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Keatah

Computers and the videogame crash of the 80's.

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34 minutes ago, Keatah said:

That was a big stink for me, having a floating point unit. My first 486 had one and I was a little disappointed to learn, even had hard time believing it, that games didn't really make use of it. Not even flight simulators or other simulations. It. Just. Wasn't. Used.

I would think it would at least be used in spreadsheet and other calculation-heavy apps?     I started with a 486DX too, so I've always had an integrated one, and have no idea when it got used.

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1 hour ago, zzip said:

Yeah, this was something that was hard for us teens to wrap our heads around at the time.   If it has all this graphical power, then it has the power to do your business apps.   It's got spreadsheet apps, it's got word processing apps, they can import different formats.   The ST had PC-ditto and Magic Sac to emulate DOS PC's and Macs if you really needed the app itself.

 

And I had in my possession an original IBM PC at one point.   That thing was built like a tank, but wow was it slow!!    I think even my Atari 8-bit ran faster, and my ST certainly did.

 

But what we didn't understand at the time was that while we liked to tinker with exotic hardware,  most adults did not-- not for their job anyway!   They didn't want apps that could read their file format, they wanted Lotus and Wordperfect or whatever.   They didn't want to fiddle with emulators.  It had to work without extra fuss. They wanted keyboards easy to type on, etc.   Sometimes they had floating point co-processors that our hobbyist computers did not, and that made a difference for some apps.   

This is why going back and reading computer magazines (online) as a middle age person, I can now see the type of mentality the adult users that had Atari ST & Amigas in the US. 

 

(Don't get triggered, but back then video gaming was seen as a "kids only" activity which was why parents bought their children Nintendo consoles for gaming while they bought themselves "sophisticated" games that are more like simulations so they can blow off steam after all that number & word crunching.)

 

The 16-bit home computers were primary meant for home office or even small office use where you can do word processing or spreadsheets but don't need a specific application that required a clone PC running MS-DOS.  Yes there were PC emulators but they were so janky to install and use and meanwhile for the same price you could just get a used clone that came with a much better keyboard anyway.

 

And I do realize that for many Europeans, home computers were marketed and sold as 'game machines' but only because Nintendo was unable to penetrate the market early on like they did in Japan and the States.  There was the Sega Master System and Atari 7800 but they were sold at the mid-tier along side low end 8-bit micros and high end 16-bit computers.

 

But the grown ups there still bought PC clones, if not Macs for graphical work...

 

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1 hour ago, Keatah said:

That was a big stink for me, having a floating point unit. My first 486 had one and I was a little disappointed to learn, even had hard time believing it, that games didn't really make use of it. Not even flight simulators or other simulations. It. Just. Wasn't. Used.

 

I have only ever encountered one game that used the FPU/8087: https://www.mobygames.com/game/begin-a-tactical-starship-simulation It actually came in two versions -- one for the bog-standard 8086, and another for a system with with a math co-processor installed.

 

I spent MANY hours playing this game on an 8mhz. PC clone, and it was painfully slow. I used some third-party software to expand the keyboard buffer so that I could enter commands while the game was "thinking". It ran so very much smoother when I ultimately upgraded to a '486. 

 

The last Intel system that I remember having a special math co-processor was the 80386. To the extent that I ever thought about such things, I associated them with heavy engineering and scientific applications -- nothing that I would ever need or use. 

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10 hours ago, Keatah said:

I could guess that durability and construction materials were part of the reason. Software support via MECC was also a known entity. A trusted entity. And that's a big factor. And IIRC Apple subsidized purchases and cut all kinds of deals.

 

Hate to say it, but the Amiga and Atari ST were made of cheap plastic. This made the machine feel cheap. And cheap wouldn't hold up in the education environment.

Tell that to the CCC Microhost Corporation which sold at least 100,000 STs that were used in classrooms around the US. The "cheap plastic" seemed to have held up well for them. Atari even had a 1% market share of the education market in the US at one point. For once, Atari computers were not lumped into the "Other" category in personal computer market share pie charts. 😁

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15 hours ago, MrMaddog said:

for the same price you could just get a used clone that came with a much better keyboard anyway.

