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Sega's consoles failed mostly because they only had one blockbuster FP franchise, Sonic (2 if you include Japan)

Jul 24, 2016
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A lot of people come up with many theories as for Why Sega couldn't stabilize in the console space, but many of the reasons are straight forward just that many people who are attached won't admit so. One of these reasons is a very inconsistent first-party development arm, that at best could produce adequate sales but could never hit that blockbuster level of sales that brings the masses to your console and spread outward across the library, with two exceptions.

Sonic the Hedgehog (until 1995, sales revived in 1998) and Vitua Fighter (until post VF2).

You have all these games produced by all these teams spanning two-addons and 4 consoles (and a portable) and you were never able to have a slew of major blockbuster first party games relative to the consoles sales. Let's look at competitors (won't list all the games just some examples)

Some examples of blockbuster selling SNES FP games

  • Star Fox
  • F-Zero
  • Super Mario World
  • Super Metroid
  • Mario Paint
  • Pilotwings

Some examples of blockbuster selling PS1 FP games

  • Hot Shots Golf
  • Gran Turismo
  • Twisted Metal
  • NFL Gameday
  • Cool Borders
  • Legend of Dragoon
  • Jet Moto

Some examples of blockbuster selling N64 FP games

  • Star Fox 64
  • Wave Race 64
  • Super Mario 64
  • Majoras Mask
  • Pokemon Stadium
  • Mario Kart 64

Some examples of blockbuster selling PS2 FP games

  • Gran Turismo 3
  • Jak and Daxter
  • The Getaway
  • God of War
  • SOCOM

Some examples of blockbuster selling Xbox FP games

  • Halo
  • NFL Fever
  • Amped

Some examples of blockbuster selling GameCube FP games

  • Animal Crossing
  • Windwaker
  • Doubledash


And you see the trends continue for each console, but Sega only really had two their entire console run of 4 consoles (5 if you include Japan) and 1 portable and nearly all of Sonics sales were on the Genesis where it also by 1995 was no longer bringing in that major audience until the Dreamcast launch resuscitated it. VF held up the Saturn in Japan until after VF2, then it never had that pull again until after Sega dropped consoles and went to the PS2 with it.

You need some block buster titles on your console to attract those bigger third parties that will bring there own blockbuster franchises, otherwise your sunk. Or in the Saturns case you have some TP blockbuster releases as your competitor but your FP value proposition pales so much that it doesn't attract even a fraction of the blockbuster fever.

We can look at some of Sega's most known created console games outside of Sonic and VF:

GEN

  • Alexx Kidd in enchanted castle
  • Altered beast
  • Columns
  • Comix Zone
  • Flicky
  • Fatal Labyrinth
  • Golden Axe
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Last Battle
  • Phantasy Star 2-4
  • Revenge of Shinobi
  • Ristar
  • etc.

SAT

  • Black Fire
  • Clockwork Knight
  • Fighting Vipers
  • Fighters Megamix
  • Daytona
  • Shining Force 3
  • Virtua Cop
  • Virtual On
  • Nights
  • Burning Rangers
  • Magic Knight Rayearth
  • Deep Fear
  • etc.

DC

  • Chu Chu rocket
  • Crazy Taxi
  • Shenmue
  • House of the Dead 2
  • Dynamite cop
  • Phantasy Star online
  • REZ
  • Sega Rally 2
  • Sega GT
  • Space Channel 5
  • Virtual Striker
  • etc.

Most of these had very narrow reach if any, usually not attracting many customers or at best generating somewhat modest numbers for things like Shenmue (the first game) due to graphical novelty and magazine hype, but that still didn't really create that blockbuster hit needed for the Dreamcast (did reach over 1 mill tho), instead that one game was Sonic Adventure, which was also included with the console in some instances, but it's the only one that really headed in that direction. The Genesis and Saturn in comparison just didn't really have anything like that in terms of FP IP SEGA IP.

Something like 2 million sales was a rarity with Sega FP ips.

When you go that long in the industry with only a couple of blockbuster hits that's bad, it means people are not interested in the games for the hardware which leads to lower hardware and software sales. A spread out of games to make up for a lack of a blockbuster selling title only works if they all sell pretty well which isn't the case, so the consumer interest continues to drop over time.

Dreamcast was the best bet for Sega to fix that problem, and to give them credit they did throw some things at the wall to see if it would stick, but they also brought back a lot of poor reaching or niche cult franchises back as well that never had that mass appeal. If Sega were to have focused on some great polished experiences instead of inconsistent titles and experiments than maybe it could have gotten those one or two blockbuster games that would lead to exploration of the Dreamcast library creating an environment of positivity and rising sales.

Sadly this never happened.
 

