguar was the decade.

 

But I get your point. The Jaguar was very Tramiel-like. With that strategy they could dominate an infant market, which is all they needed to get rich in 1979. But applied to mature markets, they were lucky to break even.

 

By the way, the Tramiels did better than break even on the Jaguar. They kept their employees receiving paychecks several years past Atari's expiration date. From that perspective, I think the Jaguar was a success.

 

Once a market was established and the big money and suits came in, the Tramiels' strategy had no hope of serious traction. Look no further than the United States PC business in 1985.

 

I still love the Jaguar, because it's unique. I'm glad the Tramiels (mis?)managed it the way they did. I feel the same way about the ST.

 

When the whole industry was betting on red, you'd be a fool to bet on black. But that's why I love Atari. They were weirdly unconventional and thus far from boring.

 

- KS

Edited by kskunk
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Coleco, like commodore was in good financial condition, though didn't have a history of electronics/computer products. (CBM had the PET and VIC-20 just for starters)

 

I'm not sure where you got the no history of electronics. They had the Telstar console series in the 70's, a calculator, all the handheld electronic games (which are all microcontroller based), a plethora of general electronics driven toys, etc. They had a very strong history in electronic consumer products and devices through the toy industry.

 

The ColecoVision used off the shelf parts, a common CPU and already established VDP, so that wasn't so much an issue.

 

That's because the electronics firm out of Chicago that they passed it off to, redesigned the proto from proprietary to more of a general purpose computer format.

Edited by wgungfu

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Coleco, like commodore was in good financial condition, though didn't have a history of electronics/computer products. (CBM had the PET and VIC-20 just for starters)

 

I'm not sure where you got the no history of electronics. They had the Telstar console series in the 70's, a calculator, all the handheld electronic games (which are all microcontroller based), a plethora of general electronics driven toys, etc. They had a very strong history in electronic consumer products and devices through the toy industry.

 

Doh! I knew that... (well not the calculator) Didn't Coleco get on on the hand-held market even before Mattel?

 

 

But I get your point. The Jaguar was very Tramiel-like. With that strategy they could dominate an infant market, which is all they needed to get rich in 1979. But applied to mature markets, they were lucky to break even.

Yeah, but would Jack have done such if he'd still been in charge of the company. Maybe I'm misinterpreting things, but it really seems like the decline began about the time Jack retired, leaving Sam head of Atari Corp. I got a similar impression from Marty in some previous discussions. (not just about the Jaguar, but Atari corp in general, including their Computers)

 

By the way, the Tramiels did better than break even on the Jaguar. They kept their employees receiving paychecks several years past Atari's expiration date. From that perspective, I think the Jaguar was a success.

Yes, it definitely did help there, and that would be one of the counter arguments to using personal funds to provide a proper launch rather than the premature 1993 one they did to improve investor interest.

However, I'm not sure things stayed that way; by 1995 they could have been relying moreso on the Sega money from the lawsuit. (the Jag+CD might have even been losing money by that point, or at a wash) Regardless, releasing the Jag as they did allowed for the Sega lawsuit to follow through and Atari Corp to be sold off in '96 for a pretty hefty profit, leaving the Tramiels quite well off. So as you've mentioned before, it was certainly the right choice for the Tramiels. (and its not like they were in any position to try and push the Jaguar II or anything)

 

 

 

Once a market was established and the big money and suits came in, the Tramiels' strategy had no hope of serious traction. Look no further than the United States PC business in 1985.
They found a pretty good market in Europe though (especially certain countries), at least until the early 90s when botht he Amiga and ST were finally falling behind the PC. (it's arguable that this mightn't have been the case if Atari and/or CBM had managed things better to remain competitive in that market) Of course, it had its niche markets in North America as well, just as the Amiga and Macintosh did.

 

I still love the Jaguar, because it's unique. I'm glad the Tramiels (mis?)managed it the way they did. I feel the same way about the ST.

Really, you don't think it might have been better if the Jag enjoyed somewhat greater, if limited popularity? (like selling 1-2 million rather than <250,000)

Atari may have been in a pretty weak position in the US, with nothing really huge on the market for a good bit of time, but not so with Europe. In EU (especially certain countries like the UK) there would have been a lot more interest, and indeed I've heard comments about EU tech/computer magazines being quite interested in the upcoming Jaguar. Not only was there the computer line to associate with, but the Lynx, which had enjoyed reasonable popularity in some aread of Europe )again, UK seems particularly notable)

 

So that may have been one of their faults as well, not focusing enough on the European market. One thing I'll point out again, was Paris and London being left out of the test market in '93 when they'd previously been stated to be included with NY and SF.

