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Leeroy ST

The game industry crashed harder in 1993 than in 1983!!!

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Everyone knows about the infamous video game crash of 1983, although there are myths and inconsistencies spread about it, it is known the value of the US game industry dropped from $3 billion to $100 million in 1985 (though it was rebounding in the later part of that year.)

 

That is a ~2.9 billion drop. Pretty big, and the 2600 was the scapegoat.

 

But did you know there was a bigger drop 10 years later?

 

In 1993, the industry had peaked at $6 billion and dropped to $2.5 billion in 1995! That's a drop of $3.5 billion!

 

What's more is that dropped continued into part of 1996 so it actually dropped LOWER than that. But coverage of the industries overall value was suddenly not common in 1996 until later in the year when the rebound started.

 

The record Aug 23,1993:

clip_84711780.thumb.jpg.773b3f1b014ed1d7a2c30f2cb13c73de.jpg

 

Times 1995:

clip_84709333.thumb.jpg.449cda78d5a70ef3f28b33bf699720a5.jpg

 

 

The industry recovered to $5 billion later due to primarily the success of the PlayStation in the US post Crash Bandicoot and Tomb Raider. After a good but mild 1995 and early 96, Crash started a ball that was tossed by Tomb Raider and led to large sales for the PS1. 3DO bumps due to fire sales and price cuts (before discontinuation) helped. Along with initial N64 launch shipments.

 

So when haters want to shred the 2600 because of what they were told of the crash, keep mind Sony had to deal with a harder devaluing.

 

Now, where are the articles saying nobody played any games anymore before PlayStation, and Sony saved gaming worldwide? ;)

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I'd like to find a copy of that industry published Fact Book -- the little bit about "not counting CD-ROM games" is interesting, as it would appear that this is only talking about home video games, and not computer games.

 

What would be helpful is a breakdown -- I wonder if any public library has a copy of that?  I'm curious if the Game Boy is counted....

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Nah.  I don't see it.  That was a transition.

 

Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, and Street Fighter gave the arcade on one last surge in 1993 and 1994; both franchises were also juggernauts at home.  Sonic 2 landed late in 1992 and ushered in the golden age of Sega in 1993-94.  Doom arrived in 1993.  Nintendo had Super Mario All Stars.  There were so many popular releases.  That was the golden age of 16 bit.

 

1995 wasn't nearly as great for general audiences.  It was the end of the cycle.  The year started on the fumes of XCOM and Doom 2.   Fighting game fatigue was real; Street Fighter Alpha and Mortal Kombat 3 landed with a thud for most of us.  (That bubble had popped.)  The highlights for me were Yoshi's Island, MechWarrior 2, and XWing.  1995 was jam packed with cult classics and "deep cuts", but short on blockbusters.  A couple of the best games that year were Japanese exclusives.  (They get Tales of Phantasia and we get Killer Instinct?  Really?)  The PlayStation was new and Sony was still working to get new IP of their own to counter Nintendo.  It took time to get traction.

😞

 

By 1996, we were back on the upswing with big hits outside of the cult classics.  The N64 and Super Mario 64 were the big headliners.  PlayStation had a killer app with Resident Evil.  Behind that, there's Duke Nukem 3D, Quake, Super Mario RPG, and Mario Kart 64.  Metal Slug, NBA Hangtime, and Tekken 2 were decent headliners at the arcade (although it was still on the decline).  Both Tekken 2 and NBA Hangtime both made high quality appearances on PlayStation later in the year--at the tail end of the arcade port era.  The new cycle had begun.  PlayStation had established itself and Nintendo had gotten the N64 out the door.

 

I don't see a crash.  I see a transition.

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2 minutes ago, orange808 said:

Nah.  I don't see it.  That was a transition.

 

Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, and Street Fighter gave the arcade on one last surge in 1993 and 1994; both franchises were also juggernauts at home. Doom arrived in 1993.  

Arcades and PCs were in two completely different industries, and Sega produced the 32X specifically to extend the Genesis life and prevent decline, which didn't work out.

 

5 minutes ago, orange808 said:

A couple of the best games that year were Japanese exclusives.  (They get Tales of Phantasia and we get Killer Instinct?  Really?)  .

That take is so hot I can scramble an egg on it lol.