Alexios

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You seem to know everything so in-depth, this amazing insight definitely deserves attention. I love how you don't even mention Virtua Fighter as more than initials to skip by, or Panzer Dragoon, or anything Sega sports (the brand, the only to rival EA's, or anything beyond Striker as a genre), etc.

Sony's "Greatest Hits" threshold was 150k sales for the PS1 and 400K for the PS2, sure certain games blew way past, but those were still SUPERB (not even a necessity for success) and SEGA and their third parties also pulled them (yet you wanted to skip VF2, which had 1.7m in Japan alone).

And on what rationale wouldn't you include Japan and the likes of Sakura Wars for a Japanese former (well, current also probably given all the companies they now include alongside their internal teams) gaming colossus?

I love how to fail means to be inept, it's not like competition can overwhelm you on top of any number of other factors for reasons that go well beyond actual quality or potential for wide reach, when the stars align.

I mean, Rocket League is far from the first car soccer game, even from the same studio, but it happened to strike the right circumstances, the idea and often the execution too were always good. Get it?

Let's forget third parties actually count for something, especially when it comes to secured exclusives, given many of those totally eclipse the 1st party Sony games mentioned, sans GT or GoW.

You also keep saying that you aren't trashing the games/SEGA yet constantly you are going back to their "lack of appealing software". That's a quality trait. If you agree the games are good, then they're appealing, if appealing games didn't find success, is something to explore the reasons for...

If you do acknowledge all these other factors matter and don't imply they were inept, then what are you saying here? They didn't succeed because they didn't sell. They didn't sell because they didn't succeed. Lol? How is that exploring the reasons if even you accept the games are in fact good?

There are even publications saying the likes of Tomb Raider and its success contributed to the success of the PlayStation in this or that region. That's a game the Saturn got first ffs, lol, so if that doesn't tell you there are things that matter more than the content then I don't know what to tell ya.

I mean, nowadays they sell more, the industry is completely different (just as it's silly to compare Microsoft when they entered the market as SEGA exited), bigger, with far easier reach to consumers. If they had this back then maybe they'd have stayed in, yet now, it's not enough to go first party.

#1 reason is marketing and reach, anything else is secondary. Sony struck gold with their media prowess, basically every publication here was sucking its dick back then, whether because of the benefits provided or because they jumped on the same bandwagon. The rest fell in place over this.

Just because you write something true (x thing sold more) doesn't mean your own delusions and opinions regarding that are also true (y thing not only sold less, but it can't be considered a success, the reason it sold less is an inherent lack of appeal, etc.) or as objective as the original fact 🤦‍♂️
 
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ChuckeRearmed

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They failed due to their internal conflict and also Sony went for a kill as Sega was in much weaker position than Nintendo at that time.
It was akin Xbox after Xbox One era without MS backing. We know that there was rumblings about MS pulling out of gaming altogether, but for MS it was the hobby while for Sega it was one of the most important pillars akin Playstation for Sony. Maybe even more.
 
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Tmack

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Sega was a disfunctional company with SEGA Usa making different decisions/investing in different directions.

They released a pletora of consoles in a short period of time...

If they focused on the Dreamcast it could do very well.
 

Bernkastel

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Alexios

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Sega was a disfunctional company with SEGA Usa making different decisions/investing in different directions.

They released a pletora of consoles in a short period of time...

If they focused on the Dreamcast it could do very well.
What else did they focus on in the Dreamcast era, other than the Dreamcast, for its short life? Or you mean focus on Dreamcast in 1995? Or what?
 
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And on what rationale wouldn't you include Japan and the likes of Sakura Wars for a Japanese former (well, current also probably given all the companies they now include alongside their internal teams) gaming colossus?
None of what you said were blockbuster hits. Especially Sakura Wars

SAT

Best selling Sakura Taisen 2 509,091

DC

Best selling Sakura Taisen 3 [All Versions] 349,150

Those aren't blockbuster numbers. Keep in mind your sarcasm is pointless as this thread has nothing to do with the quality of the games, the sales aren't even that bad, but they aren't blockbusters and that's a fact.

They failed due to their internal conflict and also Sony went for a kill as Sega was in much weaker position than Nintendo at that time.
Which wouldn't have been as bad if they had hit games, N64 got smashed by Sony and came out two years late and didn't suffer in the same regard worldwide. Even if we include Japan specifically Nintendo did better in software despite coming near a tie tot he Saturn releasing late, in fact, that's why the N64 basically caught up.
 

