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Serguei2

If Atari released panther instead Jaguar

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The only way panther would have cut it would have been having it made into sex panther, made from real bits of panther and illegal in 9 countries. Pungent, burns the nostrils in a good way, and study showed that 60% of the time, it works every time.

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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.

Interesting.

 

I know Atari lost money in 1983-85 and in 1990s, Atari can't recover of it and cannot afford to have its consoles in all stores.

 

The video game crash 1984 has doomed Atari for the rest of its life.

Edited by Serguei2

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Interesting.

 

I know Atari lost money in 1983-85 and in 1990s, Atari can't recover of it and cannot afford to have its consoles in all stores.

 

The video game crash 1984 has doomed Atari for the rest of its life.

Atari crash had nothing to do with it, Atari Corp had money and then lost it all on dumb decisions. When the Jaguar came out they had not only no funding, but they had no products outside the Lynx that was bringing in revenue.

 

If they kept the 2600/7800/Xegs and maybe restructured the ST and 8-bit lines they may have had some money coming in to use toward a 64-bit system. Instead a console at $700 or $500 with no games and accessories, was spanking it 3:1 BEFORE price drops.

 

It can't be overstated that the Jaguar basically gave the 3DO it's big chance. The two consoles would basically be the only relevant "32-bit" machines for 3 years, and the Jaguar had many chances to take advantage of that 2 year head start, but instead it was DOA after about 5 months.

 

What's amazing is you could arguably credit the 3DO not being DOA almost entirely on Atari. An Atari Jaguar with more games at launch, retail presence, and better marketing and management would have had the 3DO crumbling to pieces day one, and it's affordable price point would have moved millions. But what we got was a horrible managed company with no budget, two games at launch, slow first 5 months, limited retail footprint, and lack of advertising. Even the 32X sold more than the Jaguar.

 

I know people will mention the 3DO didn't launch with a slew of games either, but when games like Crash'N Burn look and run better than all the games the jaguar had out and advertised for MONTHS then its quite clear they screwed up big time. 3DO had time to not only grab all the software support and retail presence, but was bumped up in prestige. Atari never recovered and 3DO had time to even drop it's price down. 3DO interviews with ex-employees have stated the 3DO would have went on into 1998 but the price battle with the PSX in 1996 was making 3DO zero money even with the huge sales increases. If the 3DO was introduced at even $50 more than the Jaguars price it likely would have been the next PSX or at least second place.

 

Atari would have had a comeback easily if the Jaguar was ready. Games of AVP or Rayman quality from day one would have completely changed how things played out. But Sam Tramiel had no idea what he was doing and helped a Company(3DO that introduced an overpriced product, with an unsustainable business model, become the machine everyone wanted to own.

 

If Atari released the Panther with slightly more funding in 1991 it it managed to last two years, the same thing would have happened. Only difference would be the 3DO would have looked even MORE like a super powered gaming device. In fact in that scenario people may not have minded paying $500 as much since there would be no console near its equal for years.

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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.

It would only need to sell a few million, not PSX levels for Europe to be a big help. But It could have been possible for the Jaguar to be huge with just NA sales...If the console was ready.

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My opinion is pretty much the same as Sega. The console should have been even more powerful and in the meantime release a slimmer version of their handheld with new games (Lynx III with MK2 and Street Fighter 2).

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My opinion is pretty much the same as Sega. The console should have been even more powerful and in the meantime release a slimmer version of their handheld with new games (Lynx III with MK2 and Street Fighter 2).

Atari did release a slimmer version of their handheld. they called it the Lynx II (debatably confusing name)

 

As for power, the Jaguar was actually pretty powerful, it was just designed really bad. Too many bugs and bottlenecks. They put it out before it was ready, 1994 at the earliest is when it should have released, maybe spring. Have Rayman, Tempest, and Alien Vs. Predator available day one. Also pay their damn programmers so they don't get revenge by release intentionally buggy games.

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It would only need to sell a few million, not PSX levels for Europe to be a big help. But It could have been possible for the Jaguar to be huge with just NA sales...If the console was ready.

 

Understood, but consoles never took off the same way in Europe as they did in North America prior to about 1994-5. Because of this, it's inconceivable that the Panther would have sold a few million units in Europe in the early '90s.

 

The Amstrad GX4000 and (to a lesser extent) the Commodore 64GS are good examples of this: both came from established computer manufacturers, both were introduced in late 1990, and both failed hard. Those devices and companies behind them had their own sets of circumstances that contributed to this, but the reality is that the move from 8-bit to 16-bit home computers was in full swing, most European consumers preferred computers over consoles, and the console market that was starting to emerge was heavily dominated by Sega in most territories. The Panther would have been the wrong product at the wrong time in that region.

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Understood, but consoles never took off the same way in Europe as they did in North America prior to about 1994-5. Because of this, it's inconceivable that the Panther would have sold a few million units in Europe in the early '90s.

 

The Amstrad GX4000 and (to a lesser extent) the Commodore 64GS are good examples of this: both came from established computer manufacturers, both were introduced in late 1990, and both failed hard. Those devices and companies behind them had their own sets of circumstances that contributed to this, but the reality is that the move from 8-bit to 16-bit home computers was in full swing, most European consumers preferred computers over consoles, and the console market that was starting to emerge was heavily dominated by Sega in most territories. The Panther would have been the wrong product at the wrong time in that region.

Well since that post was referring to the Jaguar, I think that a 1993 head start would have given the jaguar, if it was ready and had games, a good million or so before the late 90's console explosion happened and rose to a few million after that.

 

For the panther it's a bit more iffy. But a 1991 Panther would be a big graphical improvement to the Mega Drive which sold around 4-5 million before the console boom so I don't think, if the panther was ready and Atari had money, it would be impossible for the hypothetical Panther to grab 2 million or so. Not much more than that certainly.

 

It's why I always believed that a PSX situation couldn't have happened in Europe until the late 90's. Even game developers have said that the MegaDrive could have sold PSX levels if it was managed well, but I don't believe that's possible for the reasons you stated: computers were the main platform.

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The way Atari was back then, they could've had a system as powerful as XBOX One X and STILL fuck it up.

 

I have a feeling "Atari" of today is in the same category...

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I have a feeling "Atari" of today is in the same category...

 

Not quite, because Atari SA has yet to actually produce a piece of hardware. At least the Panther existed as devkits.

