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Why was 7800 discontinued

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22 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

 

 

When are you going to feature it on the channel? ;)

I've had this unit since about 2003/4 but have only just got around to having it composite modded. So now I have it back I'll do something and will do a video for the autumn. Should have done it ages ago but kept forgetting. Then I reviewed Xevious (not released yet) and realised I had a copy of Xevious for my 7800 but had no way of showing it. So then I decided to finally sort out my 7800. Turns out I have about 25 games for it!

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On 7/21/2021 at 8:20 PM, x=usr(1536) said:

It makes me laugh when I see YouTubers in (particularly) the UK talking about how important the NES was and behaving as though it had the same impact there as it did in North America.  It simply didn't, and they're basically fabricating a past that never existed.

This is very true. I'm UK based, and had no idea how big a "thing" the NES was in North America until I joined this site last year. It released in  the UK, and while it did OK, it generally played second fiddle to the Master System in the 8 bit console wars. And in truth, that generation of the 8 bit console market was always relatively small compared to the computer gaming market at the time.

 

As for the 7800, as a teenager at the time, that system never even registered in my consciousness in the late 80s. Even the relaunch of the 2600 as a budget system seemed to be a bigger thing at the time, although that is based on nothing more than my own perception / memory. Given that I ended up owning a 7800 at the end of it's main lifecycle (see below), that's kind of ironic

 

On 8/7/2021 at 12:44 AM, Trebor said:

For most of Europe and North America it was end of the line in '92. 

 

The UK division of Atari continued through the latter part of '93, and why we see the likes of Toki being developed for the 7800 that year.  Last of the PAL units in the UK ceased production August of '93.  You have one of those August units.

 

Thanks for this, you have solved a minor mystery of mine. I'm UK based, and ended up owning one, despite literally not knowing that the system existed until I did. My parents bought it in late '93 or even early '94 very much as an impulse purchase. I was away at Uni by then, and had taken the Amiga that was the main household games machine with me. They bought the 7800 from one of the big "sell everything" type of shops as it was a very cheap offering from a known brand (they paid either £29.95 or £39.95 for it, can't remember which), and when presented with that offer, I think my Dad suddenly liked the idea of having a games machine of some sort in the house . The same shop kept having very cheap games on the shelves for it (between £2 and £5 !!!!!) well into '95, and my parents just bought one or two when they went in there for something or other every few Months.

 

We actually really enjoyed it for what it was / cost. We saw is as basically an updated 2600, and a way of playing good versions of classic arcade games, along with a few others. We ended up with a collection of about 15 games for it, and it was a lot of bang for the buck. I actually still have it now, albeit it hasn't come out of my loft since it came to my house from my Mum's place. Since learning that the 7800 was discontinued in 1992, I always wondered how the timelines of when we got it matched up to that date . . . . . .and now I know 😁

Edited by Jasonhrb
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For the UK the 7800 wasn't the flagship, just extra sales.

 

In the UK the XEGS (XE Game System) was the target console, and apparently did well. Dont know how well though, someone would likely have to get a sub to a UK news archive site and find a press release with numbers or an earnings report.

 

As for the 2600 it may have did decent in UK, but in the US the 2600 was the 2nd best selling console behind NES. Beating 7800 and SMS, possibly combined 

Edited by Leeroy ST
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Little 3rd party support, low sales, and people were more interested in the NES and Sega.  I had my 7800 in 86 and there wasn't many games at the stores.  

 

In some cities, the 7800 came out in 84.  That's an 8 year life span with only 59 official games and about 3 million sold.

 

The 5200 lasted about 2 years with 69 official games and sold about 1 million.  I knew more people with 5200's in 82 than 7800's in 86.  5200 actually had more impact and sold more in its short lifetime than the 7800.  

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It didn't help the fact that Atari was COMPETING with itself at the stores! Customer goes in there's a NES, a Sega Master System, and 3 different Atari units! 2600jr, 7800, XEGS. Causing them to spread themselves thin trying to make software for the 3 systems. Had they only had one system, they could have made better games and promoted it better.