TheMan

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to be clear, I agree they probably didn't have a lot of hits saleswise although they did have some fantastic, overlooked games.
The popular narrative is that they bred distrust amongst consumers by releasing poorly supported addons and consoles that made people wary of buying more sega stuff. I think also that the DC, while great, had issues with attracting major 3rd parties ( no square, no EA) and had features like online play that were too ahead of their time to be relevant to the masses
 

ChuckeRearmed

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Which wouldn't have been as bad if they had hit games, N64 got smashed by Sony and came out two years late and didn't suffer in the same regard worldwide. Even if we include Japan specifically Nintendo did better in software despite coming near a tie tot he Saturn releasing late, in fact, that's why the N64 basically caught up.
Games would not help them too much. Aside a bunch of bad decisions, the Dreamcast line up was spectacular and Dreamcast is considered Sega's swan song even now. But it was already too later for them.

Nintendo is incredible though.
 
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Krappadizzle

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Sega had some really dope ass 3rd party games though. Genesis era especially. Lion King, Aladdin, X-Men, X-Men 2: Clone Wars, Ranger-X, tons of stuff. 3rd party support started drying up pretty quick though moving into Saturn and then Dreamcast.
 
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Alexios

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2,5 million units (ok, I misread your post the way your write, lol, it's over 500k then) in Japan isn't blockbuster for Sakura Wars, but Jet Moto with less than 2 million worldwide is, lmfao. How much more did the likes of Twisted Metal and Legend of Dragoon do, if any?

The threshold to enter into the Greatest Hits line back then for Sony was, in a year of sales, 150k for PS1 and then just 400k for PS2, not some 10 million or something, are you for real dude? We aren't talking 2021 Ubisoft 1000 man AAA projects and expected sales.

Much consistency in your arguments, yes. You've yet to address anything in my first comment anyway, you just pick and choose a line out of context and think you won the internet, lol, even repeating what I already said, that it's not to do with quality. Yet your actual arguments say otherewise.
 
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cireza

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Did not know that Japan was a franchise. Damn, I might have missed some good games on SEGA consoles in the past.
 
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Games would not help them too much. Aside a bunch of bad decisions, the Dreamcast line up was spectacular and Dreamcast is considered Sega's swan song even now. But it was already too later for them.

Nintendo is incredible though.
No it wasn't, I like DC games as well but they didn't have the appeal and reach to sell more than they did. That's just how it was at the time, same with the Gamecube that had $50 3 game fire sales by late 2004 at some retailers. Great games, didn't appeal to the expanded gaming audience.
 

ChuckeRearmed

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No it wasn't, I like DC games as well but they didn't have the appeal and reach to sell more than they did. That's just how it was at the time, same with the Gamecube that had $50 3 game fire sales by late 2004 at some retailers. Great games, didn't appeal to the expanded gaming audience.
I think nothing could stop Playstation 2 at that time and due to internal Sega issues and being crippled after Saturn generation it had no chances. Playstation 2 was marching around the world. The sheer amount of games PS2 got was/unrivaled and Nintendo even pivot from the same console market (multiplatform or whatever it is called) after GameCube.
 
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2,5 million units in Japan given it didn't release elsewhere isn't blockbuster for Sakura Wars, but Jet Moto with less than 2 million worldwide is, lmfao. How much more did the likes of Twisted Metal do, if any?

The threshold to be considered a runaway hit and enter into some "greatest hits" line back then was like 500k, not some 10 million.

Much consistency in your arguments, yes.
Where are you getting this imaginary 2.5 million from?

SAT

Best selling Sakura Taisen 2 509,091

DC

Best selling Sakura Taisen 3 [All Versions] 349,150

That's not even 1 million combining both the best selling games on both consoles. Jet Moto outsold both of those and then some combined selling over 1 million heading toward 2 million copies.

Lol, and 10 million? Sega barely could hit 2 with any game and was only able a hit over 1 a handful of times you don't need 10 million copies. That's a very common cop-out tho.
 

Kokoloko85

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Saturn beat the N64 in Japan. It lost to Playstation because of lack of 3rd party support for 3d games.

They had a strong first party line up with Dreamcast. But again, the 3rd party line up wasnt great and then the PS2 came.

Both had some amazing games especially in Japan, but they ended up being under powered against the competition.
 
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I think nothing could stop Playstation 2 at that time and due to internal Sega issues and being crippled

This is the problem, you are not thinking about Sega doing better and being more competitive to stay in, you are thinking of it as "Sega beating the PS2" which is a completely different unrelated conversation. if Sega had the software they would have brought in more interest in Dreamcast Hardware and people would have explored the library more. The hype for online (which didn't work out as much as they hoped) and console power worked in place of that initially but as time went on the lack of appealing games became an issue.

The Gamecube, the one closest to Sega in appeal and reach with the Dreamcast, had multiple FP broad studios and had some relatively well selling TP blockbusters as a result (compared to its sales momentum) which later got cut back as the sales floundered but this gave the Gamecube a better starting window then the Dreamcast that would help it later. Tho that also had some issues getting the attraction needed even with $50 fire sales but if the Dreamcast was able to reach 20 million Sega likely would have stayed.
 