That's another thing..  At the time I had not used all that many computers and had no idea how much better keyboards could be than the one I was used to.    A lot of clones didn't exactly have great keyboards either, but the genuine IBM PC ones were a joy to type on

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Interesting thread.

 

The topic about why there weren't more options (in the USA) in-between low cost 8bits and expensive 16bits is an interesting one.  I think @Bill Loguidice tried to answer this in his book "Vintage Game Consoles."  Many compromises were tried, but in the end, people seemed to decide that they already owned the 8bit computer they wanted (or could buy it easily).  Those other in-between options just didn't offer enough to justify a (slightly) higher price.

 

Something that no one has mentioned is that I thought in the height of the crash that computer sales ALSO went down.  It was crash for computers too.  I didn't bother to look that up, but I thought it was a known fact.

 

Also about the ZX Spectrum.  As a typical USA computer user from the 80's, I had no idea about the Spectrum line.  I have now dipped into some of the games in emulation.  There's some really interesting gameplay there, but they look horrendous to me.  The color limitations are immediately recognizable especially on the games that are converted to the C64.  I wouldn't have been able to handle that as a kid.  If those screenshots had been on the back of the box, it would have been an immediate disqualification for me.  Just looking at the C64 update of Atic Atac for instance has made me never want to play the Spectrum version again.  I'll also add that Spectrum stuff just looks nothing like the Colecovision or the MSX.

 

 

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6 hours ago, wongojack said:

 

Something that no one has mentioned is that I thought in the height of the crash that computer sales ALSO went down.  It was crash for computers too.  I didn't bother to look that up, but I thought it was a known fact.

What data do you have for computer sales.  It may have gone down for some manufacturers but over all personal computers sales went up every year.  Only 1987 might have been flat and then it really picked up in 1988.  The commodore 64 had its best years from 1983 to 1986.

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9 hours ago, wongojack said:

Interesting thread.

 

The topic about why there weren't more options (in the USA) in-between low cost 8bits and expensive 16bits is an interesting one.  I think @Bill Loguidice tried to answer this in his book "Vintage Game Consoles."  Many compromises were tried, but in the end, people seemed to decide that they already owned the 8bit computer they wanted (or could buy it easily).  Those other in-between options just didn't offer enough to justify a (slightly) higher price.

 

Something that no one has mentioned is that I thought in the height of the crash that computer sales ALSO went down.  It was crash for computers too.  I didn't bother to look that up, but I thought it was a known fact.

 

Also about the ZX Spectrum.  As a typical USA computer user from the 80's, I had no idea about the Spectrum line.  I have now dipped into some of the games in emulation.  There's some really interesting gameplay there, but they look horrendous to me.  The color limitations are immediately recognizable especially on the games that are converted to the C64.  I wouldn't have been able to handle that as a kid.  If those screenshots had been on the back of the box, it would have been an immediate disqualification for me.  Just looking at the C64 update of Atic Atac for instance has made me never want to play the Spectrum version again.  I'll also add that Spectrum stuff just looks nothing like the Colecovision or the MSX.

 

Here is what I found reguarding computer sales for the 1980s just from the first few pages of results on duckduckgo.

"In 1982, Apple Computer is the first personal computer manufacturer to hit the $1 billion mark for annual sales."

"In the year 1980, there was an issue from popular computing which revealed that there were more than 100 varieties of manufacturers who sold brands that were not compatible. The total number of computers sold in the year 1980 were in the region of $40 million, but grew to nearly 500,000 by 1981.

The year 1985 was supposedly a good year for computer sales as it shot to 3.7 million units but the best year was yet to come and in 2000 more than 132 million computers were sold. The approximate computer sales that have happened are: 

In 1982, it was reported that there were computer sales between 150,000 to 300,000 units.