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For the panther it's a bit more iffy. But a 1991 Panther would be a big graphical improvement to the Mega Drive which sold around 4-5 million before the console boom so I don't think, if the panther was ready and Atari had money, it would be impossible for the hypothetical Panther to grab 2 million or so. Not much more than that certainly.

 

I think that the panther also would have a problem due to the lack of colour - the line buffer only supports 32 colours per line - less than the 64 colours ( more with shadow/highlight ) on MegaDrive.

Also a 16 pixel sprite would be 4 longs in ramfor the control (8 cycles ) + 4 words of ROM data ( 16 cycles ) - given 1024 cycles per line this allows 42 sprites per line - more than the MegaDrive, but without any background screens...

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The way Atari was back then, they could've had a system as powerful as XBOX One X and STILL fuck it up.

Well, an Xbox powered Atari in the early 90's would have been sold by everyone else as a miracle and Atari screwing up really wouldn't matter because the machine would sell itself.

 

unless it was $1000 or more of course.

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I think that the panther also would have a problem due to the lack of colour - the line buffer only supports 32 colours per line - less than the 64 colours ( more with shadow/highlight ) on MegaDrive.

Also a 16 pixel sprite would be 4 longs in ramfor the control (8 cycles ) + 4 words of ROM data ( 16 cycles ) - given 1024 cycles per line this allows 42 sprites per line - more than the MegaDrive, but without any background screens...

Not really, while that may make some iffy Sprite games, but still competitive somewhat, the Panther was capable of polygons at a certain level without chips like the SNES and GEN did with Star Fox and Virtua Racing, and that may have been enough back then. Sure years later few would go back to it because the 3D would have aged like shit but for the time that would have likely been a big deal.

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A quick read of the following threads should explain the situation easily enough:

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/80735-panther/page-1

 

 

 

http://assemblergames.com/threads/the-atari-panther-the-game-claims-uk-press-coverage-etc.66307/

 

 

1.Atari themselves admitted Panther was behind schedule on development and they didn't have the resources to support 2 console launches at once.

 

2.The hardware didn't live upto Atari's claims of number of sprites on screen at any 1 time in terms of actual in game performance. It was also bugged and had a pathetic amount of Ram.

 

3.It had it's fans in terms of Jeff Minter and Guildo H, but the majority of people whom i contacted who'd actually written demo code for it, started on actual games or written it's O/S and these are people from Atari Corp, Hand Made Software etc, feel it would of done nothing to save Atari.

 

4.Would games like The Crypt..moved from the ill fated Konix Multisystem, Strider II (Tiertex) awful on everything it did arrive on, Shadow Of The Beast, Jeff Minter doing an Ian M.Banks inspired Star Raiders affair and some original games by Rob Z.and Gary Johnson of done anything to draw people away from the SNES and Genesis with their vast line up's of original games and big name conversions?

 

No.

 

Even if Imagitec Design were at least planning to convert (i remain very skeptical they were actually started until some concrete proof is found, not just Martin Hooley is convinced they were in case of 1st 2..3rd is a possible) Raiden, Humans and possibly Daemonsgate an over hyped, under delivering Ultima style RPG, born from the ashes of Imagitec Design's failed attempt to do an RPG for Ocean based on Clive Barker's Nightbreed game, you still have a very weak selection of launch games.

 

Panther was yet another Atari disaster in the making.

 

I say that as an ST,2600,800XL,Lynx and Jaguar owner.

 

We didn't need another console to add to the things could of been so different, if only....saga of Atari.

Edited by Lost Dragon
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A quick read of the following threads should explain the situation easily enough:

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/80735-panther/page-1

 

 

 

http://assemblergames.com/threads/the-atari-panther-the-game-claims-uk-press-coverage-etc.66307/

 

 

1.Atari themselves admitted Panther was behind schedule on development and they didn't have the resources to support 2 console launches at once.

 

2.The hardware didn't live upto Atari's claims of number of sprites on screen at any 1 time in terms of actual in game performance. It was also bugged and had a pathetic amount of Ram.

 

3.It had it's fans in terms of Jeff Minter and Guildo H, but the majority of people whom i contacted who'd actually written demo code for it, started on actual games or written it's O/S and these are people from Atari Corp, Hand Made Software etc, feel it would of done nothing to save Atari.

 

4.Would games like The Crypt..moved from the ill fated Konix Multisystem, Strider II (Tiertex) awful on everything it did arrive on, Shadow Of The Beast, Jeff Minter doing an Ian M.Banks inspired Star Raiders affair and some original games by Rob Z.and Gary Johnson of done anything to draw people away from the SNES and Genesis with their vast line up's of original games and big name conversions?

 

No.

 

Even if Imagitec Design were at least planning to convert (i remain very skeptical they were actually started until some concrete proof is found, not just Martin Hooley is convinced they were in case of 1st 2..3rd is a possible) Raiden, Humans and possibly Daemonsgate an over hyped, under delivering Ultima style RPG, born from the ashes of Imagitec Design's failed attempt to do an RPG for Ocean based on Clive Barker's Nightbreed game, you still have a very weak selection of launch games.

 

Panther was yet another Atari disaster in the making.

 

I say that as an ST,2600,800XL,Lynx and Jaguar owner.

 

We didn't need another console to add to the things could of been so different, if only....saga of Atari.

I'm with you but #4 seems a bit iffy. I think one thing people do when they bring up software as an advantage for the GEN/SNES they don't look at the NA market by itself but worldwide.

 

In NA the SNES came out in 1991, and it wouldn't skyrocket until Street Fighter II the next year. The Genesis basically relied on Sonic until 1993-94 which is when the genesis started getting it's big hitting games like Aladdin, MK1, Nba Jam and others. The Genesis itself sold well but you'd be surprised at how much of a slow burner it was in the U.S. for actual game sales. Genesis got most of its best selling LTD games after 1992, that would be 4 years later from launch, in contrast to the 1 year it took for the SNES to skyrocket in software sales.

 

I don't think based on the above it would be impossible for an Atari with a "finished" Panther to grab a few impressive looking games and giving itself a good start. It would result in Atari getting those ports of MK and SF that the Gen/SNES did as well. While the SNES would still likely end up winning Atari may have been able to take advantage of the slow burn of the Genesis as well as capitalizing on its screw ups later on for a solid second place.

 

On paper.

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Atari secured Virgin as a Jaguar developer, badly wanted Aladdin on Jaguar, never got it.

 

Acclaim weren't going to give Jaguar MK II and when Atari secured MK III they gave the conversion duties to Probe.