ReBurn

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Sega's problem was never software. Games weren't the issues. Sega's consoles after Genesis failed because of infighting between Sega of Japan and Sega of America, poor hardware strategy resulting from it, and overspending related to it. 32X was a bad half step and they were caught completely off guard by what PS1 was capable of. Their lack of focus led to bad decisions unrelated to their games. By the time they got to Dreamcast they were broke.
 
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Saturn beat the N64 in Japan. It lost to Playstation because of lack of 3rd party support for 3d games.

They had a strong first party line up with Dreamcast. But again, the 3rd party line up wasnt great and then the PS2 came.

Both had some amazing games especially in Japan, but they ended up being under powered against the competition.
It was more like the N64 died before it could catch up to the Saturn in Japan as the difference is less than 500k, like 5.5 N64
s to 5.9 million Saturns, with the N64 having a better software attach rate than the Saturn with a better selling top 20 games, for a console that launched 2 years later.

That doesn't make the Saturn look good at all, especially since in Japan there was even more shared games with the PSX then outside Japan. Also in Japan Saturn had significant third-party support especially during the peak.

Which may explain why the DC had virtually little to no momentum in Japan when it launched.
 

A.Romero

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Yes, this is a really good analysis.

I think the first Playstation was the turning point for Sega. That stunt about the Genesis launching without warning and retailers deciding not to carry stock gave Sony a good chance for a great opening that they took advantage of. Overall, IMO the biggest flaw in Sega's strategy was not having enough western studios and the ones they had were producing games that were not that interesting, IMO. Nintendo at least had Rare doing great things and Sony started with Psygnosis so they were covered. Sega had a chance to collaborate with Sony against Nintendo but they felt Sony wasn't really bringing anything interesting to the table so they declined.

PS2 just was the final stroke.

In any case I think Sega is much better now. I don't think we really need another console and their games are doing fine so...
 

Krappadizzle

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Once GTA3 and MGS2 were shown/released, it was game over for Sega. I loved the Dreamcast, still think Tennis 2k1 is one of the best tennis games ever made. It was a console perfect for a group of young teenagers that wanted to chug mountain dew and play arcade games all night. Buddy and I would play Dead or Alive 2 for hours, or Power Stone or many of the 2k sports titles. I remember staying up all night to play through Shenmue and being blown away. Dreamcast was a great little system, but Sega made some awful choices back to back to back leading up to it's release and more or less squandered the mindshare they gained with the Genesis.
 

StormCell

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A lot of people come up with many theories as for Why Sega couldn't stabilize in the console space, but many of the reasons are straight forward just that many people who are attached won't admit so. One of these reasons is a very inconsistent first-party development arm, that at best could produce adequate sales but could never hit that blockbuster level of sales that brings the masses to your console and spread outward across the library, with two exceptions.

Sonic the Hedgehog (until 1995, sales revived in 1998) and Vitua Fighter (until post VF2).

You have all these games produced by all these teams spanning two-addons and 4 consoles (and a portable) and you were never able to have a slew of major blockbuster first party games relative to the consoles sales. Let's look at competitors (won't list all the games just some examples)

Some examples of blockbuster selling SNES FP games

  • Star Fox
  • F-Zero
  • Super Mario World
  • Super Metroid
  • Mario Paint
  • Pilotwings

Some examples of blockbuster selling PS1 FP games

  • Hot Shots Golf
  • Gran Turismo
  • Twisted Metal
  • NFL Gameday
  • Cool Borders
  • Legend of Dragoon
  • Jet Moto

Some examples of blockbuster selling N64 FP games

  • Star Fox 64
  • Wave Race 64
  • Super Mario 64
  • Majoras Mask
  • Pokemon Stadium
  • Mario Kart 64

Some examples of blockbuster selling PS2 FP games

  • Gran Turismo 3
  • Jak and Daxter
  • The Getaway
  • God of War
  • SOCOM

Some examples of blockbuster selling Xbox FP games

  • Halo
  • NFL Fever
  • Amped

Some examples of blockbuster selling GameCube FP games

  • Animal Crossing
  • Windwaker
  • Doubledash


And you see the trends continue for each console, but Sega only really had two their entire console run of 4 consoles (5 if you include Japan) and 1 portable and nearly all of Sonics sales were on the Genesis where it also by 1995 was no longer bringing in that major audience until the Dreamcast launch resuscitated it. VF held up the Saturn in Japan until after VF2, then it never had that pull again until after Sega dropped consoles and went to the PS2 with it.

You need some block buster titles on your console to attract those bigger third parties that will bring there own blockbuster franchises, otherwise your sunk. Or in the Saturns case you have some TP blockbuster releases as your competitor but your FP value proposition pales so much that it doesn't attract even a fraction of the blockbuster fever.

