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If Atari released panther instead Jaguar

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I wonder if Atari released Panther instead Jaguar.

 

Of course Panther is a 16 bit console and less powerfull than the Jaguar.

 

But at the same time, it could be cheaper and compete better than other consoles at this time.

 

So did Atari make the best decision to drop the Panther and release the Jaguar instead?

 

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I think the question here is, "Could the panther have done WORSE?" Meaning, is there a way that the Jaguar has the edge? I would argue no. Even with more power (very debatable, and ultimately even people at the time were unimpressed) the Jaguar didn't grab the market or developers. So could a cheaper, weaker console do it? Honestly, probably not, but I'd suggest that Atari would have had more options if they could have played with the price a bit. Also, Nintendo was about to lose all their third party support a few years later, so it's possible that a couple years of treading water could have had those devs going to Atari rather than Sony.

Very much a long shot, even still.

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No, because Atari didn't have any money. They were in a Dreamcast state but unlike the Dreamcast, Mr.Fatty Mcrich didn't come with a bag of money to inject millions into a project that was still going to fail.

With them discontinuing the ST/2600/7800/8-bit line/, closing the Atari retail stores, and not buying Atari games, they were launching the Jaguar with basically no money.

If the Panther launched when it was supposed to, 1991? It may have done a bit better than the Jaguar, but how would Atari meet demand? They wouldn't have enough money to be in thousands of retailers, no money to produce software in high quantity, no money to pay devs to make exclusive games on the jaguar, and no money for decent marketing.

Sega and Nintendo would get games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II, with consoles in thousands of retailers + great marketing, with enough copies of popular software so everyone could buy them, across multiple countries.

Instead, Atari should have skipped that time period and just focused on selling millions of Lynx portables. Then, released a CD-rom based system, maybe even a modified jaguar, in 1995 launching with more than two games. I had a similar conversation in another Panther thread.

I think the one thing people don't remember with these hypothetical scenarios is that Atari was broke and cut off the devices that brought them free revenue.

To me, the decision to scrap the Panther was the correct one. What I think they did wrong was position the jaguar as a replacement product to the Panther, leading to an early 1993 release and a bunch of cancelled games. Instead, the 64-bit console should have had a longer development cycle and built relations with developers and retailers over time. Edited by Bubsy3000

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What if they released the Jaguar just like they did... but just called it the Panther.  I mean, imo, panthers are cooler than jaguars...


But the Pink Panther TV series came out in 1993. There was already enough confusion with "do the math" now we have to do the math with Pink panther??

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The Panther was a 16-bit system, right? I suppose I could Bing it... but I forget. Did it not become the basis by which the Lynx was based off of? Seems like it would really just be an SNES / Genesis style system.

 

My opinion, the Jaguar failed because of mismanagement, and a shift in game desireability.

 

I'm not sure really how to phrase this properly, but Atari was not one of the "cool kids" in the early to mid 1990s. In ~1993, when the Jaguar was in full swing, I was in high school, and most of us thought the Jaguar was a joke. I myself, a huge fan of the Jaguar, can even remember making fun of the 1 or 2 kids in our entire class who had an Atari Jaguar. There was one kid with a Jaguar who had DOOM. He was telling us how cool it was, and we all laughed at him because a few of us had it on PC. I even remember asking him if he could save. I mean, it was high school, we didn't really talk about games since we were all more concerned with girls, what college we were looking to get into, whatever... but the Jaguar wasn't popular. 

 

There were a few blockbuster games. Games like DOOM was good, so was WolF3D. They had games like Alien vs. Predator and several others... but they didn't have very many "franchise" games. It was hard... and while a good system in my opinion, it was too much, too late, as even though it was great stuff... the technology surpassed it within a year with the Playstation and the Saturn.

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The Lynx came out in 1989 so I doubt it was influenced by the Panther.