 

 

With Commodore's similar reputation for their computers in Europe, the Amiga CD32 seemed to be doing fairly well for the short period on the market in spite of the high price and relatively dated hardware, so who's to say the Jaguar might not have fared similarly well with more of an emphasis on that region. (Japan should have probably been ignored though, not worth the trouble with Atari's limited resources)) Along with that there was Sega's fall from grace in their long standing European Market(with the Saturn).

 

Even if popularity was limited in the US, EU developers could have contributed quite a bit to the library, in fact, many of may favorite titles on console games from that period are from EU developers.

Edited by kool kitty89

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Really, you don't think it might have been better if the Jag enjoyed somewhat greater, if limited popularity? (like selling 1-2 million rather than <250,000)

I'm not sure a million units would make much difference for the lifespan of the Jaguar. Sega outspent and outsold Atari by orders of magnitude, and the Dreamcast had a shorter lifespan in the US.

 

1996 was the right time to throw in the towel. To survive longer, I think Atari management would need either god-like vision, starting in 1990, or a hundred times the money to spend.

 

Personally, I'd love more games. But I'm in the camp that believes the lack of games was due to core management choices, not the popularity of the console. In other words, you have to ship titles to sell consoles. The other way around is a LOT harder!

 

I don't want to sound too negative. I don't consider the Jaguar a failure. History is littered with consoles backed by much bigger companies that did far worse.

 

People compare the Jaguar to the Playstation or Saturn, but it's hardly fair. Try comparing it to the Apple Pippin or Tandy VIS. Atari was David against Goliath, and the Jaguar did much better than contemporary consoles released by far larger companies.

 

The fact that people still remember the Jaguar is evidence enough.

 

- KS

Edited by kskunk
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Really, you don't think it might have been better if the Jag enjoyed somewhat greater, if limited popularity? (like selling 1-2 million rather than <250,000)

I'm not sure a million units would make much difference for the lifespan of the Jaguar. Sega outspent and outsold Atari by orders of magnitude, and the Dreamcast had a shorter lifespan in the US.

I wasn't talking about the US alone though, if anything, it might have been best to rely most strongly on Europe for a stable chunk of market.

 

Personally, I'd love more games. But I'm in the camp that believes the lack of games was due to core management choices, not the popularity of the console. In other words, you have to ship titles to sell consoles. The other way around is a LOT harder!

Yes, I agree with that, lack of games will kill any platform, moreso than high cost of the hardware, technical limitations, or even poor marketing. (albeit depending on how extreme the latter cases are) The troublesome hardware and poor tools are a huge problem in the Jag's case, limiting 1st party releases and reducing interest from 3rd parties. (and meaning drawn out or poor quality development in most cases)

 

What I don't believe though, is that it would have been absolutely necessary to have a ton of money and compete directly with the marketing budgets of contemporaries (albeit Sega's dropped off quite a bit in the mid-saturn era with extensive financial problems). A bit more funding, yes, and more efficient usage of such, For the US it's a bit tougher, but this is another case where Europe is a prime environment for Atari's circumstances. They tried to rely on viral marketing in the US, which really didn't work out, but such would be far more effective in Europe if handled properly.

 

If they really had to pick one market to focus on, it probably should have been Europe, consolidating their efforts there, perhaps establishing a niche market in the US. (sort of like the ST had) Japan is pretty much out of the question though, unless there was soem Japanese company interested in distributing the Jaguar under their own label. (NEC might have been a point of interest due to their lack of a successor to the PC engine, and eventually settling on the fairly dated and expensive hardware for the PCFX)

 

It's kind of a snowball effect though, the more successful they could be early on, the better funded they could have been later on, albeit I doubt they'd have been able to match any of the major competitors on a $ basis, except perhaps Sega during its weakest point. (and they started turning hefty deficits and actually went into the red with the Saturn -in spite of its Japanese success)

 

People compare the Jaguar to the Playstation or Saturn, but it's hardly fair. Try comparing it to the Apple Pippin or Tandy VIS. Atari was David against Goliath, and the Jaguar did much better than contemporary consoles released by far larger companies.

Hmm, I suppose you're right in some cases, well depending on region. The CD32 isn't a good example (commodore was weak and it was on the market for an even shorter period). The Pippin and PCFX might be good examples though, perhaps the Saturn due to its negative impact on Sega's western markets (and indeed monetary losses), perhaps the 32x, though that's kind of complex with the Saturn and being on the market for a rather short period.