We can look at some of Sega's most known created console games outside of Sonic and VF:

GEN

  • Alexx Kidd in enchanted castle
  • Altered beast
  • Columns
  • Comix Zone
  • Flicky
  • Fatal Labyrinth
  • Golden Axe
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Last Battle
  • Phantasy Star 2-4
  • Revenge of Shinobi
  • Ristar
  • etc.

SAT

  • Black Fire
  • Clockwork Knight
  • Fighting Vipers
  • Fighters Megamix
  • Daytona
  • Shining Force 3
  • Virtua Cop
  • Virtual On
  • Nights
  • Burning Rangers
  • Magic Knight Rayearth
  • Deep Fear
  • etc.

DC

  • Chu Chu rocket
  • Crazy Taxi
  • Shenmue
  • House of the Dead 2
  • Dynamite cop
  • Phantasy Star online
  • REZ
  • Sega Rally 2
  • Sega GT
  • Space Channel 5
  • Virtual Striker
  • etc.

Most of these had very narrow reach if any, usually not attracting many customers or at best generating somewhat modest numbers for things like Shenmue (the first game) due to graphical novelty and magazine hype, but that still didn't really create that blockbuster hit needed for the Dreamcast (did reach over 1 mill tho), instead that one game was Sonic Adventure, which was also included with the console in some instances, but it's the only one that really headed in that direction. The Genesis and Saturn in comparison just didn't really have anything like that in terms of FP IP SEGA IP.

Something like 2 million sales was a rarity with Sega FP ips.

When you go that long in the industry with only a couple of blockbuster hits that's bad, it means people are not interested in the games for the hardware which leads to lower hardware and software sales. A spread out of games to make up for a lack of a blockbuster selling title only works if they all sell pretty well which isn't the case, so the consumer interest continues to drop over time.

Dreamcast was the best bet for Sega to fix that problem, and to give them credit they did throw some things at the wall to see if it would stick, but they also brought back a lot of poor reaching or niche cult franchises back as well that never had that mass appeal. If Sega were to have focused on some great polished experiences instead of inconsistent titles and experiments than maybe it could have gotten those one or two blockbuster games that would lead to exploration of the Dreamcast library creating an environment of positivity and rising sales.

Sadly this never happened.
I was riding along with you and giving the benefit of the doubt on a lot of questionable insights that you make, and then you proceed to list games like Star Fox and F-Zero as major first party franchises for SNES and N64 while not even mentioning Donkey Kong Country (a first-party franchise) or Ocarina of Time (you chose to list Majora's Mask rather than the arguable GOAT). I like Star Fox, F-Zero, and Metroid about as much as any Nintendo fan, but these are not the first party console movers you are looking for. If you really want the major first party franchises, it's Mario, Mario Kart, Zelda, and more Mario. In that order.

It's not hard.

And yes, you could make an argument that part of SEGA's downfall was not having enough must-have content. It's something that more recently has been an issue for MS and has been the ace in the hole for Sony and Nintendo. Still, that alone doesn't mean an exit from the market. This is where deeper pockets for MS helps and where SEGA ultimately had to make decisions and cuts if it wanted to stay alive. SEGA has plenty of valuable franchises, and if they wanted they could certainly provide an excellent set of first party titles. As you noted, the consistency of the quality was something of a question, but it's workable for them.
 
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I was riding along with you and giving the benefit of the doubt on a lot of questionable insights that you make, and then you proceed to list games like Star Fox and F-Zero as major first party franchises for SNES and N64 while not even mentioning Donkey Kong Country

brah really?

Let's look at competitors (won't list all the games just some examples)
I said from the start I wasn't listing all the games, the point was to list "some" examples of blockbuster level selling games you are really going to complain about nothing? All the consoles I listed had great sales and that was the point. You say Star Fox wasn't a console mover yet it sold around 4 million units, F-Zero sold almost 3, these are sales on the SNES, are you seriously going to pretend those aren't blockbuster sales over a strawman that you build yourself because you didn't read the part where I said I wasn't listing all the games?
 

ChuckeRearmed

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This is the problem, you are not thinking about Sega doing better and being more competitive to stay in, you are thinking of it as "Sega beating the PS2" which is a completely different unrelated conversation. if Sega had the software they would have brought in more interest in Dreamcast Hardware and people would have explored the library more. The hype for online (which didn't work out as much as they hoped) and console power worked in place of that initially but as time went on the lack of appealing games became an issue.