Is this thread asking if Atari would do better if the Panther released? Wording is confusing. If so, then I don't think so as Atari Corporation was mismanaged from day 1. The Tramiels were too focused on salvaging their crumbling computer empire to put their all into a console. If the Panther came out it would have released right along with the Falcon, and we know how that story goes. Edited by TigerSuperman

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What if they released the Jaguar just like they did... but just called it the Panther.  I mean, imo, panthers are cooler than jaguars...

 

The real problem is that they broke from the family naming convention for their dedicated consoles.

 

2600, 5200, 7800...  10400 would have been the logical choice.

 

To appeal to the X-Treem crowd, it could even have been called the 10.4K.  Same number of characters, but at least 1000 times more attitude.

 

In fact...  Think of the possibilities for exploiting the "DO THE MATH!" slogan.

 

Yep.. Definitely the 10.4K.  That would have saved the Panther.  No doubt whatsoever on that one.

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I think any console released from 1990 onward was doomed, for the reasons TigerSuperman cited. They were not going to get big third party support. In 1991, there was already the Genesis/Mega Drive, SNES/Super Fami, and the Turbo/PC Engine. A fourth console was not going to survive. 

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I think any console released from 1990 onward was doomed, for the reasons TigerSuperman cited. They were not going to get big third party support. In 1991, there was already the Genesis/Mega Drive, SNES/Super Fami, and the Turbo/PC Engine. A fourth console was not going to survive. 


The fact that four years later, Sega tanked (well, began a very slow death spiral) and a relative newcomer like Sony emerged kind of negates that. Someone did unseat one of the major players. It's unlikely that would have been Atari... but not impossible.

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The fact that four years later, Sega tanked (well, began a very slow death spiral) and a relative newcomer like Sony emerged kind of negates that. Someone did unseat one of the major players. It's unlikely that would have been Atari... but not impossible.

 
Right, but again there were three big-market consoles, not four. PC-FX was basically dead on arrival. The 3DO sold like 1/10 of the Genesis / Mega Drive worldwide. With NEC already out, that made room for Sony. And then Sega committed suppuku (edit: or is it harakiri?) with the Saturn. Between the crazy-high price, being shunned by Walmart, and the (purported) complexity for developers, Sega hit the "console wars casualty" trifecta.

 

Sony did a great job of wooing third-party support, particularly from Japan, and investing heavily in first-party exclusives. Definitely not something Atari could ever have done, or really ever did with Tramiel.

Edited by derFunkenstein

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Right, but again there were three big-market consoles, not four. PC-FX was basically dead on arrival. The 3DO sold like 1/10 of the Genesis / Mega Drive worldwide. With NEC already out, that made room for Sony. And then Sega committed suppuku (edit: or is it harakiri?) with the Saturn. Between the crazy-high price, being shunned by Walmart, and the (purported) complexity for developers, Sega hit the "console wars casualty" trifecta.
 
Sony did a great job of wooing third-party support, particularly from Japan, and investing heavily in first-party exclusives. Definitely not something Atari could ever have done, or really ever did with Tramiel.


I think you and I are disagreeing on if TG-16 counts as a serious contender. I would say it does not.

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In this hypothetical past where Atari released the Panther as a cheaper device, and did so sooner, then I could see it hitting the market and taking the place the TG-16 did. The one thing Atari would *probably* have gotten right would be to have it widely available early on, which was the Turbo's first big mistake.

But of course, I'm likely underestimating Atari's knack for screwing up.

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The only viable way for the "real" Atari to still surivive is not only if the Tramiels never bought the company but Bushnell never sold it to Warner in the first place.  There's your "what-if" alt history...

 

Maybe if the Tramiels had let Micheal Katz run the video game division without tying his hands down (and he never left for Sega) and the Panther was released in '91...I say if it had ports of Amiga games, arcade titles from Atari Games and even a partnership with SNK for some fighting games it would have been sucessful targeting the older gamers who grew up with the original Atari systems.  Sure let Nintendo have the kids and Sega the teens but there were young adults who wanted the sophisticated games that were only possible on computers at the time.

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The only viable way for the "real" Atari to still surivive is not only if the Tramiels never bought the company but Bushnell never sold it to Warner in the first place.  There's your "what-if" alt history...