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Nah.  There was once a pipeline of arcade to home ports.  Arcade ports once brought reliable extra momentum to the home console software business--and that was evaporating away.  When the fighting game bubble popped, it definitely mattered.  Street Fighter 2 series and the Mortal Kombat games were blockbusters!  The 16 bit machines had benefitted greatly from arcade ports.  The N64 and PlayStation were the dawn of new era where consoles began to swallow up the arcades. 

 

That separate biz statement was true in 1983.  Not so much in the mid-1990's.  The hardware had closed the gap.

 

As for the hot take remark, I think the word you are looking for is "subjective".  Although, the Tales franchise has maintained a following.  The tired recycled fighting game clone game mechanics of Killer Instinct (combos!  combos!  combos!  Yee-Haw!) combined with gimmick graphics didn't seem to hold attention nearly as long.  Subjective for sure, but Tales seems to remain relevant, while Killer Instinct went under the waves.  YMMV and whatnot.

 

Edited by orange808

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35 minutes ago, orange808 said:

That separate biz statement was true in 1983.  Not so much in the mid-1990's.  The hardware had closed the gap.

For games sure, but the actual industries were separate and tracked separately.

.

 

Quote

The tired recycled fighting game clone game mechanics of Killer Instinct (combos!  combos!  combos!  Yee-Haw!) combined with gimmick graphics didn't seem to hold attention nearly as long.  Subjective for sure, but Tales seems to remain relevant, while Killer Instinct went under the waves. 

Also Tales is cheap to produce for many years which allows more titles.

 

Ki1 and 2 were cutting edge, and the reboot had two different developers. The public gravitated to it more than Tales but sale of rare and costs put that franchise on hold until the reboot. Costs and finding a dev is now also it's CURRENT problem for a reboot sequel.

 

As for whether I would subjectively pick Tales over KI myself. Maybe. But I only like the voice acted 3D games in the series. Vesperia, Symphonia are the top, the others are ok, the rest are not good.

Edited by Leeroy ST

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They were busy getting ready for the true 3D era. That initial drop in revenue was needed to bring things where they are at now. It's only been on an the up and up ever since.

 

Nowhere close to a crash. 2D was beginning to be phased out slowly. Everyone wanted 3D.

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Remember five years ago when brand new feature films at theatres was a separate business from streaming services?  Is that still true?  🙂

 

At some point, things become hopelessly intertwined.  That is especially true when one part of a given industry is disrupting and "eating up" another part of the industry.

 

It's not a perfect analogy, but that's how I see the decline of the arcade--as home console gaming began to overtake the arcades.  Not the same, but they are similar in some ways.

 

Cutting edge is a subjective term.  Honestly, neither the Tales or KI franchises pioneered their genres.  Although, I found the Tales games to be more compelling additions.  Probably related to my fighting game fatigue after years of Street Fighter and MK.  YMMV.

 

Edited by orange808

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2.9m to 100k is a 96.55% drop.

 

6b to 2.5b is only a 68.337% drop.

 

Given that it's the end of a cycle, it isn't comparable.

Edited by Rhomaios
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10 hours ago, sn8k said:

They were busy getting ready for the true 3D era. That initial drop in revenue was needed to bring things where they are at now. It's only been on an the up and up ever since.

 

Nowhere close to a crash. 2D was beginning to be phased out slowly. Everyone wanted 3D.

That doesn't add up given the sales figures.

 

9 hours ago, Rhomaios said:

2.9m to 100k is a 96.55% drop.

 

6b to 2.5b is only a 68.337% drop.

 

Given that it's the end of a cycle, it isn't comparable.

You're excluding the unknown drop in part of 96. Also the $ drop was bigger, which hurts businesses more, especially with inflation.

 

 

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33 minutes ago, Leeroy ST said:

That doesn't add up given the sales figures.

Neither does calling it a crash. The industry was transitioning to games and hardware that needed bigger budgets. We now entered an era where a single game's failure could sink a company or dash a  console manufacturers ambitions permanently in an instant. 

 

This wasn't like the 8 and 16 bit era where you could just keep pumping them out with moderate success. Some games being ok, some good, some shit.

 

You weren't putting out 2-3 games a year anymore. Now it was sinking 10x the money into 1 and if your game failed..... your entire company did too.