 

And CD32 vs Pippin might be a bit more of a fair comparison. (though even then, I think the Jag might have had more advantages compared to the PSX, though the CD32 has the CD drive too -not sure how capable the AGA blitter is compared to software rendering on the Pippin)

 

The fact that people still remember the Jaguar is evidence enough.

Yep, though, generally speaking, a lot of that is probably due to it being the last piece of hardware (let alone Game system) released by Atari. (except for some modern clones/plug n' plays and such, branded with the Name)

People seem to be more familiar with he Jaguar's existence than the Lynx, 7800, or 5200 in some cases (especially younger people with some limited knowledge about gaming past), in spite of all of those others being more popular. (in terms of units sold at least)

Edited by kool kitty89

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It is surprising that Atari could see the writing on the wall, and got out with money in hand, I do believe that if Atari would of went w/out releasing a CD unit, used that money to develope 7 or 8 other cart games, got Mortal Kombat 3 out(this was a must in 95-96 an arcade stick as well) T-Mek and Area 51 out, have Sega release the 6 promised games a year (made money on the sega platforms with Atari's 5 games a year(Sega fans were pleading for Checkerd Flag on the Genesis)....It would of been cool, but thhe machine still would of failed, Sega was top dog at the time in America with the Genesis, and their Saturn was getting crushed by the Playstation, both systems had games that looked miles ahead of the Jag, Sony was releasing all 3-D polygon games, forcing Saturn that wasn't great at it to do the same, Atari couldn't even hold onto what was suppose to be their new mascot RAYMAN,(he even came out on SONY before he came out on the Jag), 3D0 wasn't even able to stay in the market more than another year or so, and they had started to do everything right(getting in Walmart and KMart, releasing Street Fighter 2 and Samuri Showdown.

 

1996 would of continued to be a tough year for Jag then 97 would see N64 enter the market.

 

Atari made the right choice for the company I just wished we would of got 1 more year and MK3 even on CD cause I got a Jag CD

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It is surprising that Atari could see the writing on the wall, and got out with money in hand, I do believe that if Atari would of went w/out releasing a CD unit, used that money to develope 7 or 8 other cart games, got Mortal Kombat 3 out(this was a must in 95-96 an arcade stick as well) T-Mek and Area 51 out,

Hmm, some of that makes sense, but Area 51 is a no go without the CD. A lot of the other games that made it to CD could probably have been done fairly well on cart, though the music would have been limited. Still, the general hardware, management, and marketing problems would be there.

 

have Sega release the 6 promised games a year (made money on the sega platforms with Atari's 5 games a year(Sega fans were pleading for Checkerd Flag on the Genesis)
Huh??? Why would they want Checkered flag when they already had Virtua Racing on the Genesis (graphics are a bit uglier but it plays a lot better) and a much better version soon on the 32x? Besides, checkered flag would have similar limitations and cost issues to Virtua Racing on the Genesis. (with SVP chip)

 

It would of been cool, but thhe machine still would of failed, Sega was top dog at the time in America with the Genesis, and their Saturn was getting crushed by the Playstation, both systems had games that looked miles ahead of the Jag, Sony was releasing all 3-D polygon games, forcing Saturn that wasn't great at it to do the same, Atari couldn't even hold onto what was suppose to be their new mascot RAYMAN,(he even came out on SONY before he came out on the Jag), 3D0 wasn't even able to stay in the market more than another year or so, and they had started to do everything right(getting in Walmart and KMart, releasing Street Fighter 2 and Samuri Showdown.
Sega was pretty strong up until around 1994 when they started slipping and once the Saturn came out the SNES started getting a bi of a lead (more so in terms of games than hardware sales) around 1995 until the PSX solidified its self on the market. So the Jag had a bit of time to work its self in from 1994 to 1996 when the PSX really started getting big. Again, the European market was their best chance I think: more effective viral marketing, stronger ties with Atari Corp products, gaping hole left by Sega's even more dramatic decline than the US, etc.

 

And what's that about Ray Man, it was a 3rd party game published by a 3rd party company and was almost immediately multiplatform, so not really a mascot for the Jaguar. (unlike Crash for the PSX, which was published by Sony)

 

1996 would of continued to be a tough year for Jag then 97 would see N64 enter the market.

Had the Jaguar been reasonably successful in penetrating the market, the jaguar II might have gotten finished and could have perhaps been ready for release by '97 or '98. (and certainly be CD based)

 

 

 

Atari was just in bad shape in several respects to try and pull something out onto the market and get significant penetration. Perhaps if it had a couple of those problems it could have pulled it off, but not all of them. Like if they were in similar shape financially but had good, stable management and managed to pull the hardware together such that it was a bit cleaner or at least had suitable development tools to address the flaws (or a bit of both). That and arranging a timely, well organized release with a few notable titles. (which involves a bit of risk in their financial shape) Once more, I think Europe was their best chance to establish a stable place in the market for the reasons I've already addressed.