The Gamecube, the one closest to Sega in appeal and reach with the Dreamcast, had multiple FP broad studios and had some relatively well selling TP blockbusters as a result (compared to its sales momentum) which later got cut back as the sales floundered but this gave the Gamecube a better starting window then the Dreamcast that would help it later. Tho that also had some issues getting the attraction needed even with $50 fire sales but if the Dreamcast was able to reach 20 million Sega likely would have stayed.
I do agree with your point that Sega did not have any system sellers (aside maybe Sonic) but in all honestly in console business Sega was not that successful. They basically had a single successful gen with Mega Drive maybe? I don't remember how it is called with cartridges and ComixZone.
 

Zeroing

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Hmm 🤔 it could also be due to brand identity.
Sega was always trying to “defeat”Nintendo.. I mean in their marketing.
Then PS came, so Sega had no longer Nintendo as the only competitor … along that, I assume Sega took some really bad decisions that in the long run were the cause of their demise.
 

StormCell

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brah really?


I said from the start I wasn't listing all the games, the point was to list "some" examples of blockbuster level selling games you are really going to complain about nothing? All the consoles I listed had great sales and that was the point. You say Star Fox wasn't a console mover yet it sold around 4 million units, F-Zero sold almost 3, these are sales on the SNES, are you seriously going to pretend those aren't blockbuster sales over a strawman that you build yourself because you didn't read the part where I said I wasn't listing all the games?
I'm simply nitpicking your choice of franchises. Having looked them up now, I'm even more compelled to nitpick, since Star Fox was 9th and 10th on the SNES and N64 sales charts, and F-Zero was 15th and MIA comparatively. Then I took a look at the Sega Genesis best selling page on Wikipedia, and now I'm coming around to your point more. It really doesn't matter what you pick among Nintendo's stable, the point is they've had one and SEGA Nintendon't. How can you hope to stay in the market when your strongest selling franchise was basically a blue hedgehog whose game quality became erratic once in 3D? The sales on their own consoles were not great or even system movers by that standard, and one would have thought that the Genesis would have churned out far more million sellers when you consider what a huge console war that was against the SNES. As soon as you look at the best sellers, it becomes a no contest...

Which I'm not saying that the Genesis wasn't good. I liked mine. Hey, I owned one. I simply owned a lot more games for my SNES than I did for my Genesis.
 
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I do agree with your point that Sega did not have any system sellers (aside maybe Sonic) but in all honestly in console business Sega was not that successful. They basically had a single successful gen with Mega Drive maybe? I don't remember how it is called with cartridges and ComixZone.
Well the Mega Drive quickly was losing relevance after it's peak which led to some dumb moves losing money, then the jaguar stuff was coming out and Sega feared that would crush the Genesis's sales, so they made the 32X to extend its life, which also lost money, I don't know if those last moves negated the Genesis profits as they didn't launch the Saturn with a surplus of cash and would be nearing financial hurdles and requiring outside help to start producing the Dreamcast just 3 years after.

But the Mega Drive brought Sega sales and a large audience for a time which gave the brand name credibility and it's most loyal fans to this day so Mega Drive was a success for Sega from a brand perspective if not also financially overall.
 
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Then I took a look at the Sega Genesis best selling page on Wikipedia, and now I'm coming around to your point more. It really doesn't matter what you pick among Nintendo's stable, the point is they've had one and SEGA Nintendon't. How can you hope to stay in the market when your strongest selling franchise was basically a blue hedgehog whose game quality became erratic once in 3D? The sales on their own consoles were not great or even system movers by that standard, and one would have thought that the Genesis would have churned out far more million sellers when you consider what a huge console war that was against the SNES. As soon as you look at the best sellers, it becomes a no contest...
It was mostly a marketing war which ended up arguably benefitting third-parties more than Sega, especially the more mature third-parties like Midway. Sonic itself could barely hold 2 million after Sonic 3 but FP they didn't have anything comparable. Then after Sonic and Knuckles Sonic wasn't even a 1 million seller again, or even a 700k seller again until the franchise was revitalized by Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast.

I mean people will bring up games like Crazy Taxi, Virtual On, and so forth but the only other franchise that would be around a 2 million seller + on Sega hardware that's not Sonic in some form was Virtua Fighter 2 mostly due to Japan, which didn't transfer to VF3, even if 3TB was "bad" even initial sales weren't that great.

A lot of people would get defensive because they look at it as a quality argument as if one is saying Sega has bad games, I think the issue is a lot are experiemental or ok games that just don't have broad appeal, or games focused on niches or novelties that may impress the first time but not in sequels.
 

StormCell

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Is this "shit on SEGA" day for the OP? This is their second thread trashing SEGA today.
Might be. Personally, I think they deserve a whole month dedicating to taking the piss out of them. They used to make great games. They certainly could do a lot more with the IPs they own. :)
 
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Is this "shit on SEGA" day for the OP? This is their second thread trashing SEGA today.
How is a thread about an article saying MS was supposed to work with Sega on the Saturn "trashing" Sega? How is this thread bringing up sales facts "trashing" Sega? Nothing about game quality across this entire thread.