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Indeed. To the point of being un-necessary. Should have had only 1 system. Or 1 system and 1 computer at tops.

 

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4 hours ago, Keatah said:

Indeed. To the point of being un-necessary. Should have had only 1 system. Or 1 system and 1 computer at tops.

 

It should have been, but the XEGS came about cause toy stores no longer wanted 8-bit home computers since all the kids only want "vida games".  Meanwhile (in late 80's US) there was still a small market of Atari 8-bit users, though not as great for the C-64.

 

I agree that the 7800 should have been the sole 3rd gen console for Atari and there was nothing wrong with backwards support for 2600 games that you can still buy at flea markets and yard sales.  But making "new" 2600 games along side 7800 versions was just a big waste.  Why buy versions that had worse graphics so you wouldn't have to trade up to the 7800??

 

Disclaimer: This is all late 80's scenario...  I had a 130XE at the time and was happy that there were new game carts for my computer.  Shame that no one except Kay-B-Toys would sell them along with the more popular NES games.

 

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On 9/3/2021 at 6:02 PM, Leeroy ST said:

For the UK the 7800 wasn't the flagship, just extra sales.

 

In the UK the XEGS (XE Game System) was the target console, and apparently did well. Dont know how well though, someone would likely have to get a sub to a UK news archive site and find a press release with numbers or an earnings report.

 

As for the 2600 it may have did decent in UK, but in the US the 2600 was the 2nd best selling console behind NES. Beating 7800 and SMS, possibly combined 

The XEGS was pretty insignificant in the UK from what I remember, so I wouldn't agree that it did well. I think it launched pretty much at the same time as the NES and SMS and those two crushed it. I remember them (XEGS) being sold off cheap in Dixon's (high street electronics retailer) for like £50 or something. 

 

More of my friends had SMS's than NES's BITD but then, the SMS did do well in Europe overall and competed well with the NES in region.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Muddyfunster said:

The XEGS was pretty insignificant in the UK from what I remember, so I wouldn't agree that it did well. I think it launched pretty much at the same time as the NES and SMS and those two crushed it

There are mixed anecdotes but the general consensus seems the Xegs did well and was profitable in the UK and possibly other places in eu, and we're more common than an actual XE computer.

 

The XEGS was more successful there than the US where it did ok for about a year. While without someone posting uk numbers ( @Lostdragon do you have any scans with numbers or indicators of Xe game system (xegs) performance in uk?) It's hard to gauge how it did compared to the other two, I doubt at least with the NES, it "crushed" the XEGS since NES wasn't that big. If the NES beat it it's likely not as huge a gap you're implying.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Leeroy ST said:

There are mixed anecdotes but the general consensus seems the Xegs did well and was profitable in the UK and possibly other places in eu, and we're more common than an actual XE computer.

 

The XEGS was more successful there than the US where it did ok for about a year. While without someone posting uk numbers ( @Lostdragon do you have any scans with numbers or indicators of Xe game system (xegs) performance in uk?) It's hard to gauge how it did compared to the other two, I doubt at least with the NES, it "crushed" the XEGS since NES wasn't that big. If the NES beat it it's likely not as huge a gap you're implying.

 

 

I'm not implying there was a huge gap, it's quite factual, at least from the source material available (and my observations of the time in question). 

 

A few sources state that the NES sold around 1.5m units in the UK through to 1994, SMS about the same. I can't verify those numbers but a few sources state them. If you compare those to the regional numbers stated they seem to be in the right ballpark as the UK was a big market for computers and consoles in Europe..(NES Europe sales = 7m - 8m , SMS Europe sales = 6.8m)

 

In total, the XEGS sold around 130k worldwide. (30k Europe/France no breakdown that I could see from the various notes on sales figures).