In the year 1983, the sales crossed more than 2 million units of computers.

In the years 1984, 1985 and 1986, sales of computers were between 2 million to 3 million units.

1987 saw a dip in computer sales dropping down to 1 million to 2 million.

1988 and 1989 was drab for sales of computers, going further down to 1 million to 1.5 million units. 

Even the 1990s saw the decline in sales for computers and it went down to 700,000 to 800,000 until 1991.

1992 was bad for sales and the number of computer units sold was 650,000. However, the worst year could be 1993 where computer sales hit rock bottom at 150,000 to 200,000."

Source: www.pegasus3d.com
Source: www.pegasus3d.com

 

Edited by JamesD
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8 hours ago, JamesD said:

1992 was bad for sales and the number of computer units sold was 650,000. However, the worst year could be 1993 where computer sales hit rock bottom at 150,000 to 200,000.

Really?   This was the era when the "Computer Shopper" magazine was thicker than a phone book.   It contained what seemed like 200,000 ads from computer vendors 😄

 

But makes me wonder, if you built a DIY PC out of parts, did it count as a computer sale?   A lot of us were doing that back then,  and computer shows where you could by parts in person where well attended in those days.

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21 minutes ago, zzip said:

But makes me wonder, if you built a DIY PC out of parts, did it count as a computer sale?   A lot of us were doing that back then,  and computer shows where you could by parts in person where well attended in those days.

I have wondered about this in the modern era, considering that for the past 15 years or so those clowns at Gartner have been telling us "the desktop is dead."

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30 minutes ago, zzip said:

Really?   This was the era when the "Computer Shopper" magazine was thicker than a phone book.   It contained what seemed like 200,000 ads from computer vendors 😄

 

But makes me wonder, if you built a DIY PC out of parts, did it count as a computer sale?   A lot of us were doing that back then,  and computer shows where you could by parts in person where well attended in those days.

It's a quote from a web page like that entire section

 

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Maybe their stats didn't cover all clone sales?
I'd look at intel's CPU sales

(and AMD, Cyrix, ...)

Edited by JamesD
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12 minutes ago, OLD CS1 said:

I have wondered about this in the modern era, considering that for the past 15 years or so those clowns at Gartner have been telling us "the desktop is dead."

Yes, this modern mantra amuses me to no end. Sure, it's not as big as it used to be but very far from "dead". Conversely, not every dip in sales is a proof of something or should be automatically deemed a crash. It certainly did not happen in Europe during the videogame crash, and I don't think in US either.

 

About ZX Spectrum in USA, Timex 2068 was a botched attempt because they tried to improve the hardware but in the process broke compatibility. The US market also had a very strong Atari/Commodore/Apple presence, plus myriad different consoles, and crash in progress. 1983 really was a bad time to push an unknown microcomputer, perhaps if they had a huge marketing budget things would be different, but they didn't and so the rest is history.

 

I don't think Spectrum's lesser specs would matter that much, because it was a huge hit around Europe despite the fact assorted Ataris, C64's and many other "better" micros were also available. It was a great machine and it had many original and immensely playable games, many of which are actually better than on competing platforms (eg I'd much rather play Elite and Bombjack on Spectrum than C64, and even the likes of Renegade are better than on Amiga). Plus, when you're kid and budget is tight you really won't care much about less colour (btw on a B&W set you won't care at all) if it means you can play games now, vs not play games at all.

 

 

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39 minutes ago, OLD CS1 said:

I have wondered about this in the modern era, considering that for the past 15 years or so those clowns at Gartner have been telling us "the desktop is dead."

In the 90s, everyone needed a PC to get on the internet and do email etc.   Now smartphones, ipads, streaming devices provide functionality that you used to need a PC for.   But there are still lots of uses for a PC (or Mac or whatever),  so desktop sales have definitely fallen for that reason.

 

But still.. I'm convinced that organizations like Gartner only exist so that middle managers can cover their ass when making big purchasing decisions.   They've gotten lots of things wrong.