Fanboys are just so short-minded.
 

KyoZz

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I miss the Dreamcast


 

Animagic

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Sega was a disfunctional company with SEGA Usa making different decisions/investing in different directions.

They released a pletora of consoles in a short period of time...

If they focused on the Dreamcast it could do very well.
Came to post this. Sega USA was almost in direct conflict with Sega HQ in Japan, leading to much dysfunction.
 
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StormCell

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It was mostly a marketing war which ended up arguably benefitting third-parties more than Sega, especially the more mature third-parties like Midway. Sonic itself could barely hold 2 million after Sonic 3 but FP they didn't have anything comparable. Then after Sonic and Knuckles Sonic wasn't even a 1 million seller again, or even a 700k seller again until the franchise was revitalized by Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast.

I mean people will bring up games like Crazy Taxi, Virtual On, and so forth but the only other franchise that would be around a 2 million seller + on Sega hardware that's not Sonic in some form was Virtua Fighter 2 mostly due to Japan, which didn't transfer to VF3, even if 3TB was "bad" even initial sales weren't that great.

A lot of people would get defensive because they look at it as a quality argument as if one is saying Sega has bad games, I think the issue is a lot are experiemental or ok games that just don't have broad appeal, or games focused on niches or novelties that may impress the first time but not in sequels.
In all this there exists an argument and an explanation for the continuing success of Nintendo and moreso Sony. When you look at the top sellers for PS1/PS2 and SNES/N64/GCN versus the more recent consoles, it becomes a story of adaptation to changing market trends. We haven't seen F-Zero, really, since GCN, and even then it was farmed out to SEGA. Star Fox was similarly farmed out to Rare. Neither has really been seen again except for that more experimental Star Fox on Wii U. I have to point out that Sony isn't riding the same stable of games that it rode with PS1/PS2, and we're finding that their big IPs are basically whatever they decide to make a blockbuster single player narrative about.

Strangely, I'm no longer even sure what Sony's biggest franchises are. They've got Gran Turismo and MLB The Show, but I don't feel like these are the stalwarts that move consoles. Is it even TLOU? What if they didn't make another? Is it Horizon? That wasn't around until last gen. God of War got a reboot. So what does the stable consist of? Just mumbling in my mind and typing it out at this point, but it's interesting to consider in light of the past.
 

fart town usa

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It was more than that because Sega has a ton of great franchises that people loved, even if they didn't measure up to what Nintendo and Sony had.

Me personally, I always thought it was dumb that a lot of games were just Arcade ports; Daytona USA, Sega Rally, Crazy Taxi, Die Hard Arcade, Dynamite Cop, Zombie's Revenge, House of the Dead. Fun games but not something I want to spend full price on.

Let's be honest here too, Sega diehards are kind of weird and are niche. Just take the Sonic community. God bless you all but man, looking from the outside in is just bizarre, lol. It makes perfect sense that they stopped making consoles cause their games are better off as third party releases. There isn't anything Sega needs from their own console in regard to the games they make.

edit: Like others have said, Sega USA seemed to create a lot of issues back then. Who was it, Bernie Stolar or something, "the sega saturn is not our future..." Speak for yourself bro, my Saturn is still plugged in and always will be. THE SATURN IS THE ONLY FUTURE.
 
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PhaseJump

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Sega's bread and butter was always arcade games and they failed because people stopped preferring them. Sega's franchises that were designed from the ground up for home consoles never found their audiences. It is understandable considering each console only found success in 1 or 2 markets, and none of them were globally successful.

Master System never mattered in North America, Mega Drive never mattered in Japan, Saturn never mattered anywhere except Japan, Dreamcast uptake was flat.

Sonic is the only franchise they have that was in the ball park with Mario. Metroid isn't even worth mentioning in the OP as anything to hold over the Sega IP. It's sort of a loser just like Sega's stuff if you're going after massive sales numbers.

The industry grew over the years, and Sega's never kept up. Nintendo had enough cash to invest in gimmicks that were hit or miss, and it's the handhelds that kept them in the game. Nintendo was conservative, Sega was spending money on stupid shit that nobody bought.
 
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fart town usa

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Sega's bread and butter was always arcade games and they failed because people stopped preferring them. Sega's franchises that were designed from the ground up for home consoles never found their audiences. It is understandable considering each console only found success in 1 or 2 markets, and none of them were globally successful.

Master System never mattered in North America, Mega Drive never mattered in Japan, Saturn never mattered anywhere except Japan, Dreamcast uptake was flat.

Sonic is the only franchise they have that was in the ball park with Mario. Metroid isn't even worth mentioning in the OP as anything to hold over the Sega IP. It's sort of a loser just like Sega's stuff if you're going after massive sales numbers.