 

Bill Rehbock was supposed to of been sent to Japan to try and secure software support from likes of Capcom, but Capcom themselves said Atari had burnt too many bridges in the past.

 

Atari tried to get Vivid Image to develop on Panther (Street Racer, Last Samurai), but again due to their reputation Vivid Image refused to sign up.

 

Stephen Landrum has openly spoken about the uphill struggle it was to convince developers to back the Lynx now it was in Atari's hands..

 

For all the Sega CD's failings,it had Mortal Kombat, The Terminator, Final Fight, Jurassic Park,Lethal Enforcers Samurai Showdown,SOTB II,Snatcher,etc

 

Some big name film licences, plus support from Konami and Capcom.

 

Panther wouldn't of been ready until SNES and MD firmly established.

 

Where as Sega and Nintendo had 3rd party development teams like Treasure, Capcom and Konami..

 

Atari were hoping to secure victory with Tiertex, Imagitec Design, HMS, etc

 

If you look at the press clippings announcing Panther being scrapped in favour of Jaguar, Atari were hoping to have UK Jaguar coming in at £150 to match the SNES..pipe dream.

 

I think the Tramiel's knew it'd be commercial suicide trying to compete with another 16 bit console in a market place Sega and Nintendo had sewn up.

 

By attempting to put so much clear blue water between them and their rivals with the whole,Atari will be the 1st to deliver 64 bit technology itself was a huge gamble that backfired as Atari lacked the resources to deliver the numbers of Triple A games it needed to showcase the difference between Jaguar and it's 16 bit rivals.

 

More colourful versions of existing 16 bit games did little for the Jaguar and i fear it would of been a similar situation for the Panther.

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Atari secured Virgin as a Jaguar developer, badly wanted Aladdin on Jaguar, never got it.

 

Acclaim weren't going to give Jaguar MK II and when Atari secured MK III they gave the conversion duties to Probe.

 

Bill Rehbock was supposed to of been sent to Japan to try and secure software support from likes of Capcom, but Capcom themselves said Atari had burnt too many bridges in the past.

 

Atari tried to get Vivid Image to develop on Panther (Street Racer, Last Samurai), but again due to their reputation Vivid Image refused to sign up.

 

Stephen Landrum has openly spoken about the uphill struggle it was to convince developers to back the Lynx now it was in Atari's hands..

 

For all the Sega CD's failings,it had Mortal Kombat, The Terminator, Final Fight, Jurassic Park,Lethal Enforcers Samurai Showdown,SOTB II,Snatcher,etc

 

Some big name film licences, plus support from Konami and Capcom.

 

Panther wouldn't of been ready until SNES and MD firmly established.

 

Where as Sega and Nintendo had 3rd party development teams like Treasure, Capcom and Konami..

 

Atari were hoping to secure victory with Tiertex, Imagitec Design, HMS, etc

 

If you look at the press clippings announcing Panther being scrapped in favour of Jaguar, Atari were hoping to have UK Jaguar coming in at £150 to match the SNES..pipe dream.

 

I think the Tramiel's knew it'd be commercial suicide trying to compete with another 16 bit console in a market place Sega and Nintendo had sewn up.

 

By attempting to put so much clear blue water between them and their rivals with the whole,Atari will be the 1st to deliver 64 bit technology itself was a huge gamble that backfired as Atari lacked the resources to deliver the numbers of Triple A games it needed to showcase the difference between Jaguar and it's 16 bit rivals.

 

More colourful versions of existing 16 bit games did little for the Jaguar and i fear it would of been a similar situation for the Panther.

This thread is about the Panther not the Jaguar, in NA 1991 SNES and Genesis didn't sewn up anything yet so I don't get this. Also the Jaguar had differentiating games in 1st half 94, the Jags problem wasn't triple A games, it was money. Jag could have had 12 10/10 goty games in a row, meant nothing if Atari couldn't market them or produce enough units of software/hardware to sell. Look at AVP.

 

Yeah those games missed the Jaguar but would they have missed a console that came out at the same time as the SNES? Especially if the Panther ended up being finished and got some show off games at launch?

 

The Jaguar cameout in 1993, late, buggy, and hard to develop for, and was being sucker punched by its direct competitor. A complete Panther, on paper, would have none of those problems and be easy to port to.

 

Not to mention that the Genesis would not really start taking off in game sales until 1993 relying on sonic 1 and 2 for the most part along with a slew of hit and miss games. SNES would still getmajor help by SFII and alot more money for marketing, but I think, on paper, a second place Panther would be possible, provided the Panther got some decent games that showed off the capabilities.

 

That 2-2.5 year difference between the supposed Panther launch and the 93 Jaguar launch makes a huge difference in the US market. Atari would have literally released the Panther at the best possible time if it was released without bugs in 91.

 

If the Panther had more colorful games and some capability advantages to the SNES at launch that would be a reason one would buy a Panther over an SNES. Ifeel people keep forgetting the SNES came out in 91 in the US. It's one of the original reasons some Atari fans were mad at the Panthers cancellation.

Edited by Bubsy3000

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Good question...but I'm not really sure if it would've made too big a difference globally, to be honest.

 

Nintendo was always going to have Japan on lock w/ SFC, even though the PC-Engine did pretty well there until its release and a decent while afterwards. America would've been interesting but seeing as how Genesis would be exploding w/ Sonic AND the SNES launching the same year, unless Panther had a REALLLLY strong killer app at launch, it would just have gotten lost in the shuffle. A prime time for them to launch in America would've been 1990 in that case, not 1991, because assuming the TurboGraphx was still floundering, they'd only have to worry about Genesis, which had a strong library even then but nothing that was a mega killer-app the way Sonic would be. Though I wonder if Atari would've had any 1st party stuff to rival games like Revenge of Shinobi or Castle of Illusion, or 3rd party stuff on the level of say Gaires, I'm sure they maybe could've done some comparable stuff or acquire some arcade ports of solid platormers and action games of the time. It'd of been cool to see something like Haunting Starring Poultryguy 2 on the Panther maybe.