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The point of that sales info post was just to show that computer sales were still climbing during the "crash".
I think families were opting to buy their kids computers instead of video games at that time as they could do more than just play games.

There were over 100 manufacturers making incompatible machines in 1980, and that's manufacturers, not machines.
I think there is a perception there was a crash in the computer market because a lot of those companies failed in the early 80s.
We were starting to see the impact of major software manufacturers only supporting the best selling platforms.
You didn't just port your game to every computer, you picked the best sellers.
While a lot of companies failed, sales were still increasing for the popular machines.

Tandy's policy of not carrying 3rd party software in their stores kept them from getting more support even thought they were one of the sales leaders coming into the 80s.
If Radio Shack had promised to purchase at least one copy of every Infocom, Broderbund, EA, etc... title for every corporate owned store, you can bet they would have gotten support. 
At their peak, Radio Shack had over 7300 stores (probably late 80s, or early 90s, and many were privately owned).
In 1980, that's probably 2000+ guaranteed sales for a new title on day one even with only one copy per store.
If a store sold out, and there weren't any in the warehouse, they can always purchase a title from other stores, so they wouldn't have to stock as much in a warehouse.
 

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42 minutes ago, zzip said:

In the 90s, everyone needed a PC to get on the internet and do email etc.   Now smartphones, ipads, streaming devices provide functionality that you used to need a PC for.   But there are still lots of uses for a PC (or Mac or whatever),  so desktop sales have definitely fallen for that reason.

 

But still.. I'm convinced that organizations like Gartner only exist so that middle managers can cover their ass when making big purchasing decisions.   They've gotten lots of things wrong.

One of the things that came out of the 2020 lock down, is that a lot of people that had been using tablets or phones to browse the internet, send/receive email, etc... suddenly bought PCs to work from home. 
Between interruptions in the supply chain, and record sales, everyone was sold out of just about every computer or common part.
 

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10 hours ago, JamesD said:

Here is what I found reguarding computer sales for the 1980s just from the first few pages of results on duckduckgo.

"In 1982, Apple Computer is the first personal computer manufacturer to hit the $1 billion mark for annual sales."

"In the year 1980, there was an issue from popular computing which revealed that there were more than 100 varieties of manufacturers who sold brands that were not compatible. The total number of computers sold in the year 1980 were in the region of $40 million, but grew to nearly 500,000 by 1981.

The year 1985 was supposedly a good year for computer sales as it shot to 3.7 million units but the best year was yet to come and in 2000 more than 132 million computers were sold. The approximate computer sales that have happened are: 

In 1982, it was reported that there were computer sales between 150,000 to 300,000 units.

In the year 1983, the sales crossed more than 2 million units of computers.

In the years 1984, 1985 and 1986, sales of computers were between 2 million to 3 million units.

1987 saw a dip in computer sales dropping down to 1 million to 2 million.

1988 and 1989 was drab for sales of computers, going further down to 1 million to 1.5 million units. 

Even the 1990s saw the decline in sales for computers and it went down to 700,000 to 800,000 until 1991.

1992 was bad for sales and the number of computer units sold was 650,000. However, the worst year could be 1993 where computer sales hit rock bottom at 150,000 to 200,000."


 

 

 

So no crash for computers but perhaps a slower growth rate than from 80 to 83

 

I also found the quote I was thinking of from Bill's (and Matt Barton's) book regarding machines in-between 8bit and 16bit.  It is on page 116 of Vintage Game Consoles: The Greatest Platforms of All Time.  This is an excellent book and despite its title, it dips deeply into computer platforms.  I was expected to flip through and just re-read things I already knew, but instead, it is deeply engaging with anecdotes and helpful context explanations about each era as well as console/platform.  The quote is this:

 

" . . . no single computer model would ever again enjoy the market share of the C-64 in its heyday.  In hindsight, there was simply no way to replicate that special combination of power and price that the C-64 embodied.  This was evident by the long list of failed competitors in its class, including Commodore's own C-16 and Plus/4, or with enhanced variations like the C-128 or unreleased C-65 prototype., which promised to be the ultimate 8-bit computer.  The problem for these wannabes, however, was that for millions of fans, they already owned the "ultimate" 8-bit computer and would accept no substitutes."