 

I don't doubt that the XEGS was profitable at some point, but towards the end of its shelf life it was being "box shifted" for £50-60 a time, that's probably cost or close to it. Nor would I agree that the XEGS was more common in the UK than the XE computers. Sales figures for the XE would no doubt shine a light on that, best sourced figures that I can find suggest around 50k XE's were sold in the UK, nothing much to back it up though (so I'm not going to hang my hat on that number!). Still it seems more XE's were sold in the UK than XEGS's - no hard evidence though. I had a few friends with XE's and XL's, no one I knew ever had an XEGS.

 

Back to the XEGS/NES/SMS.

 

So if we take the 30k XEGS sales for Europe, without any break out for the UK sales, then that 30k = 2% of the SMS or NES sales.  (I'd guess maybe 10k for UK?, but lets use 30k for the sake of giving the benefit of the doubt).

 

Looking at it another way, the SMS or NES individually outsold the XEGS in the UK by 50x, or combined, by 100x.

 

I refer to my original comment, the XEGS was pretty much crushed by the NES and SMS in the UK market.

 

The defence rests.

 

Sources :

 

https://vgsales.fandom.com/wiki/Third_generation_of_video_games

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_XEGS

https://atariage.com/forums/topic/275433-atari-xe-game-system-sales/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_game_consoles_by_region#Europe

https://mechafatnick.co.uk/2019/07/03/8-bit-showdown-how-popular-were-the-master-system-and-the-nes-in-the-uk/#player1?catid=0&trackid=0

 

 

Edited by Muddyfunster
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The 130k sales for XEGS worldwide doesn't make any sense for it sold 100k at launch in the US alone. It sold in the UK for years. For your 130k figure to make sense the XEGS would have to stop selling in the US and Europe after launching.

 

One of your wikipedia links has 30k xegs for france alone.

 

Your numbers are inconsident with sources of varying reliability. Your anecdotes are also different from other people's.

 

It's better to wait and see if there's actual valid information on XEGS sales or hints of performance. I'm sure @Lostdragon may have some articles on the subject to get more clarity.

 

Also your NES beating SMS in Europe thing doesn't add up either.

 

NES sold 8 million in non-US and Japan markets which is a broad net. Game Over book says Nintendo sold 3.5 mill in Europe, but may be less due to exaggerations.

 

Here is UK article in 1990 from discussions here:

segasales.jpg

 

So your numbers dont add up.

Edited by Leeroy ST
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I’m sure that the XEGS was profitable enough for Atari, as it allowed them to repurpose old A8 components that they would otherwise have had to junk. In Canada, at least, it gave the A8 a footprint in major stores long after Atari had ceased being a presence. I saw the last A8 “computer” software in department stores in 1984. 
 

Atari was also fiddling around with that “Super XEGS” in the ‘90s, so at least someone was interested in at that time. And they continued to sell the thing in July ‘92, after they had dropped official support.

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13 hours ago, John Stamos Mullet said:

Lol.

If you'd try programming all three systems you'd understand why I made that comment.Not saying the 7800 can't hold it's own as it can but the other systems tiling and scrolling are much more advanced then the 7800.The old C64 has some features that out matches the 7800,you can't mix 160,320 modes per zone on 7800,you can on C64...multicolor and hires is fine.

Edited by JumbleJag

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37 minutes ago, JumbleJag said:

If you'd try programming all three systems you'd understand why I made that comment.Not saying the 7800 can't hold it's own as it can but the other systems tiling and scrolling are much more advanced then the 7800.The old C64 has some features that out matches the 7800,you can't mix 160,320 modes per zone on 7800,you can on C64...multicolor and hires is fine.

Tile scrolling is the only major advantage though and depending on the developer or chip in NES case the 7800 can compete in software in several but not all cases. Also sprite colors are a lesser advantage.

 

Everything else is in favor of the 7800. 

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1 hour ago, Leeroy ST said:

Tile scrolling is the only major advantage though and depending on the developer or chip in NES case the 7800 can compete in software in several but not all cases. Also sprite colors are a lesser advantage.

 

Everything else is in favor of the 7800. 

