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Atari Panther

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If the Atari Panther was releaced in 1991, as schelued, this could have been Atari's answer to the Super NES and Mega Drive, however it was never releaced, meaning that Atari missed out on the 16 bit wars, and had to start fresh with the Jag when the 32 bit/64 bit boom started in 1993, however Atari never gained market share anything short of pitafull with the Jag, and this effictivly killed Atari. It however was 32 bit, and like the 64 bit Jag in 93, the 32 bit Panther would have been before it's time in 91, so it may have been hard to program for, and may have failed the same way the Jag did, however Atari ever gave it a shot so we'll never know. All the Panther stands for know is another knockout blow leading to the demise of Atari corp.

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I think the Panther would have been cool. I remember the article about it with a screenshot of Race Driving, so it made me think it'd be a 3D based console.

 

I dunno, maybe if Atari had gotten their feet wet earlier with the Panther, the Jaguar might have turned out better if released in 1996 or something. Ah well...

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It is tragic, as it lead to the downfall of the company we all know and love Atari. I mean they do exzist, but today they only either make games for other consoles or make retro compilations with games they have allready made. I mean they did make the Flashback 1 & 2 but they were hardly competitors to Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.

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I think the truth of the matter is Atari never understood the console market once Warner took control.

 

The 2600 rolled along on sheer momentum alone, really neither Warner or the Tramiels did anything worthwhile to improve it's standing.

 

Of the consoles that came later, the common problems were some/all of: insufficient RAM, too few release titles, poor support, poor marketing, and the number 1: Released too late.

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To true. Most of the 5200/7800 games were improved graphics versions of 2600 games, with the odd exception. While NES games recived accuatal sequels which would make people buy the SNES and N64 in later years, the Jaguar and Lynx convinced puplishers to devolep games for Atari consoles and had true sequels to Atari 2600/5200/7800/Arcade games but by that time it was to late. Atari could have taken some lessons of Nintendo in the late 80s though and made something like Super Pacman Bros, (sounds stupid cos It did'ent happen. Lol!) or at least releaced Defender 2 and Super Pitfall on the 7800 rather then selling them to Nintendo (I dunno the whole story.) to releace on the NES. The Jaguar got everything right to keep Atari afloat, not nesserly win the console war but keep them afloat, but they lost the most important thing, a fanbase. Such a crying shame.I really like Atari.

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To true. Most of the 5200/7800 games were improved graphics versions of 2600 games, with the odd exception. While NES games recived accuatal sequels which would make people buy the SNES and N64 in later years, the Jaguar and Lynx convinced puplishers to devolep games for Atari consoles and had true sequels to Atari 2600/5200/7800/Arcade games but by that time it was to late. Atari could have taken some lessons of Nintendo in the late 80s though and made something like Super Pacman Bros, (sounds stupid cos It did'ent happen. Lol!) or at least releaced Defender 2 and Super Pitfall on the 7800 rather then selling them to Nintendo (I dunno the whole story.) to releace on the NES. The Jaguar got everything right to keep Atari afloat, not nesserly win the console war but keep them afloat, but they lost the most important thing, a fanbase. Such a crying shame.I really like Atari.

I have to disagree with Atari losing the fanbase, the Jaguar fans were very rabid at one time and are still around today. Atari didnt have the $$$ to compete with Nintendo and Sony once the next generation systems were coming out, add that with bad-marketing and horrible development tools and the Jaguar barely had a chance considering every friggin' magazine bashed the hell out of the console. The whole "its not 64bits" thing got old very quick and everybody and their mother joined the bashing bandwagon. JAGUAR RULES! :cool:

 

Atari, in my opinion made the right decision to go with the Jaguar instead of the Panther. :)

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If Atari did release the panther they could have raised enough money to not make the Jaguar a complete failure.

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If Atari did release the panther they could have raised enough money to not make the Jaguar a complete failure.

The Panther specs were not that impressive to begin with and the design was hideous. Atari didnt need money to make the tools better,which is a big part of its commercial demise,i think it was more of a matter of time not being on their side. :)

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If Atari did release the panther they could have raised enough money to not make the Jaguar a complete failure.

 

Another pre-Jaguar failure might have damaged Atari to the point where they could have never released the Jaguar.

 

Also, the reality was it ultimately wasn't the bandwagon bashing that hurt the Jaguar (that didn't help of course), it was the lack of software. There were huge gaps between releases and while Atari got decent third party support to be promised, few of those publishers actually delivered games, and the ones that did actually deliver a title or two didn't follow through with additional titles. If the Jaguar had stronger and more frequent releases in its first year, it might have stood a chance as a profitable niche system, but the reality was with the release of the Sony PlayStation in 1995, it was the beginning of the end for all non-3D systems. Sony correctly gambled on the importance of polygons and where gaming was headed.

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If the Jaguar price was cut to $149 in 1994 instead of 1995, it might of been a sucsess.

