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Leeroy ST

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

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I'm late to the game, but IMO the 1995 mini-crash, which was nowhere near as big on the industry as the 1983 crash (for reasons already discussed earlier in the thread) but did in fact occur (and some magazines, such as Next Generation, noted was occurring/had occurred when it was occurring or had just occurred), was caused by a few factors:

 

1) Sega abandoned the 16-bit market and created market confusion with too many products: the peak of the 16-bit era probably occurred in 1994, only three years into that generation's prime period (if you consider the SNES' introduction the beginning of that period; the Genesis didn't really start picking up in sales until Sonic the Hedgehog was released, which occurred around the same time the SNES was released).  There was still a lot of life for 16-bit systems in 1995, much like there had been lots of life in the 8-bit era in 1991 and would be in both the 32/64-bit era in 2000/2001 and the 6th generation era in 2005/2006.  (Heck, there was a decent amount of life in the Atari 2600 as a budget console in 1986/1987; I suspect the 2600 outsold the 7800 in the latter half of the 1980s, but that's the topic for another thread.)  But Sega of Japan wanted to shift focus entirely to the Saturn after it was released in late 1994; the Mega Drive (Genesis) had been a failure in Japan.  However, the Genesis was quite successful in the U.S. and there was still demand for games.  Many of those games didn't come however because Sega shifted too many of its resources to the Saturn.  Also, as most people know, Sega also shot itself in the foot by releasing the 32X, which was meant to be a low cost entry into the 32/64 bit era for existing Genesis owners, but was quickly abandoned, like its "parent" (i.e. the Genesis) once the Saturn arrived.  Sega's decisions confused the market and caused them to lose some consumer trust.

 

2) The major competing 32/64 bit consoles were considerably more expensive at the beginning of their generation than the consoles in previous generations: up through the 16-bit era, all interchangeable cartridge console generations (2nd generation in the late 1970s/early 1980s, 3rd/8-bit generation in the late 1980s, 4th/16-bit generation in the early 1990s) featured consoles that generally cost $200 USD or less in the early years of their generation.  In most cases, the consoles also included a pack-in game.  There were exceptions, such as the original Neo Geo cartridge system, but those consoles were generally viewed as niche systems.  The change to CD-ROM technology by most console competitors in the 5th generation, which increased the console manufacturing cost significantly, caused the console manufacturers to charge more for their consoles, especially near the beginning of the era (i.e. 1995 and earlier).  Many people's eyes popped when the 3DO was introduced in late 1993 at $700 USD; that was more than almost all people were willing to pay at the time.  The Saturn then launched at $400 in the U.S. in spring 1995 as part of Sega's surprise launch, but Sony stole Sega's thunder by announcing the same day the PlayStation would cost $300 when released in September 1995.  The $300 price point seemed low relatively speaking - it was functionally $100 less than its Japan launch price in December 1994 - but it was still $100, or 50%, more than what people were accustomed to paying for new consoles in previous generations.  Additionally, the PlayStation did not include a pack-in game, functionally increasing the cost of the system for early adopters by at least $50.  Many people were reluctant to buy such expensive systems when they had initially limited game libraries and were willing to continue playing their 16-bit systems.

 

3) Nintendo was late in introducing its 32/64 bit era console: after breaking off its agreement with Sony to develop the original PlayStation add-on for the SNES, Nintendo turned its attention to the SNES' successor.  As had been the case in the 8-bit era, Nintendo remained dominant in its home Japanese market in the 16-bit era, easily beating Sega and eventually pulling away from NEC, so it did not feel a sense of urgency to release the SNES (or more accurately, Super Famicom) successor to keep up with Sega (who they had dominated in the previous two generations in Japan) or Sony (a newcomer to the market).  However, unlike its primary rivals Nintendo decided it wanted to stay with cartridges, which required the system to be more advanced to offset the game size limitation cartridges had relative to CDs.  This caused Nintendo to push the release date for the SNES successor, originally called Project Reality, then Ultra 64, and finally Nintendo 64, back many times; it didn't launch until mid-1996 in Japan and fall 1996 in the U.S.  The wait for the Nintendo 64 (which due to the very limited number of and high cost for games, many of which were kid-oriented, ultimately caused Nintendo to lose significant market share for a second straight generation in North America and experience a drastic fall-off in Japan) helped depress the market early in the 32/64 bit era.

 

To be clear, though the market did dip in 1995 into early 1996, it was nowhere near as bad as the 1983 crash; most 16-bit games, even after discounts, were still sold at a profit to manufacturers, and at least some new consoles, particularly the PlayStation, did not suffer from disappointing or declining sales during the 1995 "crash", unlike the ColecoVision and Atari 5200 in 1983.

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@CHIP72, (regarding 2) I know I waited for the price drop. I seem to remember waiting until Final Fantasy VII was released. I only remember buying 1-2 games at the time. FF7 and Dark Stalkers. In addition to the console dropping to $150, EB had a trade in deal for $5/$10 for each Genesis/SNES game you trade in. Maybe topping out at $50 bucks off. I seem to remember trading in a bunch of crappy genesis titles (non-sports, as those weren't accepted). I think they talked me into one of those Mega PSX memory cards, but after losing 20+ hours on FF7 twice, I returned it for an official non-compessed memory card.

https://huguesjohnson.com/scans/EBChristmas97/playstation.html

 

 

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I think the crash was due to false advertising...

 

I mean, you market a game as "Final Fantasy," and then you reveal "No, it's NOT the Final Fantasy, there's a part TWO!" But it doesn't end there... no, there is sequel after sequel... and then you discover... THERE IS NO FINAL FANTASY, it was all false advertising!!!!!

 

And that's what crashed the market.

Edited by keithbk
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16 hours ago, keithbk said:

I think the crash was due to false advertising...

 

I mean, you market a game as "Final Fantasy," and then you reveal "No, it's NOT the Final Fantasy, there's a part TWO!" But it doesn't end there... no, there is sequel after sequel... and then you discover... THERE IS NO FINAL FANTASY, it was all false advertising!!!!!

 

And that's what crashed the market.

Makes more sense than the OP. But wait, it gets worse. In the US, we get Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III, and then Final Fantasy VII! The people were irate, and a dinky Mystic Quest wasn't enough to placate the feelings, so that's why the market crashed.

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We're now up to Final Fantasy 16, coming soon!!!!

 

For a series that began in 1987, you'd think there would be something "final" about it by now, but nope... still going.

 

Maybe the fact that it never was "final" was the "fantasy" all along... hmmm....

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Oh, there's finality alright. For me, FF ended with the SNES era. When it went from the cute, cleverly drawn and animated little video game sprites to the generic me-too Japanese anime look, somehow I was done. Loplik. Endanlegur. Vesgo. Qav. Finale. Finito. :D

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On 9/10/2021 at 8:01 PM, CHIP72 said:

but did in fact occur (and some magazines, such as Next Generation, noted was occurring/had occurred when it was occurring or had just occurred), was caused by a few factors:

You wouldn't happen to have a scan or which issues the magazines your thinking mentioned this?

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