 

Europe would've been interesting too, b/c Atari's brand was much stronger there vs. the rest of the world at that time (assuming the 2 million Jaguar preorder numbers are true which...I kinda doubt...did the PS4 even get 2 million preorders in Europe before it's release? And that'd of been with a much bigger home console market, to boot). As far as consoles are concerned, Europe was mainly Sega land before Sony entered the picture, thanks to Master System, but NES did decently there too and SNES helped expand Nintendo in the region quite strongly. A '91 Panther there would've went over better than in America imo, but to what degree is questionable, again considering everything plays out the same for MegaDrive and SNES in that region. In the worst-case scenario, I could see Atari and Nintendo battling it out for 2nd in Europe, Atari coming in 3rd but kind of like how 360 is considered "3rd" in the 7th gen race (when the difference between it and PS3 are so small it's practically like a margin of error). If they got a few killer apps but cut Panther short for Jaguar, I could see them beating Nintendo there but again, not by some obvious measure, and it'd be pretty close between them, Nintendo, and Sega in that region.

 

BUT, if they did EVERYTHING right, got the right killer apps and didn't cut Panther short for Jaguar (basically pushing Jaguar back to mid/late 1995), I could see them actually placing 1st in the European region slightly ahead of Sega and Nintendo (assuming things played out the same with those two), and that'd definitely help with the Jaguar going into the 5th gen. In fact, a stronger Atari in Europe and America (even if they'd do poorly in Japan b/c of SFC) might've actually prevented Sony from jumping into the fray w/ PS1, or at least not having nearly as runaway a pull in America and Europe w/ the system. They (Sony) probably would've been a strong regional thing in Japan though,

 

That said, ALL OF THIS assumes things play out the same with Nintendo, Sega and Sony, which basically means everything with Atari would have to happen in a vacuum which we all know would never be the case. I think a strong Panther would've given Atari more time to iron out the kinks with Jaguar, but probably stick with the same spec. A later Jaguar likely would've meant a cancelled 32X since that was designed mainly for Jaguar and 3DO in the first place, as there'd of been no reason for Japan to keep Saturn from the SoA team given they'd also be releasing in America in '95. Now, both Jaguar and Saturn are systems with "questionable" architectures but while we got some examples of what Saturn could do to its fullest, that never really happened with Jaguar. A Jaguar w/o the bugs and a better SDK likely would've seen stronger 3D games in its lifetime but from what I've seen from the demoscene, the unit's potential is impressive but Saturn still seemed to have the better hardware. So there wouldn't have been a pressure on Sega to fuck up the launch in America by trying to beat a stronger + cheaper system to the punch.

 

As for Nintendo, I think them seeing Jaguar going cartridge-based would have reassured them to stick w/ carts for the N64, creating an interesting scenario for Japanese devs. We all know how many abandoned Nintendo to go to Sony, but assuming Sony go console-less (more on that in a minute), I think we'd see a more balanced split of support w/ them between Nintendo and Sega, basically like w/ SNES + MegaDrive but not as lopsided in certain genres. I.E I could easily see Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest on Saturn, but still having N64 versions too. Games like Ridge Racer having Saturn + N64 editions, same w/ Resident Evil, Street Fighter etc. Games with a stronger focus on the Japanese reason I think would be more likely to use Saturn as the lead, and make more use of the CD medium like what we saw w/ PS games, but others like, say, Contra, would be more similar between the systems. That being said, I think Saturn would've been even more a JRPG house than it actually was, which even in that gen was only outdone by the PS1 in sheer volume of games in that genre. As for system rankings, things playing out this way I'd call it 1) Saturn, 2)N64 and 3)Jaguar.

 

American devs would definitely support the Jaguar more strongly, however, with both better ports and some actual exclusives, though I could see them having a slight preference for Nintendo and Sega, probably pushing the platformers more on Nintendo and action/sports stuff more on Sega, leaving Jaguar with their attention for mature content or possibly FPS games, seeing as how AVP was received and the Doom port, and the controller having some decent potential for the genre. Rankings here would be harder to call; Nintendo technically did reverse and eventually pull ahead of Genesis in America thanks to DKC and a few other games that season, but Sega also pretty much abandoned the Genesis for Saturn the following year. Again, though, no 32X = no pissed off customers over its short life = extended Genesis support = more interesting tail-end of the 16-bit battle in America = much stronger prospects for Saturn there. Especially considering Saturn would benefit from the PS games practically begging for the CD format, on a platform not using a CD drive as an add-on (meaning devs could count on all owners having the feature there). So with that said, I could see America going 1)Saturn, 2)Jaguar and 3)N64 ONLY if Panther does particularly strong, and N64 still keeps its '96 release. Otherwise, swap Nintendo with Atari in that case.

 

Europe would be an interesting case to watch, too. A strong Panther there would mean a quite stronger Jaguar and that would've actually done some damage to both Nintendo and Sega. Saturn would benefit from having CD out of the box but Jaguar would benefit from Atari's computer brand name and a good Panther performance. Assuming Jaguar and Saturn released at the same time or roughly the same time, it'd really come down to the launch lineups for defining the starting positions of those two. Jaguar would've had stronger stuff than friggin' Cybermorphs and even Tempest 2000, but Saturn wouldn't have had the terrible 1st port of Daytona or buggy Virtua Fighter. It also would've benefited from likely having early Namco stuff onboard too like Ridge Racer and Tekken, but those would also have gotten Jaguar versions and, outside of RedBook audio for the Saturn versions, there likely wouldn't be much of a difference between those versions of those games. OTOH, something like D or Lunacy wouldn't be possible on Jaguar w/o significant reworking, but at the same time, D and Lunacy weren't exactly killer apps (fun games, though).

 

So I could see the first year in Europe with Jaguar pulling ahead of Saturn, if rather neck-and-neck. But by the time games like Resident Evil would release, I could see the Saturn closing the distance and maybe pulling ahead, because while you'd get an equivalent version on Jaguar...you'd need to pony up an extra $200 for the Jaguar CD for the full experience. Even a $150 Jaguar + $200 Jaguar CD ($350 total) looks sort of a bad deal compared to say a $250 or even $200 Saturn by that point in time. Offsetting that could, of course, be done w/ say striking a deal to pack in Resident Evil w/ Jaguar CD units, and in that instance I could see Jaguar as a whole maintaining the lead. The only other option for Jaguar to maintain a lead over Saturn by the time games like Resident Evil and Tomb Raider came about, would be to have a QUITE commanding Year 1, but I don't see that being possible with in a best-case scenario as it'd mean Atari needing to have pretty much the best 1st party talent in the industry; I could DEFINITELY see their 1st party stuff being much better than it ended up being w/ Jaguar as we know it, but (imho) still not quite on Sega or Nintendo's caliber or level, meaning they'd rely more on 3rd party but wouldn't have Sony's deep pockets to make 3rd parties completely ignore other options..at least none of the big names like Square or Konami. I COULD see them swinging some European development studios to the Jaguar tho as a main or exclusive focus, like an exclusive Turrican sequel or convincing microcomputer European devs to jump over to Jaguar with some of those games...which in theory could have given them that commanding league, by how much I'm not sure of honestly.