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quote]have Sega release the 6 promised games a year (made money on the sega platforms with Atari's 5 games a year(Sega fans were pleading for Checkerd Flag on the Genesis)

Huh??? Why would they want Checkered flag when they already had Virtua Racing on the Genesis (graphics are a bit uglier but it plays a lot better) and a much better version soon on the 32x? Besides, checkered flag would have similar limitations and cost issues to Virtua Racing on the Genesis. (with SVP chip)

 

 

Pete was being sarcastic about Checkered Flag kitty, i tought it was pretty funny, hehe.

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Pete was being sarcastic about Checkered Flag kitty, i tought it was pretty funny, hehe.

 

OK, that went right over m head... but seriously, it's hard to tell what's sincere in that post. :P

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Had the Jaguar been reasonably successful in penetrating the market, the jaguar II might have gotten finished and could have perhaps been ready for release by '97 or '98. (and certainly be CD based)

The Jaguar II is a pretty nice chipset. They fixed a lot of the mistakes of the original Jaguar.

 

But one of the many problems Atari had, was a lack of faith. A lot of smart people who ran very competent publishing houses bet against Atari, and when the Jaguar failed, they probably felt even smarter. It's hard to imagine them doing a 180 when they saw Atari's next bet.

 

I don't think the Jaguar II helps much in the tool department. While it could have had a pretty usable C compiler due to the instruction cache in the new RISC, I don't see how you could achieve the same raw performance as the MIPS in the Playstation 1 (nevermind the N64 which had a real data cache). This is in part due to inherent bottlenecks in the JagRISC design (register scheduling) combined with the unlikelihood of a highly optimizing compiler (which MIPS already had).

 

Atari didn't even bother supplying a file system with the JagCD. To imagine them supplying a sophisticated compiler, robust 3D engine, and the suite of tools that were coming from Sony and Nintendo in '97...

 

And then to turn their marketing and distribution around... It's just unimaginable to me. From my perspective, good hardware was not enough to attract 3rd parties in 1993, and by 1997 it was even less workable as a strategy.

 

No debate here that they had good hardware, though! But they weren't the only ones... Maybe comparing the Jaguar II's chances to the 3DO M2 story is helpful too. The 3DO M2 was much further along. The Jaguar II wasn't even close to finished in 1996 -- the hardest parts (including the new "main RISC") weren't even off the drawing board yet.

 

- KS

Edited by kskunk
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The Jaguar II is a pretty nice chipset. They fixed a lot of the mistakes of the original Jaguar.

 

But one of the many problems Atari had, was a lack of faith. A lot of smart people who ran very competent publishing houses bet against Atari, and when the Jaguar failed, they probably felt even smarter. It's hard to imagine them doing a 180 when they saw Atari's next bet.

Yes, that statment was for the condition that Atari had managed to pull things together a bit more and game the Jag a more respectable place in the market.

 

I don't think the Jaguar II helps much in the tool department. While it could have had a pretty usable C compiler due to the instruction cache in the new RISC, I don't see how you could achieve the same raw performance as the MIPS in the Playstation 1 (nevermind the N64 which had a real data cache). This is in part due to inherent bottlenecks in the JagRISC design (register scheduling) combined with the unlikelihood of a highly optimizing compiler (which MIPS already had).
Are you talking about the existing jag II prototype or the specs for the final design?

 

And then to turn their marketing and distribution around... It's just unimaginable to me. From my perspective, good hardware was not enough to attract 3rd parties in 1993, and by 1997 it was even less workable as a strategy.

Again, what I said was implied to be only possible under a different pretext than history shows. With the Jag as it was though 1995, there was no way the Jag II could have made it, and it would probably have been foolish to attempt it -though perhaps looking for a 3rd party to buy the chipset and/or take on flare might have been something.

 

I still thing Europe could have been their best bet at a sustained market had they focused things properly.

 

No debate here that they had good hardware, though! But they weren't the only ones... Maybe comparing the Jaguar II's chances to the 3DO M2 story is helpful too. The 3DO M2 was much further along. The Jaguar II wasn't even close to finished in 1996 -- the hardest parts (including the new "main RISC") weren't even off the drawing board yet.
How expensive would the M2 have been though, and would 3Do still have used the same, flawed business model? (if it handt been for that, even the 3DO, with its inherent limitations, could have been far more competitive)

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