 

How many things came and disappeared  or were on life support by 95 alone? Sure Sony, Nintendo, and Sega were there to pick up the pieces. But this was a different era. You needed big money to play, development times stretched to 1-3 years for a single game.....companies died if those games failed or could only afford 1 or 2 more fuck ups before they died out.

 

LJN and Acclaim made big money when everything was 2D....even when the games sucked. That business model didn't last long when 3D hit and expectations were set high.

 

You needed to be more meticulous in your approach to operate in this space. No one cared about Centipede or Missile Command anymore. They wanted Virtua Fighter, Tekken, Resident evil, Metal Gear, 3D Final Fantasy games, Ocarina of Time, Crash Bandicoot, Killer Instinct, Golden Eye, Mario 64, Donkey Kong, Syphon Filter, Medal of Honor,  call of Duty etc.

 

And all of those games took way more time and money to make compared to anything that came before them.

 

Research and Development takes time and money. Which would account for an overall drop in revenue throughout the entire industry given the level of shit they were working on. Profits were bigger. Failures were costly. Still are. Probably more so than ever.

 

1 game. You are finished if it doesn't  break even. Especially when cost of development is what it is now.

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Metal Gear Solid was supposed to be out in 94 and on 3DO.....

 

What happened to 3DO? 

 

Instead it goes back into development on PS1.....unveils in 96.... blows up in 98.

 

This is not the same era. Imagine if Centipede took 5 years to make.

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Shit changes when it takes more than 6 months to make a  single game. And it's not unheard of for a game to take 6 years to go from the drawing board to a finished product when games made that jump to 3D....... or when companies were focusing their resources on planning for that jump.

Edited by sn8k

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This is also around the time when both industry and consumer didn't want to choose between 7 or 8 home consoles.

 

As a result we saw the deaths of the Turbo Grafx16, Philips CD-i, Panasonic 3DO, Atari Jaguar, Virtual Boy, Amiga CD 32, Saturn and we watched as both the Neo Geo and SEGA in all of it's entirety be put on life support by the end of the 90's.......eventually dying and being reborn as publishers. Nintendo was able to weather the failures aswell as lack luster sales only to come back and win, then lose, then maybe win again due to previous success.

 

Regardless of what happened, Nintendo was always going to be fine no matter what. In the crash.... everything died and what did come back wasnt the same and was going to die again......like our precious Atari.

 

Microsoft steps in for #3 spot. And literally no one else has had the money required to take a legitimate shot at dethroning one of the current 3. 

 

And it has been like this for over 20 years and does not look like it is going to change anytime soon.

 

Things like VCS 800 and Intellivision Amico may exist..... but guaranteed they sell no more than 3-5 million units. 10 if either of them are lucky.

 

The big 3 sell between 60- 100,000,000+ units until Earth dies out. Literally no one else wants to try and take one of them on. And if they do..... it is most likely a costly mistake.

 

The way things are now..... are a result of how expensive this shit got around this time you say it crashed..... when it indeed was only a transitionary period.....and an expensive one at that.

 

 

Edited by sn8k

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SEGA will never be back at capacity. SNK is just starting to dabble in smaller projects after all these years..... and I don't know what Atari is doing now, but it can't be too bad because they do in fact have a decent machine out..... that can run Xbox games on the cloud.... albeit with very few new Atari games out on the actual console itself.

 

Konami owns the Turbo Grafx name and catalog..... but we all know how that goes. After this mini..... it is dead all over again. It already is actually.

 

Im sorry to say Intellivision is in serious trouble if they do not start dropping some T rated or M games. They will learn like everyone else..... you either come to play..... or you don't.

 

And so far, they aren't.

 

You are right in one thing. Alot of people did indeed crash........and burn. But the top 3 were established in that era..... even if 1 of them ended up being replaced.

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Unless Elon Musk or Bezos decide to take an honest crack at it. 

 

You will be seeing alot of Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft "wars", if you can call them that anymore.... till you leave this rock. When ever that may be. Today, tomorrow, or decades from now.

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There may have been a downturn in the early 90s, but it was nothing like the early 80s crash.

 

You're counting in absolute dollars,  percentages matter much more:    $6 billion to $2.5 billlion is a 58% drop.    But $3 billion to $100 mil is a 99.6% drop.   So if these figures are accurate, the early 80s crash was much worse.