 

And I will insist on my opinion of the ZX Spectrum (the only computer in the Spectrum line I've ever tried).  Based solely on looks, it is the ultimate example of "you had to be there."  As someone who didn't live through the popularity of that platform, it simply looks like a downgraded compromise.

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36 minutes ago, JamesD said:

The point of that sales info post was just to show that computer sales were still climbing during the "crash".
I think families were opting to buy their kids computers instead of video games at that time as they could do more than just play games.

There were over 100 manufacturers making incompatible machines in 1980, and that's manufacturers, not machines.
I think there is a perception there was a crash in the computer market because a lot of those companies failed in the early 80s.
We were starting to see the impact of major software manufacturers only supporting the best selling platforms.
You didn't just port your game to every computer, you picked the best sellers.
While a lot of companies failed, sales were still increasing for the popular machines.

Yeah 1983 was when many families could finally afford their first computers, so it doesn't make sense that there could be a crash that mirrored the console crash.

 

But I think game sales on computers did not fully make up for the drop in sales of console games/arcades,  so computers weren't a cure for that.

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53 minutes ago, wongojack said:

" . . . no single computer model would ever again enjoy the market share of the C-64 in its heyday.  In hindsight, there was simply no way to replicate that special combination of power and price that the C-64 embodied.  This was evident by the long list of failed competitors in its class, including Commodore's own C-16 and Plus/4, or with enhanced variations like the C-128 or unreleased C-65 prototype., which promised to be the ultimate 8-bit computer.  The problem for these wannabes, however, was that for millions of fans, they already owned the "ultimate" 8-bit computer and would accept no substitutes."

 

And I will insist on my opinion of the ZX Spectrum (the only computer in the Spectrum line I've ever tried).  Based solely on looks, it is the ultimate example of "you had to be there."  As someone who didn't live through the popularity of that platform, it simply looks like a downgraded compromise.

The fact that C64 sold most units does not mean that all the other micros have "failed", or that they were "wannabes". Yes, C-16 and some others were abject failures, but the likes of Amstrad CPC, Atari 8-bit or Spectrum have thrived and had millions of fans, plus heaps of quality software. All these machines had different strenghts and weaknesses, and while C64 indeed was the best of the lot it also wasn't without limitations, such as low res gfx and dull colour palette.

 

As for specs in general, the most powerful does not mean the best, it's much more complex than that. If it wasn't, N64 would trounce PSX, Xbox PS2, and Amiga would fold as soon as PC got VGA & Adlib. In regard to Spectrum, being at the bottom of the hardware ladder has proven to be an unexpected boon:

 

Quote

 

"We realised that machines like the C64 had a lot of clever hardware; they did a lot of the hard things – like scrolling and sprites – for you. You could get most of the way to having a game running without knowing that much.

"The Spectrum had nothing. Architecturally, it was a really simple machine for a programmer – it was just a load of Ram and a processor; and the screen itself was just dealt with as part of the ram. You had to do everything the hard way, but it meant that if you managed to get a sprite moving around on the screen, you'd done a lot of really clever stuff.

"Years later, when that generation of coders grew up, Britain was really punching above its weight in the PlayStation era, when you had the start of games like Grand Theft Auto. The Spectrum bred a generation of really smart programmers."

 

These limitations also forced the devs to be more innovative and daring, with the likes of Ultimate kickstarting the whole isometric adventure genre with Knight Lore. They went on to found Rare later... And ZX was hugely influential not just in UK, but in the rest of Europe too. For example, the CEO of CD Projekt Red started  as a ZX Spectrum pirate :)

 

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1 hour ago, youxia said:

Yes, this modern mantra amuses me to no end. Sure, it's not as big as it used to be but very far from "dead". Conversely, not every dip in sales is a proof of something or should be automatically deemed a crash. It certainly did not happen in Europe during the videogame crash, and I don't think in US either.