 

Assuming that would happen and the N64 still released as normal, Europe rankings would've either been: 1)Jaguar, 2)Saturn, 3)N64 (assuming a very noticeable Year 1 lead for Jaguar AND Jaguar CD coming out in time for 32-bit games really pushing the CD medium like RE and Tomb Raider), or : 1)Jaguar, 2)Saturn, 3)N64 >> (post RE/Tomb Raider etc.) 1)Saturn, 2)Jaguar, 3)N64 (assuming Jaguar's Year 1 was not a commanding lead over Saturn, and efforts like getting RE or Tomb Raider packed-in w/ Jaguar CD never happening).

 

So uh, yeah, I think in this timeline, funny enough Sega actually benefits more than Atari, and N64 is severely hurt by the late release and being the "other" cartridge-based system b/c of that release timing. That said, I see America being quite closer for Saturn and Jaguar than it was for, say, PS1 and N64, and in Europe I'd see them being even closer than that, more like Genesis/SNES levels there between Jaguar and Saturn, hell maybe even a bit closer than that.

 

You might've noticed I haven't factored Sony into this; truth be told, I think a stronger Atari and Sega in the West would've deterred Sony from (at the very least) pushing PS1 strongly in those regions; people tend to downplay how much PS1 benefited from a late Nintendo, practically dead Atari and panic mode Sega. And, with 2 out of those 3 being in better condition, a PS1 that can't get big traction outside of Japan, might as well be a PS1 that never existed. Sony may've had the money but it wasn't JUST the money that helped PS1 get so big; it was money + taking strategic advantage of Atari, Nintendo and Sega's failings that gen. They theoretically could've put PS1 out there anyway but it likely would've tried releasing closer to N64's release date in the West (and get drowned out by N64 hype) or pulled a Sega and release earlier-than-needed like Spring '95 (and having a poor launch because of it), killing them even earlier in the West than the May surprise release killed Saturn in that market (Sony execs, who were already weary on PS1, would've pulled out very quickly in a bad launch rather than "throw out good money with bad"). Either way, without both of those conditions (money + weak competitors) being true, PS1 would've only done marginally better than the 3DO, and that would've been mainly due to price. The only reason I think it'd of still done pretty decently in Japan is b/c of it being an affordable CD-based alternative to Saturn; depending on what Japanese support they could muster, they'd likely pull in a pretty strong 2nd to Saturn in that region, setting them up very well for PS2 (but PS2 wouldn't have been the mammoth it became, either).

 

That brings up the question then of what Sony'd do if they skipped PS1. Well, they'd still probably partner with someone. Them partnering with Sega would just create an even stronger global success for Saturn, maybe a bit less than what the PS1 itself actually did eventually, but not too far off (maybe around the 70-80 million LTD sales). Atari would be more interesting; Sony's financial strength would allow Atari to do some of those things I mentioned above like Re/Tomb Raider pack-in deals w/ Jaguar CD a reality, and maintain a Jaguar lead in Europe. That'd probably result in a pretty strong global performance, but not to the level of a 70-80 million Saturn in this situation. Likely closer to 55-65 million LTD for a 1st place Jaguar in this scenario. Of course, this all assumes them partnering with Sony and still going the Jaguar/Jaguar CD route. I could see a partnership w/ Sony either (most likely) creating a Jaguar + "Jaguar CD" that's basically a later revision integrating the cartridge and CD functionality while phasing out the base CD-less version, (somewhat less likely) option of a Sony-manufactured Jaguar in Japan w/ a CD drive and cartridge and Atari-manufactured Jaguars in the West w/ just the cartridge and a later CD peripheral (likely to sell for cheaper than what Jaguar CD sold for, say $50 cheaper) or (least likely) a redesigned Jaguar with a CD drive instead of cartridge. Keep in mind all options of a Jaguar w/ a built-in CD drive would probably incur a delay by at least a year (so, a late '95 release in Japan, late '96 release in the West), and in this scenario I see Saturn having a stronger Year 1 and Year 2 but eventually likely being passed by Jaguar in Europe...and creates a pretty dismal scenario for Nintendo in the home console front. I'm talking "Gamecube may be our last home console" scenario, here, tho long-term it'd just mean Nintendo shifting to portables even earlier and that'd probably mean the DS coming out and dominating even earlier, or even trying the "hybrid" Switch method much earlier and bringing Wii functionality to 6th gen instead of 7th gen, and that would see them actually doing pretty damn well, even if a bit less than what the actual DS + Wii managed, mainly b/c there'd be no PS2-like behemoth in that timeline (well, not exactly one, anyway).

 

The absolute LEAST likely scenario here is Sony somehow, someway, getting back on good terms with Nintendo and they proceed with the PS1 as a Sony-Nintendo collaboration. This N64 would release at either '96 (assuming they got to work on it in '92) or '97 (work starts in '93 after spending most of '92 to get back on good terms). So that already puts them considerably behind Saturn and Jaguar in this scenario, but assumes the N64 having a CD drive by default (likely a proprietary format like Dreamcast's GD-ROM) and maybe also still utilize a cartridge slot, with games using both in tandem which could result in some great game concepts for the time. What you'd be looking at here really depends on if it's a '96 or '97 Western launch. '96 in the West would mean late '95 in Japan, and in that case I can actually see the N64 pulling ahead of Saturn there; they'd be able to leverage having strong SFC support there plus offering both CDs and carts (tho Saturn technically could do the same), and it'd still be pretty early in, too. It wouldn't be anywhere near as lopsided as say the SFC/MegaDrive scenario in Japan, but I think you'd still have a notable lead for N64 in the region, even if it'd take a while to do so. I could also see some teams like Square deciding to stick w/ Nintendo exclusively in this scenario, contributing to Japan staying Nintendo territory tho noticeably less so than in the 16-bit era.