The nes,master system and C64 have hardware scrolling,what kills the C64 is you have to shift the screen memory and the color memory if your using a unique color per cell.I've not done scrolling on the 7800 but anything being done in software is going to be much slower and eat a lot of cycles,that's a major disadvantage compared to hardware scrolling.Not taking anything away from the 7800 though as it has some very impressive games.

Edited by JumbleJag

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4 hours ago, Leeroy ST said:

There are mixed anecdotes but the general consensus seems the Xegs did well and was profitable in the UK and possibly other places in eu, and we're more common than an actual XE computer.

 

The XEGS was more successful there than the US where it did ok for about a year. While without someone posting uk numbers ( @Lostdragon do you have any scans with numbers or indicators of Xe game system (xegs) performance in uk?) It's hard to gauge how it did compared to the other two, I doubt at least with the NES, it "crushed" the XEGS since NES wasn't that big. If the NES beat it it's likely not as huge a gap you're implying.

 

 

 

So I tried to present some sources to back up my thoughts as to why I said "anecdotally" the SMS and NES crushed the XEGS in sales in the UK.. Rather than just make shit up :) , I thought I'd try to offer something more to back up my first hand impressions of the period in question. 

 

You stated the "If the NES beat it it's likely not as huge a gap you're implying" 

 

So, firstly, you are doubting the NES sold more units in the UK than the XEGS and secondly, if the NES did outsell the XEGS in the UK, it wasn't by much.

 

I find both parts hard to accept.

 

2 hours ago, Leeroy ST said:

Your numbers are inconsident with sources of varying reliability. Your anecdotes are also different from other people's.

Sources. Right, I stated already that I couldn't validate them. As for my anecdotes being different from other people's...ok, any evidence of this? I don't know any (sane) people in the UK with knowledge of the period and subject matter that would for one minute consider the XEGS outsold the NES or SMS in the UK. That's what you are stating, that's what I'm arguing against.

 

Ironically, the magazine clip that you posted is from one of the links I posted, that you said have varying reliability etc. - ;).

 

I don't get why you are attacking the reliability of the sources that I already said couldn't be validated. Pointless to argue back with you on that. I repeatedly noted the sources were not great. If you have better information, great, share it. Knowledge is good.

 

Regarding NES sales in the UK/Europe :  The number I had was NES sales outside US and JPN, so Europe might be the remainder, or it might be a subset of that remainder. /shrug. 3.5m Could be reasonable I don't think we can know for sure. However, lets take your number of 3.5m, these sources are what they are. ;) . 

 

So 3.5m NES sales in Europe. I'd still argue that's 3.4m+ more than the XEGS sold in Europe (being optimistic).

 

Even if the XEGS sold a million, it's still crushed by the SMS and NES, even at 2 million XEGS's, it's still well beaten by the NES and SMS. We all know the XEGS didn't sell millions so I really don't understand the point of your argument because it's not sustainable. Does any evidence suggest the XEGS sold anything like the numbers of the NES and SMS over years and years?

 

2 hours ago, Leeroy ST said:

The 130k sales for XEGS worldwide doesn't make any sense for it sold 100k at launch in the US alone. It sold in the UK for years. For your 130k figure to make sense the XEGS would have to stop selling in the US and Europe after launching.

My understanding from reading the various sources is that Atari made a bunch for Christmas one year, sold them, gave themselves a big pat on the back and didn't make many more after that. (yes that's over simplified)..

 

The ones selling years later were probably old stock. Dixon's in the UK were masters at buying job lots of consoles or computers and flogging them for cheap years after said console or computer was done being produced or were no longer market relevant. 

 

Your comment suggests that Atari kept making XEGS's for years and years and were selling bucket loads of them every year to bring the sales level to that of the NES.

 

Maybe they did? I don't see any evidence of it. I scoured the interwebs and my books about retro systems, none of them suggest a long XEGS production run spanning many years or millions of units sold, which is what your argument suggests (per quote earlier in the reply).