 

About ZX Spectrum in USA, Timex 2068 was a botched attempt because they tried to improve the hardware but in the process broke compatibility. The US market also had a very strong Atari/Commodore/Apple presence, plus myriad different consoles, and crash in progress. 1983 really was a bad time to push an unknown microcomputer, perhaps if they had a huge marketing budget things would be different, but they didn't and so the rest is history.

 

I don't think Spectrum's lesser specs would matter that much, because it was a huge hit around Europe despite the fact assorted Ataris, C64's and many other "better" micros were also available. It was a great machine and it had many original and immensely playable games, many of which are actually better than on competing platforms (eg I'd much rather play Elite and Bombjack on Spectrum than C64, and even the likes of Renegade are better than on Amiga). Plus, when you're kid and budget is tight you really won't care much about less colour (btw on a B&W set you won't care at all) if it means you can play games now, vs not play games at all.

 

If there had been sufficient sales, companies would have adapted their programs where possible.
Adapting software to the 2068 would have been trivial as far as the internal hardware changes go, however, there are also potential timing issues when going from PAL to NTSC, so compatibility would a problem anyway.
The buss connector change was dumb, but hardware products would have to get FCC approval to sell in the US.
The 2068's chicklet keyboard was guaranteed to draw complaints in reviews.  
With a real keyboard, they *might* have had a chance if Timex could have held on.

 

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3 hours ago, zzip said:

Yeah 1983 was when many families could finally afford their first computers, so it doesn't make sense that there could be a crash that mirrored the console crash.

 

But I think game sales on computers did not fully make up for the drop in sales of console games/arcades,  so computers weren't a cure for that.

If you look at the graphs I shared, computer sales started to really take off in 1982.
I'm not sure they replaced the lost video games sales right away, but that would make sense as computers were more expensive, so people probably had to save up longer to buy a computer.

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3 hours ago, youxia said:

The fact that C64 sold most units does not mean that all the other micros have "failed", or that they were "wannabes". Yes, C-16 and some others were abject failures, but the likes of Amstrad CPC, Atari 8-bit or Spectrum have thrived and had millions of fans, plus heaps of quality software. All these machines had different strenghts and weaknesses, and while C64 indeed was the best of the lot it also wasn't without limitations, such as low res gfx and dull colour palette.

 

As for specs in general, the most powerful does not mean the best, it's much more complex than that. If it wasn't, N64 would trounce PSX, Xbox PS2, and Amiga would fold as soon as PC got VGA & Adlib. In regard to Spectrum, being at the bottom of the hardware ladder has proven to be an unexpected boon:

 

These limitations also forced the devs to be more innovative and daring, with the likes of Ultimate kickstarting the whole isometric adventure genre with Knight Lore. They went on to found Rare later... And ZX was hugely influential not just in UK, but in the rest of Europe too. For example, the CEO of CD Projekt Red started  as a ZX Spectrum pirate :)

 

 

I actually just managed last month to get all the items in the cauldron on Knight Lore, and you'll find no argument from me on this statement I underlined.  Americans had things sorta dumbed down to them with consoles despite the evidence in this thread to the contrary.  Here's another quote from the same book about that:

 

"Other parts of the world evolved more slowly, with England and other European countries still favoring price over performance.  In particular, this meant more sustained competition within the personal computer scene . . . The vibrancy of the European market in this generation also birthed a whole army of "bedroom coders" whose skills would soon be appreciated the world over, giving the Americans a run for their money . . ."