 

A late '96 for the West I feel would also probably do somewhat similar for N64's fortunes in America as it did for Japan, eventually overtaking the Saturn but being a pretty close battle between them there, helped by Saturn having a strong Year 1 and (long-term) Sega having a stronger 1st-party team than Atari. The Jaguar loses out here, perhaps strongly, but not to the levels we saw the Saturn fall in the U.S market in our timeline. Europe is actually the one region I can still see Atari eventually doing best in, either in 1st or a strong 2nd, depending on how things go between it and Saturn in Year 1, but I'd also see Nintendo being a healthy 3rd in the region behind whoever is in 2nd. So in terms of rankings, with a late '96 Western release for a CD-based N64, I'd see it as: Japan = 1)N64, 2)Saturn, 3)Jaguar, NA = 1)N64, 2)Saturn, 3)Jaguar and Europe = 1)Jaguar, 2)Saturn, 3)N64 (you can swap Jaguar and Saturn depending on what'd happen with the Jaguar CD and Jaguar having a very strong but not super-dominating Year 1 there).

 

A late '97 release, OTOH, creates some problems. See, in this timeline, a CD-based N64 would not be the Silicon Graphics-based N64 we actually got, but something more modest, closer to PS1 but maybe slightly more capable. That'd be seen as quite good for a '96 console in the West, but by '97 you're talking about an N64 that'd be eclipsed completely by a Dreamcast and Jaguar 2 in terms of power in late '99/2000, and struggling against a Saturn and Jaguar with very large libraries and being available for cheaper (even with Sony backing CD production for this particular N64). You'd basically have an N64 caught in the middle of two generations, lacking the mass-market value and share of its fellow 5th gen rivals and the potential power and features of its upcoming 6th gen successors. And in this scenario there's no way Nintendo' release Gamecube any earlier than 2001, already giving Sega and Atari a full year head start w/ 6th gen (oh, this scenario also assumes Microsoft isn't a factor). This would, imho, be an N64 that's sort of dead-in-the-water; it'd have an initial splash with games like SM64, and maybe the 1st party schedule wouldn't be as staggered, but it'd be a near impossible uphill battle everywhere except Japan, and even there I think even the likes of those games and FFVII wouldn't be enough to stop Saturn or even Jaguar's momentum in that market.

 

The only possible good luck that could come from an N64 releasing this late is either Sega or Atari getting spooked and taking the bad path to an add-on. In this scenario, I see Atari being more vulnerable because they'd already have the Jaguar CD coming as their add-on, and perhaps knowing a CD-based N64 coming a year later could pressure them to do more w/ that unit in terms of advanced features, driving up the cost and incidentally helping both Nintendo and Sega there. This of course would potentially hurt them pretty badly in Europe but again, ONLY if they went too far w/ Jaguar CD. Sega showed restraint w/ add-ons for the Saturn; aside from the NetLink (which wasn't particularly pushed strongly compared to Sega CD or 32X, honestly), other stuff was modestly priced, like the RAM carts, which came with games anyway to justify them as pack-ins. At most, I could see them doing some sort of SVP follow-up concept, but that'd be relatively affordable, likely $60-$80 at most, and likely with modest focus on graphics and most of the focus on either RAM or things like a very fast SRAM pool (iirc the Saturn CPUs had a very small cache pool split between them).

 

So for a late '97 N64 release, you'd have (most likely) rankings of: Japan = 1)Saturn, 2)Jaguar, 3)N64, NA = 1)Saturn, 2)Jaguar, 3)N64, Europe = 1)Saturn, 2)Jaguar, 3)N64 (swap N64 and Jaguar if Atari overdoes the Jaguar CD and pushes it super-hard). In any case, it's obvious that a late '97 Western release for N64 is its worst possible timeline, even if there were a miraculous break for it in Europe. If you consider the '97 release being such a bad thing, the only other option would be to simply skip out of 5th gen altogether; though Nintendo would still have the GameBoy line to fall back on, this puts them in a very dangerous spot similar to where Sega was in '98/'99, except now even worst b/c instead of being "virtually absent" for a year in Western markets, Nintendo's be "virtually absent" GLOBALLY in the 5th gen home console market for several years. This would guarantee an "N64" that's disc-based as a co-Sony collab for either late '98 or late '99 in Japan, re-spec'ed to compete better for 6th gen, but lacking the market relevance of Sega and Atari, ultimately being the biggest problem.

 

They'd need to really push to extend the SNES somehow; possibly by doing another revision launch in '95 integrating the Super FX2 tech into the base unit (or a makeshift "Super FX3" built in) and possibly even a CD drive as well, and phase out the older model for this new one. Give it an MSRP of say $149.99, and position it as a secondary or budget-conscious jump into 32-bit gaming as a complete, integrated package. That would buy them some time against Saturn and Jaguar but eventually would lose out to the both of them, what's important there tho is that by the time it's SERIOUSLY losing out they have the "N64" (really, the "N128" in this scenario) ready to replace it in late '98 in Japan and late '99 in the West. This CD-based SNES revision would also need to be coupled with a strong GameBoy showing, which wouldn't be a problem for Nitendo; together I think the two could have them weather out missing out on 5th gen proper, particularly in Japan where (imho) a CD-based SNES revision w/ built-in "Super FX3" hardware would actually hold off Jaguar and even Saturn there for a little bit, maybe up to a year or so (in any case, it'd get some Square and Enix support which would definitely help keep it relevant, even if they'd also be supporting Saturn as well w/ better versions of say FFVII or Dragon Quest VIII).

 

Shout-outs to anyone who actually read this the whole way through; I get wrapped up in this stuff and wanted to do the idea justice and rationalize my decisions in thinking why things would play out this way. There's a lot of other stuff not factored in here though, like the 3DO, or what would've happened with the 6th gen systems, or Microsoft's involvement (whether they decided to do the Xbox after all or stick with collaborative efforts like Windows CE on Dreamcast); those might be interesting to consider as well. But yeah, long story short, assuming a more passive Sony, a timeline with a stronger Panther actually seems to benefit Sega the most, benefits Atari mightily, and hurts Nintendo the most. That imo holds true even if Sony collabed with Atari. A Sony/Sega collaboration sees Saturn pulling away even further from the pack, but Atari holds their own and Nintendo is pretty crippled in that scenario. While a Sony/Nintendo scenario is the only way I see Nintendo doing strongly even with a stronger Atari/Panther, enough so to take 1st in 2/3 of the big markets (Atari taking Europe) and Sega doing a very strong 2nd in all Big 3 territories. That, of course, assumes a '95 Japan/'96 West release of a CD-based N64, OTHERWISE things get very bad for N64, to the point where actually skipping 5th gen altogether would be better as they could use the SNES as something of a fill-in, provided it's significantly revamped/updated.