 

nah Atari would have burned down in a freebasing accident during a party in 1985 at about the second peak of arcade games, there would be dead naked bodys and dope everywhere with a stoned Bushnell bitching about how these are not real video games 

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In this hypothetical past where Atari released the Panther as a cheaper device, and did so sooner, then I could see it hitting the market and taking the place the TG-16 did. The one thing Atari would *probably* have gotten right would be to have it widely available early on, which was the Turbo's first big mistake.

But of course, I'm likely underestimating Atari's knack for screwing up.

 

 

The whole timeline would have to be accelerated. Everything I've read (including this example) say the Panther was meant to release in 1991 against the SNES. By then, the Turbo was (finally) more widely available, excluding Europe, where apparently the Master System was still the console of choice. Maybe Atari could have caught on there, but the hand was dealt long before the Panther was meant to ship. I think the Jaguar was the right choice, it was just executed poorly.

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I think any console released from 1990 onward was doomed, for the reasons TigerSuperman cited. They were not going to get big third party support. In 1991, there was already the Genesis/Mega Drive, SNES/Super Fami, and the Turbo/PC Engine. A fourth console was not going to survive. 

That was me. It's also not an issue of third-parties, Atari could get western third-parties easily if they put on a good entrance, the issue is Atari had no money. Zero ziltch. The early 90's was the first period where money would determine how the company would get into the gaming business. No longer could company joe everyman come in and get popular in the niche markets and grow bigger over time.

Look at who was competing in the 90's, other than Nintendo with the money they made from the NES you had: Nec, which was a huge computer giant in asia when the Tg16 was out. Phillips was a huge technology company, Commodore was a huge computer company, Pioneer was a large electronics company, Amstrad was a huge british computer company, and Tandy was a huge retail giant.

On paper, Atari could have grabbed western developers and took Segas place, or at least took advantage of the Tg16's screw up in NA and got healthy sales at 3rd place.

However the problem is that Atari didn't have the fiances to ship consoles to thousands of retailers, nor enough money to produce a high quantity of cartridges. Add lack of a marketing budget and the Panther wouldn't have done anything. Atari would have to get money from SOMEHWERE but dumb ass sam cut off all their devices that gave them free money so what can you do?

The fact that four years later, Sega tanked (well, began a very slow death spiral) and a relative newcomer like Sony emerged kind of negates that. Someone did unseat one of the major players. It's unlikely that would have been Atari... but not impossible.

Actually Sega was tanking during the Genesis misteps. You have to remember that Mr.MC Rich came buy with a bag of money to inject some life into Sega so the Dreamcast would even be a thing in the first place.

The combination of Sega screwing up Genesis profits, the Saturn failure, and the Model 3 spending fiasco only to find out they could have made better hardware at a cheaper price, put Sega in a pickle.

 
Right, but again there were three big-market consoles, not four. PC-FX was basically dead on arrival. The 3DO sold like 1/10 of the Genesis / Mega Drive worldwide. With NEC already out, that made room for Sony. And then Sega committed suppuku (edit: or is it harakiri?) with the Saturn. Between the crazy-high price, being shunned by Walmart, and the (purported) complexity for developers, Sega hit the "console wars casualty" trifecta.
 
Sony did a great job of wooing third-party support, particularly from Japan, and investing heavily in first-party exclusives. Definitely not something Atari could ever have done, or really ever did with Tramiel.

Not quite, Sony actually bumped the 3DO off, not the Saturn. Sega bumped off themselves, 3DO was outselling Saturn for some months in NA in late 95 and 96 at the lower price points. Also some months in japan during the Saturns first year.

Sega has always been a question mark, I always wondered if the Genesis was just a fluke, none of the Genesis momentum carried over to any other products even before people were wrote them off. The 32X and Saturn basically got zero Genesis momentum, and the Genesis Momentum itself basically hit a wall in 94. Sega couldn't afford the losses from the Genesis crashing, The Saturn and the Model 3, so they basically killed themselves out.