 

Lets step back from the UK, and look at Europe as maybe the numbers there are stronger from an analytical perspective and will help me make my point. At what point are XEGS sales not crushed by the SMS or NES. I know it's a silly question, I only used "crushed" as a throw away comment in my earlier post, indulge me.

 

Is it 50% is it 25%, 10% maybe ? where do you set the bar?

 

So if we say (actually you say, but that's fine, happy to use your source number) the NES sold 3.5m in Europe and the SMS sold 6.8m, then how many million units of the XEGS need to be sold for it not to be "crushed" or "significantly outsold"? Think of the maximum realistic number of XEGS's that could have sold in Europe, in whatever version of reality you like. That number is likely <500k units (and that's terribly optimistic and I'd suggest quite unrealistic).

 

Even then, SMS and NES still crush XEGS on sales in Europe or the UK. if you don't like "crush", use "significantly outsold". 

 

/TLDR

 

@Leeroy ST thinks the XEGS outsold the NES in the UK and if it didn't, the gap wasn't much. I think the SMS and NES significantly outsold the XEGS in the UK. My NES sales math might be off, but ultimately doesn't affect the result.

 

 

 

Edited by Muddyfunster

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1 hour ago, Muddyfunster said:

 

Even if the XEGS sold a million, it's still crushed by the SMS and NES, even at 2 million XEGS's, it's still well beaten by the NES and SMS. 

Are you mixing up Europe and the UK?

 

You initially went with 1.5 million NES sales in the UK, if the Xegs sold 1 million how is that crushing? That's only a 500k gap. If it sold 2 million it would be 2nd.

 

Looking at the bottom portion of your post you're swapping between the two inconsistently.

1 hour ago, Muddyfunster said:

Ironically, the magazine clip that you posted is from one of the links I posted, that you said have varying reliability etc. - ;)

No, because as I said I got that pic from HERE. Because NES sales in Europe have already been discussed. (It also contradicts some of your other sources, but you already said they weren't good).

 

1 hour ago, Muddyfunster said:

 . We all know the XEGS didn't sell millions 

We actually dont know this. We dont know this for the 7800 either. (Though people thought they did with the old 3.7 million claim)

 

Unless you're specifying UK. In that case neither did the NES sell "millions" in UK.

 

1 hour ago, Muddyfunster said:

Your comment suggests that Atari kept making XEGS's for years and years and were selling bucket loads of them every year to bring the sales level to that of the NES.

 

Maybe they did? I don't see any evidence of it. I scoured the interwebs and my books about retro systems, none of them suggest a long XEGS production run spanning many years or millions of units sold, which is what your argument suggests (per quote earlier in the reply).

 

Part of the problem is your inflating NES sales. It didn't sell bucket loads or millions.

 

Even if we used YOUR 1.5 million from before that's still not millions of NES consoles. The Xegs wouldn't have to sell millions.

 

You're acting like the NES sold 4-5 million units in the UK. It didn't.

 

.

I think it's best to wait to see if @Lostdragon  has UK scans for NES sales in uk compared to Sega master system. As NES generally is considered to do the best there compared to rest of Europe, but still a decent bit behind the Sega master system in UK itself.

 

also if he has scans on any indication of XEGS performance. As XEGS did better in UK than US, and generally considered to have done "good" there. Not sure if he'll find numbers but he may find some positive marketplace articles. Maybe. Of course when looking for articles you have to use both terms "XE game system" and "XEGS" since the later nickname came later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Leeroy ST

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Ok, I really don't want to come across rude or like an ass but you seem to selectively ignore some things and take other things out of context to support your agenda that the XEGS outsold the SMS and NES in the UK. I probably won't bother engaging on this topic any further after this post unless you add something new to the discussion.

 

Just a recap Here's what you said in response to me suggesting the XEGS had been crushed by the SMS and NES. (Honestly, I don't know why this has become so emotive).