 

Why though? What software on the platform really got the outside world excited? Price was only a minor factor. It was the distinct lack of software, particularly quality third party titles. Even the 3DO, which debuted at $699.99 US, had far better software support.

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Atari could have taken some lessons of Nintendo in the late 80s though and made something like Super Pacman Bros

Pac-Man is owned by Namco, not Atari.

or at least releaced Defender 2

Defender is owned by Midway, not Atari.

and Super Pitfall

Super Pitfall! is owned by Activision, not Atari.

Edited by TheRedEye

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If Atari did release the panther they could have raised enough money to not make the Jaguar a complete failure.

 

Another pre-Jaguar failure might have damaged Atari to the point where they could have never released the Jaguar.

 

Also, the reality was it ultimately wasn't the bandwagon bashing that hurt the Jaguar (that didn't help of course), it was the lack of software. There were huge gaps between releases and while Atari got decent third party support to be promised, few of those publishers actually delivered games, and the ones that did actually deliver a title or two didn't follow through with additional titles. If the Jaguar had stronger and more frequent releases in its first year, it might have stood a chance as a profitable niche system, but the reality was with the release of the Sony PlayStation in 1995, it was the beginning of the end for all non-3D systems. Sony correctly gambled on the importance of polygons and where gaming was headed.

Agreed :)

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Well the reason is, that some people will be games (and consoles) if they can get them cheap, regardless of wether they have been branded 'crap' or not.

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Atari should have made the panther with STe/Falcon like technology (less the keyboard) and sold it as a gaming system, after all, it worked with the CDTV and CD32 from CBM and look what sort of support they got

 

After all when the panther was originally mentioned the Atari ST was still reasonably well supported (third part wise) so making the panther with some backwards ST/falcon compatibility would have guaranteed the panther some support as it would have been a fairly simple task of porting over any popular st/e or falcon programs but specifically designed with the panther's additional hardware capabilities

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Atari should have made the panther with STe/Falcon like technology (less the keyboard) and sold it as a gaming system, after all, it worked with the CDTV and CD32 from CBM and look what sort of support they got

 

After all when the panther was originally mentioned the Atari ST was still reasonably well supported (third part wise) so making the panther with some backwards ST/falcon compatibility would have guaranteed the panther some support as it would have been a fairly simple task of porting over any popular st/e or falcon programs but specifically designed with the panther's additional hardware capabilities

 

History shows it still wouldn't have worked. Neither the CDTV or CD32 were successful and most of the software were straight ports from the disk versions, with maybe a few additions if you were lucky, like a CD-based soundtrack. I believe Atari was correct in pursuing the Panther and later Jaguar platforms - new technology not held back by any reuse of older technology or any associated baggage with too-easy (lazy) ports.

 

By the time of the Jaguar's release, Atari didn't have the financial resources to properly support the platform and the third parties never had a reason to fully commit. It was the same situation with Sega and the Dreamcast. By the time of the Dreamcast's release, Sega was so weakened financially (and reputation-wise to a degree) by past failures and lacked key third party support (EA in particular) that nothing short of a miracle would have made the platform the success it needed to be to keep Sega in the hardware business. Of course the Dreamcast was far more successful than any Atari platform since the 2600, but that's a different discussion completely...

Edited by Bill_Loguidice

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Yeah of coarse it is, I mean the DC sold 10.6 Million units, sad to say, that is more then the 5200, 7800 and Jag combined, and it is still cosidered a Faliure. Scary.

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Yeah of coarse it is, I mean the DC sold 10.6 Million units, sad to say, that is more then the 5200, 7800 and Jag combined, and it is still cosidered a Faliure. Scary.

The problem I saw with the Jaguar was stuff like letting Rebellion slip the release date of Aliens vs Predator (I remember frequenting an EB at the time and hearing the excitement drop from the other customers voice when told that AVP was pushed back). It didn't help that at about that time the employees were telling prospective customers (me included on many occasions, different sales person) that the Jaguar is going to fail, that they are having trouble getting games from those over 150 companies that signed up (incidentally, when the PSOne and Saturn and 3DO launched, they had a lot of crossover in 'promised companies' check the lists). I mean, at that store, they were constantly selling out of the Jaguar system and most of the games but the employees were busy shooting it in the foot. They would constantly tell customers to keep the receipt and that they have 7 days or something to return the games because they WILL be tired of it and want something else.

The sad thing is, that store was the only store anywhere near me that carried the Jaguar at all.

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The problem I saw with the Jaguar was stuff like letting Rebellion slip the release date of Aliens vs Predator (I remember frequenting an EB at the time and hearing the excitement drop from the other customers voice when told that AVP was pushed back). It didn't help that at about that time the employees were telling prospective customers (me included on many occasions, different sales person) that the Jaguar is going to fail, that they are having trouble getting games from those over 150 companies that signed up (incidentally, when the PSOne and Saturn and 3DO launched, they had a lot of crossover in 'promised companies' check the lists). I mean, at that store, they were constantly selling out of the Jaguar system and most of the games but the employees were busy shooting it in the foot. They would constantly tell customers to keep the receipt and that they have 7 days or something to return the games because they WILL be tired of it and want something else.