It was effectively just Sony and Nintendo during that time frame. In Japan you could argue there were three, but that's about it. Everywhere else it was a two party game, PSX and N64.

The only viable way for the "real" Atari to still surivive is not only if the Tramiels never bought the company but Bushnell never sold it to Warner in the first place.  There's your "what-if" alt history...
 
Maybe if the Tramiels had let Micheal Katz run the video game division without tying his hands down (and he never left for Sega) and the Panther was released in '91...I say if it had ports of Amiga games, arcade titles from Atari Games and even a partnership with SNK for some fighting games it would have been sucessful targeting the older gamers who grew up with the original Atari systems.  Sure let Nintendo have the kids and Sega the teens but there were young adults who wanted the sophisticated games that were only possible on computers at the time.

One of the reasons Atari ended up clobbering Fairchild was because Atari sold to Warner. Even with Fairchild having ups and downs in the 70's Nolan Atari wasn't going to outspend Fairchild.

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1993 was too early to be a part of the 32-bit generation & too late to be part of the 16-bit generation, so a 1991 release would've given the Panther a timing advantage over the Jaguar, at the very least.

 

But Atari Corp was hurting. They'd lost $100+ million on Federated, & their main product lines had stopped selling. Moreover, they were out of touch with the video game industry. And, based on some developer statements, the Panther wasn't really ready.

 

I can see the Panther potentially lasting longer than the Jaguar, but I can't see it saving the company. Not any more. :(

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1993 was too early to be a part of the 32-bit generation & too late to be part of the 16-bit generation, so a 1991 release would've given the Panther a timing advantage over the Jaguar, at the very least.
 
But Atari Corp was hurting. They'd lost $100+ million on Federated, & their main product lines had stopped selling. Moreover, they were out of touch with the video game industry. And, based on some developer statements, the Panther wasn't really ready.
 
I can see the Panther potentially lasting longer than the Jaguar, but I can't see it saving the company. Not any more. :(

I think 93 would have been fine if the Jaguar was ready, but like I said before the jaguar was pushed as a replacement to the panther toward developers and made it a goal to bring it out as fast as possible.

If the Jaguar launched with more than two games, more commercials, and had a retail presence than the Jaguar would have sold just because it wasn't a $700 3DO alone. It would have dominated by itself for 3 years. Imagine what AVP would have done if retailers actually had Jaguar stock?

Instead what we got was a buggy console with two games at launch, low retail presence, and few commercial airings. What's most humiliating was that the Jaguar wasn't an uncapable machine but it was getting outsold 3:1 and 5:1 by a $700 console or $500 with no games or accessories. The more the 3DO dropped in price the worse the ratio.

Jaguar should have kicked the 3DO's ass day one. How they screwed that up so bad is Guinness record material imo.

I still stand by they should have put all focus on the Lynx, and used the millions of sales to help fund the jaguar for a 1994 or 5 launch. Also by that time Lynx could have a more portable successor with a back-lit screen and a better resolution. Edited by Bubsy3000

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If panther released at the planned 91 time frame, possibly. They likely would not have won against Nintendo and sega, but could have had an excellent third place setting. Giving them a chance to fix the jaguar and properly release that.

Had jaguar been available in 93 (in retailers, with a selection of games) it could have done really well.

People keep mentioning selling to thousands of retailers, thousands? Wal-Mart, target, sears, toys r us...who else? People forget when a company sells to (deposit store here) they don't ship to individual stores, they ship to one, or a hand full of that stores distribution centers and the store ships to stores.

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You forget how many retailers we're around in the early 90's. These days retailers have consolidated, but back then there were many many more retailers. Not just the US either but Worldwide.

Which if Atari wanted to succeed would have had to do well in at least Europe to have a chance

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Which if Atari wanted to succeed would have had to do well in at least Europe to have a chance

 

Maybe, maybe not.  Bear in mind that the ST and Amiga had made serious inroads in Europe by the time the Panther would have hit the market.  The console explosion of the mid-'90s was still a few years away; people were still buying 16-bit computers in preference to gaming systems.

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