 

7 hours ago, Leeroy ST said:

It's hard to gauge how it did compared to the other two, I doubt at least with the NES, it "crushed" the XEGS since NES wasn't that big. If the NES beat it it's likely not as huge a gap you're implying.

So to be clear, you said IF the NES beat the XEGS. IF. You say that like it's in doubt. 

 

That's ok, I disagree, but I respect your opinion, now can you evidence it? If you can't, maybe accept you are wrong or there isn't enough data to back up your point and we move on. 

 

The numbers might vary from source to source and we can cherry pick one or the other to support arguments all day long but most tend to point at the NES and SMS (irrespective of specific numbers) out sell the XEGS considerably. If you disagree, that's ok evidence it. (I'm not being sarcastic, I'd like to see the data and it might answer the question definitively). 

 

We have numbers for both - they vary but suggest north of c.1.5m units each (UK- so you accuse me of mixing things). Best number for the XEGS is 130k (globally - again so you don't accuse me of mixing things.. Again this could be wrong but I'm yet to find any other sources to compare or contrast). However you slice this cake up, I don't think the XEGS is close to either in the UK or Europe.

 

52 minutes ago, Leeroy ST said:

You're acting like the NES sold 4-5 million units in the UK. It didn't.

I'm not acting like that at all. I've not even suggested that. Please provide a quote where I have stated or even suggested this. You can't because I didn't. Sources point to around 1.5m NES units in the UK. I made that very clear already.  I'm saying the XEGS never came near that. Prove me wrong ! :) 

 

I'm also not mixing things up, you are selectively reading what you feel like picking to argue against and disregarding what doesn't fit your argument. Do you really need me to specify UK / Europe after each comment when it should be obvious by the context of each comment / point I've made? I'll be more specific in future!

 

End of the day, I'm fine with being proven wrong and that the XEGS punched out some god like sales numbers that put it ahead of the NES in the UK (or Europe) per your argument. But if that's so, provide something to back it up or move on.

Edited by Muddyfunster
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50 minutes ago, Leeroy ST said:

As NES generally is considered to do the best there compared to rest of Europe

Source? The SMS did better than the NES in the UK at least until 1992, even though I wonder if the gap didn't get thinner later on since the SMS was "replaced" sooner in Europe (Mega Drive launched in 1990, SNES in 1992). But I'm pretty sure the NES did better than the SMS in most European countries.

So on the contrary, UK is probably where the SMS did the best in Europe.

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3 minutes ago, roots.genoa said:

Source? The SMS did better than the NES in the UK at least until 1992, even though I wonder if the gap didn't get thinner later on since the SMS was "replaced" sooner in Europe (Mega Drive launched in 1990, SNES in 1992). But I'm pretty sure the NES did better than the SMS in most European countries.

So on the contrary, UK is probably where the SMS did the best in Europe.

Well @Lostdragon has discussed this before so when he comes by he may have some scans about market share that could clarify the situation in Europe between SMS and NES.

 

Also in the UK.

 

I tried to find the old sales thread but it's been a big harder to dig for it than I thought 

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6 hours ago, davidcalgary29 said:

I’m sure that the XEGS was profitable enough for Atari, as it allowed them to repurpose old A8 components that they would otherwise have had to junk. In Canada, at least, it gave the A8 a footprint in major stores long after Atari had ceased being a presence. I saw the last A8 “computer” software in department stores in 1984. 
 

Atari was also fiddling around with that “Super XEGS” in the ‘90s, so at least someone was interested in at that time. And they continued to sell the thing in July ‘92, after they had dropped official support.

Woolco had XE's from '86.  I had a friend who bought a word processor package with a 130XE/1050/printer/AtariWriter  cartridge.

(I think that was the name..)

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5 hours ago, JumbleJag said:

I've not done scrolling on the 7800 but anything being done in software is going to be much slower and eat a lot of cycles,that's a major disadvantage compared to hardware scrolling.Not taking anything away from the 7800 though as it has some very impressive games.

Couldn’t a programmer do scrolling using a collection of large sprites as background objects?

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