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I'm with you but #4 seems a bit iffy. I think one thing people do when they bring up software as an advantage for the GEN/SNES they don't look at the NA market by itself but worldwide.

 

In NA the SNES came out in 1991, and it wouldn't skyrocket until Street Fighter II the next year. The Genesis basically relied on Sonic until 1993-94 which is when the genesis started getting it's big hitting games like Aladdin, MK1, Nba Jam and others. The Genesis itself sold well but you'd be surprised at how much of a slow burner it was in the U.S. for actual game sales. Genesis got most of its best selling LTD games after 1992, that would be 4 years later from launch, in contrast to the 1 year it took for the SNES to skyrocket in software sales.

 

I don't think based on the above it would be impossible for an Atari with a "finished" Panther to grab a few impressive looking games and giving itself a good start. It would result in Atari getting those ports of MK and SF that the Gen/SNES did as well. While the SNES would still likely end up winning Atari may have been able to take advantage of the slow burn of the Genesis as well as capitalizing on its screw ups later on for a solid second place.

 

On paper.

 

Genesis came out in 1989, not 1988, so that was a 3-year period before '92. Also in terms of sales before Sonic the system did pretty well; it didn't skyrocket in the NA market before then, sure, but it wasn't exactly neck-and-neck between it and TurboGraphx-16, either. It was pretty clear by late '90 Genesis was pulling ahead of TurboGraphx in that region.

 

There's actually a pretty big difference between Nintendo and Sega's publishing habits that gen, which you see highlighted most if you look at Sega's 1995 publishing release schedule. They published a whopping 154 games that year across multiple platforms; I'd be surprised if Nintendo published even near a quarter of that number. So yeah, they definitely took a quantity-over-quality approach in that instance and it'd obviously mean greater chances for some turds, but the gems they did publish were true gems, whether or not they set the market on fire. I don't think you can hold non-mega million sale #s against games like Gunstar Heroes or Ristar anymore than you could against something like Earthbound; we know today these games were great games but the market didn't react to them that way at the time. In Sega's case, them releasing so many games actually means they never seemed to focus on any given range in particular (outside of Sonic), but you already mentioned something to that effect in your reply.

 

Just wanted to bring that up to chime my own 2 cents into that particular observation; it doesn't help to look at the sales numbers without looking at the methodology of the publishers behind them. Sega's approach meant they could spread out the numbers on multiple releases and not rely on any given game as a mega-hit to be profitable. Nintendo's approach OTOH meant a given bomb hurt them more (or could hurt them more) with less games to cover the losses; it's why IPs like Earthbound and Metroid were essentially abandoned after a single under-performing game in each that generation. Both methods had their advantages and disadvantages that gen but with today's market costs Sega's method was unsustainable for the long-term, but even they realized this which is partly why they scaled back on total published releases late Saturn and into Dreamcast (unfortunately they failed to capitalize on certain popular IP like Streets of Rage and Eternal Champions which was a detriment that came back to bite them in the ass).

 

Assuming 5th gen would play out as we know it in our timeline, I could see Panther doing strong enough to take Europe and effectively tying with Genesis in America (until SNES pulled ahead), but Japan would still be SFC territory and Brazil would be MegaDrive territory. But hey, at least everyone gets a market to call their own...aside from NEC :(

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Jaguar couldn't have used the same specs in 95. The Jaguar specs are only good for the time it came out. In the best case scenario a balanced, flexible, Dev friendly Jaguar would out perform the 3DO at launch and thus kill the 3DO on arrival leading to 3 years of Jaguar sales to itself.

 

But since this is about the Panther, it's a bit more iffy. Asia was never going to be a thing, Atari lost to ColecoVision in Japan reportedly, and never did well there at any point. The computer industry in the 90's was near dead at that point and what was left was sharp, NEC, and MSX with a crumbling FM Towns. So Atari couldn't get computer recognition either.

 

Europe, a Panther had a chance at succeeding. Atari would just need to get star computer developers to make games on the Panther with a few being exclusive. It wouldn't be hard to show it was more capable than the mega drive either.

 

US is a bit different. There's this misunderstanding about the Genesis in NA it was a slow burner. Most of the genesis' best selling titles were post 93. SNES was closing the gap really fast. Sonic 2 onward helped slow down the SNES momentum but due to lack of long-term software solutions and multiple screw-ups SNES passed it.

 

The Panther specs were clearly better than the 88 tech in the Genesis, so I think a good launch with some show-off games would have likely ended up in second place for similar reasons for why the SNES would end up in first.

 

 

As for the 3DO, it would be a battle royal. A Panther 91 launch would remove a 93 Jaguar launch, leading the 3DO to launch by itself with no Jag giving it a comparison boost. This would Lead to either one or two things.

 

One, it would lead to the 3DO dominating with third party devs and having a huge quality library as its price went down. Or two, the first console to release after 3DO would likely be end up getting all the software support.

 

But I think the former would be more likely. Metal Gear, FF7, Rude Racer, etc all considered or originally had 3DO games in mind. Those games would have likely released on it if it was the only capable system in town getting all the attention for several years.

 

I don't think your theory of a 97 N64 launch would work. It had to launch no later than 96. The Dreamcast would come out in 98, and PC graphics would be right behind it. The N64 would get slaughtered.

 

Your JAG spec theory would change the Saturn issue as well. As I said before, the Jaguar can't have it's 93 specs in 95, it would be demolished. It'd likely be stronger, likely leading to the late release Jaguar being more powerful and easier to develop than the Saturn, likely leading to the same NA and European Saturn outcome and the DC releasing 2.5 years later.

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Genesis came out in 1989, not 1988, so that was a 3-year period before '92. Also in terms of sales before Sonic the system did pretty well; it didn't skyrocket in the NA market before then, sure, but it wasn't exactly neck-and-neck between it and TurboGraphx-16, either. It was pretty clear by late '90 Genesis was pulling ahead of TurboGraphx in that region.

 

There's actually a pretty big difference between Nintendo and Sega's publishing habits that gen, which you see highlighted most if you look at Sega's 1995 publishing release schedule. They published a whopping 154 games that year across multiple platforms; I'd be surprised if Nintendo published even near a quarter of that number. So yeah, they definitely took a quantity-over-quality approach in that instance and it'd obviously mean greater chances for some turds, but the gems they did publish were true gems, whether or not they set the market on fire. I don't think you can hold non-mega million sale #s against games like Gunstar Heroes or Ristar anymore than you could against something like Earthbound; we know today these games were great games but the market didn't react to them that way at the time. In Sega's case, them releasing so many games actually means they never seemed to focus on any given range in particular (outside of Sonic), but you already mentioned something to that effect in your reply.