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4 hours ago, wongojack said:

 

So no crash for computers but perhaps a slower growth rate than from 80 to 83

 

I also found the quote I was thinking of from Bill's (and Matt Barton's) book regarding machines in-between 8bit and 16bit.  It is on page 116 of Vintage Game Consoles: The Greatest Platforms of All Time.  This is an excellent book and despite its title, it dips deeply into computer platforms.  I was expected to flip through and just re-read things I already knew, but instead, it is deeply engaging with anecdotes and helpful context explanations about each era as well as console/platform.  The quote is this:

 

" . . . no single computer model would ever again enjoy the market share of the C-64 in its heyday.  In hindsight, there was simply no way to replicate that special combination of power and price that the C-64 embodied.  This was evident by the long list of failed competitors in its class, including Commodore's own C-16 and Plus/4, or with enhanced variations like the C-128 or unreleased C-65 prototype., which promised to be the ultimate 8-bit computer.  The problem for these wannabes, however, was that for millions of fans, they already owned the "ultimate" 8-bit computer and would accept no substitutes."

 

And I will insist on my opinion of the ZX Spectrum (the only computer in the Spectrum line I've ever tried).  Based solely on looks, it is the ultimate example of "you had to be there."  As someone who didn't live through the popularity of that platform, it simply looks like a downgraded compromise.

The growth rate increased dramatically between 1982 and 1983 according to the graph.
I'm guessing that's right after the "your kid needs to learn computers to compete" type of thing started.

Notice that Bill's statement about the C64 includes the qualifiers of power & price.
The C128 was more expensive, and came out with 68000 machines to compete with if you were spending more money.
The C65 was even later and never released.
With the C-16 & Plus/4, keep in mind Bill Herd said the C-116 was supposed to sell for under $50, and in a computer fest speech he said the 264 was supposed to sell for around $80.
It was sort of a VIC-20/PET replacement with the 264 advertised as a business machine, and at those prices, it made a lot of sense.
Only after Jack left did it turn into an over priced mess, and they mainly discontinued the machine to make room for C64 production, so it's not like it was a total flop.
As for power... the other machines were faster, and had better BASICs. 
The C64 was good at throwing sprites around, and making noise, but it was too slow for a lot of games (Elite).  I can't say I'm a fan of the limited BASIC either.
 

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15 hours ago, JamesD said:

The total number of computers sold in the year 1980 were in the region of $40 million, but grew to nearly 500,000 by 1981.

. . .

In 1982, it was reported that there were computer sales between 150,000 to 300,000 units.

        In the year 1983, the sales crossed more than 2 million units of computers.

In the years 1984, 1985 and 1986, sales of computers were between 2 million to 3 million units.



 

 

I was thinking the crash as being '83 and after that - slower growth.  Here's how these figures that you posted might plot assuming a steady increase.

 

image.png.b4f0292fee7ebc48358f2d3c2424474d.png

 

There's 2x as much growth from '80 to '83 (really just in '83) as from '83 to '86.  With '86 usually marking the end of the NoAm crash with the release of the NES that same year.

 

Still - definitely no computer crash, but less boom.

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Just now, wongojack said:

I was thinking the crash as being '83 and after that - slower growth.  Here's how these figures that you posted might plot assuming a steady increase.

 

image.png.b4f0292fee7ebc48358f2d3c2424474d.png

 

There's 2x as much growth from '80 to '83 (really just in '83) as from '83 to '86.  With '86 usually marking the end of the NoAm crash with the release of the NES that same year.

 

Still - definitely no computer crash, but less boom.

There is no dip in the graphs I posted around 1982, so your graph has to be wrong or the graph I shared has to be wrong.
If your hypothesis is correct, then sales should ramp up again after the lull in sales is over.  They don't.
So why the jump in sales from 1982-1983?
This is when the computer price war started.
In 82 you had the intro of the C64, TS-1000, IBM PC, ZX-Spectrum, etc... so a whole series of more capable or cheaper machines to drive new sales.
The VIC20, Color Computer, TI-99/4A, Atari, etc... all had price drops to compete with cheaper machines in time for the Christmas sales season thanks to the new competition.
And I think that's right about the time people were saying you had to get your kids a computer to prepare for the future. 
Little did they know that largely involved arguing on the internet.

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