The sad thing is, that store was the only store anywhere near me that carried the Jaguar at all.

 

It's certainly true that the negativity around the Jaguar didn't help it, either from retail or most magazines, but the bottom line is if Atari was able to get compelling product to the shelves, it wouldn't have made a difference as people ultimately buy what they want anyway.

 

The failure was with Atari ultimately, nowhere else. Honestly, given the timing of the system (with the Genesis/SNES still viable and popular and the Saturn and PS1 looming on the horizon) and Atari's lack of sufficient financial resources, I can't really see any scenario where the Jaguar would have ultimately succeeded, even with regular game releases of titles that people would care about and were not available elsewhere. Again, Sega was in a similar situation with the Dreamcast, and that fared far, far better in all ways, and the company still failed to stick around making systems. Once Sony entered the game with the PS1, it was clear that only large, stable companies with deep pockets and long term commitments would be able to stick around, a la Microsoft. There's a reason it's only Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft going at it these days, and there's a reason in the handheld space we're still only talking Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and Apple all the time. The industry evolved long ago from the 80's, where a company with modest resources and a good platform stood a chance, no matter how long the shot.

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It's a shame the Jaguar failed, it was a nice system, with some good games on it, and lot's of potential, but it faliled due to a bad marketing campain, and the biggest reason of all, the fact Atari could not convince 3rd party devolpers to make games for the Jaguar, altough it must be said there were more 3rd party games on the Jaguar then there was on the 5200 and 7800.

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It's a shame the Jaguar failed, it was a nice system, with some good games on it, and lot's of potential, but it faliled due to a bad marketing campain, and the biggest reason of all, the fact Atari could not convince 3rd party devolpers to make games for the Jaguar, altough it must be said there were more 3rd party games on the Jaguar then there was on the 5200 and 7800.

 

Again, you can't really say they had a bad marketing campaign with the Jaguar. As for third party software on the Jaguar versus the 5200 and 7800, it was different times. Back when the 5200 was relevant, it had all the third party support it needed. Consoles at the time thrived on first party software, with third party software - while still important - secondary. With the 7800, much like Sega with the Master System, Nintendo had most third party developers locked up in exclusive agreements, so they were at a significant disadvantage beyond the fact that Nintendo ended up with some killer first party IPs that the others lacked (at least until Sega struck pay dirt with Sonic in the Genesis era).

 

There was no particular reason for third parties - even the ones who offered a commitment - to deliver on the Jaguar. Atari had trouble delivering units and they also had trouble consistently releasing first party software. Without a sufficient user base, there was no financial incentive for these companies to spend money on development for the platform. Again, given Atari's financial status, there was probably no reasonable scenario where the Jaguar could have succeeded anyway.

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It was the right move to go with the Jaguar. Atari simply should just NOT have pushed the whole 64-bit thing... They should have just called it 32-bit and called it a day... Even if, super technically, it IS 64-bit, in some ways...

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Interesting comments, if somewhat slanted.

 

The Tramiels never knew - or cared - anything about the videogame market. That is why they foolishly shelved the 7800 for years - and only revived the game consoles (7800, 2600jr, XEgs, and ultimately - Jaguar) to make a go of it. If they had released the 7800 years earlier, there is a chance they would have met with greater success. The NES was, obviously, a fierce competitor. I think the videogame market was just foreign to them.

 

I think the Tramiels were good computer marketers, however. At least, they were to a point. Success at Commodore is undeniable. The ST was a real boon for Atari and more popular (at least back in the day) than the original Atari computers. I think their downfall is, however, that they were just cheap bastards and their formular for success was always ever-increasing cheapness, and that only lasts for so much time. I think a big difference between Tramiels (why refer to them as Atari when they clearly were something different and only a name) and competitors is that the competitors were willing (and able) to PAY developers to make a good game. Tramiels really shortchanged themselves in the long run. Stuff like the XEgs makes it quite obvious what cheap bastards they were - releasing YEARS-old stuff like Flight Simulator II to compete with the likes of Super Mario. Even in the Jaguar era, it is quite obvious that not only did they not know the game market, but were quite unwilling to pay for the talent they needed. Minter was a fluke, and a very fortunate one.

 

I remember reading an article years ago about the downfall and shutdown of Atari. I was sad to see it. It was titled "Cheap didn't sell." As any Atarian worth his salt knows, cheap was a Tramiel attribute, rather than an Atari one. One must separate the Tramiel business from prior attempts and successes, to maintain a proper perspective on Atari as a whole. I also don't mean to denegrate Tramiel overall; he sold more computers than anyone alive ever, and I think he is probably richer than anyone reading this. However, there were obvious mistakes made, and a really endearing brand name and legacy trashed - at the same time.

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