 

I didn't see the kind of wreckage in those days that I saw in the early 80s.   Games were easy to come by at retail then.   PC was where it was at at the time with CD-ROM up and coming, and the stores were full of PC games.   A new breed of games like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D and Quake were exciting people's interest and maybe this put consoles in the doldrums for awhile until their tech could catch up.

 

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2 hours ago, sn8k said:

Metal Gear Solid was supposed to be out in 94 and on 3DO.....

 

What happened to 3DO? 

 

Instead it goes back into development on PS1.....unveils in 96.... blows up in 98.

 

This is not the same era. Imagine if Centipede took 5 years to make.

This doesn't work, even before 1993 console sales had sinks with some press expecting a shakeout. Some bumps helped things but the foundation for the industry was on shaky ground.

 

When the time of tradition came it still dived. What saved it wasn't 3D but new games and gameplay experiences that also brought in new and alienated demographics.

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21 minutes ago, zzip said:

There may have been a downturn in the early 90s, but it was nothing like the early 80s crash.

 

You're counting in absolute dollars,  percentages matter much more

Not for businesses and inflation.

 

21 minutes ago, zzip said:

   PC was where it was at at the time with CD-ROM up and coming, and the stores were full of PC games.   A new breed of games like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D and Quake were exciting people's interest and maybe this put consoles in the doldrums for awhile until their tech could catch up.

PC games had nothing to do with the video game industry back then. They were tracked separately. 

Edited by Leeroy ST

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Ok cool. Ignore common sense. Though it means Metal Gear Solid was in development prior to 94. Which means most of what PS1 had to offer on launch was too. Which console ended up shattering every record and was the first to sell over 100,000,000? If consumers saw how great this thing was, the devs saw it first. Ignore that development times for games were tripled or quadrupled. Sony just came out of nowhwere with all these games and everyone developed them in less than a year. Yeah sounds real logical. The cost of development sky rocketed and countless companies were sunk by a single game... some even got killed trying to put out their first and only game in this landscape.

 

Devs were sick of Nintendo's bullshit and Sega's too. They only needed a single reason to jump, and it was Sony. This is why N64 took the royal ass whooping that it did..... gamecube too. Nobody wanted carts and mini cd's.

 

The sales figures support that.

 

There was no 2nd crash. The stakes got higher and those who couldn't hang got killed.  Period.

 

Case closed.

 

You sound like one of those people who push that narrative that Atari could have seriously lived beyond the Jaguar continuing the bullshit they did when everyone else saw that Nintendo and Playstation were the future.

 

The same guys who stood behind Atari's failed consoles like they were the second coming....

 

5200 was shit. 7800 was shit. Lynx was good. Jaguar was shit. 2600 epic.... but it aint 1978 no more.

 

Consoles that are good in their own right if you are a die hard but would fall quickly to competition that knew exactly how to dispatch them in record time. And did exactly that.

 

Atari may have made this shit popular to begin with..... but it was everyone else who would keep it alive well beyond their death.

Edited by sn8k
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Wait, there were video games in the early 1990's?

 

Wow, I must have missed those. I was still playing my Gold Box D&D C64 games.

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5 minutes ago, keithbk said:

Wait, there were video games in the early 1990's?

 

Wow, I must have missed those. I was still playing my Gold Box D&D C64 games.

Hard to believe I know....... there was a crash apparently none of us are aware of except for 1 Atari ST fan.

Edited by sn8k

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1.Playstation 2

2.Playstation 4

3. Playstation 1

 

Your top 3 home consoles of all time.

 

If we were able to see that and translate our money into units moved immediately.....

 

What do you think the people who develop games saw?

 

An entire industry literally shifted to 1 console. Everyone else got table scraps.

PS1 released in 94. A year after your crash......

 

Where devs would have been hard at work on PS1 games in.....93 and possibly earlier .

 

If PS1 sold 60-70 million units, sure. It didnt. It smashed everything before it in devastating fashion and sold 105 instead. Thats what happens when everyone is on board with the hardware. When everyone wants to put their game out on it.

Edited by sn8k

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Just like how NES strangled the market. Sony did the same by just presenting a box everyone wanted to work on..... and did.

Edited by sn8k

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