 

Just wanted to bring that up to chime my own 2 cents into that particular observation; it doesn't help to look at the sales numbers without looking at the methodology of the publishers behind them. Sega's approach meant they could spread out the numbers on multiple releases and not rely on any given game as a mega-hit to be profitable. Nintendo's approach OTOH meant a given bomb hurt them more (or could hurt them more) with less games to cover the losses; it's why IPs like Earthbound and Metroid were essentially abandoned after a single under-performing game in each that generation. Both methods had their advantages and disadvantages that gen but with today's market costs Sega's method was unsustainable for the long-term, but even they realized this which is partly why they scaled back on total published releases late Saturn and into Dreamcast (unfortunately they failed to capitalize on certain popular IP like Streets of Rage and Eternal Champions which was a detriment that came back to bite them in the ass).

 

Assuming 5th gen would play out as we know it in our timeline, I could see Panther doing strong enough to take Europe and effectively tying with Genesis in America (until SNES pulled ahead), but Japan would still be SFC territory and Brazil would be MegaDrive territory. But hey, at least everyone gets a market to call their own...aside from NEC :(

This doesn't work because based on Nintendo games and Third-party games the million sellers list is much bigger than Segas and it's across many devs and genres. Segas strategy of throwing everything at the wall hurt The Genesis' ability to sell cross platform games. SFii SNES and Genesis is a good example. Also I know the Gen released in 89 but it was 88 tech, and that ended up becoming an issue later in the Gens life.

 

Also we can't forget the SNES was closing the gap fast. Beating the TG16 was one thing but the amount of Gens before Sonic wasn't big enough to prevent the massive coverage the SNES was getting. Sonic 2 onward Sega slowed it down and arguably even increased the gap a few times but Sega had nothing to keep long-term interest, and their later screw ups lost them first place.

 

A Panther would likely do the same, especially since it would be more powerful. It still would lose to the SNES, but I easily see a Panther hitting second due to Sega screw ups.

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By 1990 the only way Atari could have succeeded was with a "Neo Geo" approach. Atari was never going to be #1 in sales again, but they could have captured a niche market with a loyal fanbase. This imaginary Atari could have skipped direct competition with Sega and Nintendo to instead offer a superior system, the Neo Atari X. This premium system would have kept Atari afloat and somewhat relevant for years.

 

But premium was not the Tramiel way. Love them or hate them, the Tramiels were about mass product for the masses. The Neo Atari X system and the entire approach would never have been approved by a Tramiel Atari.

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I don't think there's a particular misconception w/ Genesis/SNES in America, @Bubsy3000. If anything, I see quite a few misconceptions with people thinking many of the JRPGs SNES is known for did better in the West commercially than they actually did. Prior to Sonic 2 Genesis had modest successes with games like Revenge of Shinobi, Strider and Castle of Illusion but mainly relied on a mixture of those and the sports titles. Again, their publishing strategy was markedly different from Nintendo's in that time; they preferred spreading their releases out in more games not banking on a particular game to "blow up", though yes that did mean it was something of a slower burn. I'd compare early Genesis more to early PlayStation 1; smaller scale of course but the same sort of solid-but-not-hyper-rocket thing that took some time to cook up. But the results in how things progressed once the breakouts did occur is roughly the same. FWIW Nintendo platforms starting w/ SNES tended to have those "big premiers" in terms of sales, but we saw w/ N64 how that can go in the wrong way as well. It's probably actually a testament to how strong Sonic's appeal was in America at the time that it helped offset softer sales of Genesis games in non-sports categories, but those sales weren't so "soft" as if they were essentially "dead", and besides, you have to consider the budget vs. profit considerations there as well. A lot of Sega's stuff in particular were arcade ports, meaning the arcade releases and profits essentially covered the home version's costs in most ways, so it didn't matter if a game like say Turbo Outrun did 500K or 5 million on Genesis or MegaDrive; of course 5 million would be a nice "bonus". Conversely, a game like Earthbound or Super Metroid underperforming with even say "only" 3/4 a million across regions, meant those IPs being shelved for a whole generation.

 

Also, let's be frank here: people tend to retroactively being harsher on the Sega CD than it actually deserves. It's pretty obvious at the time of its commercial availability it wasn't a hindrance on Genesis, otherwise Genesis sales would have sharply constricted. I can definitely agree on the 32X being a problem for the brand image that did hurt it, but Sega CD's influence is overstated. Yes, they did market the FMV games too much in the West, but as far as CD-based options for home platforms and even PCs at the time, you were hard-pressed to find things as value-justified as a Sega CD.

 

I do agree that Jaguar wouldn't have been the same Jaguar in '95 as in '93, but it's also agreed that Jaguar's potential as-is was rarely fully tapped commercially b/c most devs didn't utilize the Tom and Jerry chips, and the system had hardware bugs. To be honest, I think extra dev time would've been rightly prioritized to ironing out those bugs, rather than chucking the Jaguar design out completely for something else. Jaguar's specs were very good for a '93 and even '94 system (going by Japanese release dates), the biggest problem was bugged hardware and devs neglecting Tom + Jerry, not necessarily lack of hardware power. I don't see Atari having the concern or necessarily even the *budget* to take Saturn as such a threat as to redesign Jaguar, and I don't think they may've necessarily needed to, either. For as much as people overstate PS1's capabilities over Saturn, I think some understate Jaguar's in comparison to Saturn and PS1. It likely would've been weaker, yes, but w/ the bugs ironed out and a better SDK environment from the start, it would've been more competitive from Day 1.

 

But like I said, my timeline actually includes the Panther in this discussion: I noticed yours does not, so while in your timeline a Jaguar quite more capable than say Saturn is possible, it also ignores the fact that Atari lacked Sony's pockets to shore up dev/pub/retailer relations in being absent that 16-bit gen, and Lynx wouldn't have been enough on its own to give them mindshare with the home consoles of that time. Atari would've also missed out on designing games to meet the competition in that era head-on and chances at building up strong internal 1st-party dev studios, essentially rendering a more powerful Jaguar a non-issue to Saturn or N64 that generation; Sega and Nintendo's 1st parties alone would be more than enough to sideline a Jaguar w/o a Panther boost, not to mention both of them having working active relations with devs, pubs, and retailers in the home console scene to leverage much stronger than Atari could if they skipped Panther altogether.

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