The industry grew over the years, and Sega's never kept up. Nintendo had enough cash to invest in gimmicks that were hit or miss, and it's the handhelds that kept them in the game. Nintendo was conservative, Sega was spending money on stupid shit that nobody bought.
I never once heard anything about the Master System where I grew up in the US. Never saw it in a store, used at a Funcoland. No one mentioned it on the playground. The Genesis was the first console we knew of from Sega. I was the only person in my friend group in Middle School who owned a Saturn and the only reason I had it is because they were so cheap when stores started purging them. Besides the Genesis and Dreamcast, no one was really hyped on anything from Sega. A few friends had a Game Gear but the battery life was awful and we all knew the GameBoy was the superior hand held. The Sega CD and 32x were laughed at when I was in Elementary School. We all knew they weren't worth asking for at Christmas, lol.

My point is, as someone who grew up during that period, everything besides the Genesis/Dreamcast was viewed as "meh" by the majority of people.
 
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cireza

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I never once heard anything about the Master System where I grew up in the US. Never saw it in a store, used at a Funcoland. No one mentioned it on the playground. The Genesis was the first console we knew of from Sega. I was the only person in my friend group in Middle School who owned a Saturn and the only reason I had it is because they were so cheap when stores started purging them. Besides the Genesis and Dreamcast, no one was really hyped on anything from Sega. A few friends had a Game Gear but the battery life was awful and we all knew the GameBoy was the superior hand held. The Sega CD and 32x were laughed at when I was in Elementary School. We all knew they weren't worth asking for at Christmas, lol.

My point is, as someone who grew up during that period, everything besides the Genesis/Dreamcast was viewed as "meh" by the majority of people.
It was pretty different in Europe and France. Master System and Game Gear were very common, and I even had a friend who had a Mega-CD. We got many games entirely in French as well.

Game Gear was a fine system to play in your bedroom when plugged. I only ever played the console like this, fantastic console honestly. People don't know the full library, the console was supported pretty late actually, and in Japan as well.
 
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fart town usa

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It was pretty different in Europe and France. Master System and Game Gear were very common, and I even had a friend who had a Mega-CD. We got many games entirely in French as well.

Game Gear was a fine system to play in your bedroom when plugged. I only ever played the console like this, fantastic console honestly. People don't know the full library, the console was supported pretty late actually, and in Japan as well.
Totally, Game Gear had some good Shining Force games if I remember right.

I wish the Master System had been more abundant in the States. Always wanted to try one out. I love the graphics and I think that Sonic on it is actually a fantastic version of the game. More of a platformer than speed focused. Wii VC was great with Master System games from what I remember.
 
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BusierDonkey

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Sega failed because Sega itself was in a constant state of civil war. Even in their heyday when the Genesis was on the market the east and west divisions were butting heads. The Mega Drive and Game Gear were the height of Sega. After releasing a bunch of shitty MegaDrive add-ons as it faded into obscurity and nonsense like the Nomad were shit onto the market they released a Saturn which was frankly overbuilt and too expensive. It was made to handle both sprite-based 2D games and polygonal 3D games but with huge problems in both categories, no transparency between sprites in 2D games, and quads in place of triangles for 3D. While Sega was busy messing everything up internally Nintendo shit the bed and pissed Sony off enough to make their own console out of absolute garbage parts so they could undersell the Saturn. Sega's retarded surprise launch coupled with Sony's flea market pricing on a console built so cheaply that had to be played upside down killed the Saturn before the Playstation even launched. Sony also scooped up all the 3rd parties which would put the final nail in Sega's console business. By the time the Dreamcast released they were solidly up shit creek, advertising shit like being able to run Bleem to play old PS1 games. The PS2 was going to crush it no matter what they did. As much as I love the Dreamcast it was not competition for the PS2. No DVD player and missing third party support meant it wasn't even a great value at the time. To me it will always be the biggest visual leap in a new console and I bought mine on day one but it honestly never had a chance.

Then we have their arcade division. The Dreamcast killed the arcades. It was the first home console that offered arcade games that looked as good, or even better than the arcade games. Why dump $1 into an arcade machine several times a day just to have some Asian fellow who lives at the arcade beat you in 10 seconds when you can go home and have the same Asian fellow beat you in 10 seconds for free? If the Dreamcast never happened the next consoles would still have killed the arcades (coupled with the rising cost of entry to buy machines and the jump to $2/play games) but it's crazy to think that Sega was a huge part of what was essentially the end of the 1980's and 1990's arcade scene.

Sega was better suited to just making games and marketing them, but in time they fucked that up too. Sonic was at one point a household name, but decades passed with nothing but mediocre Sonic releases. Franchises like Jet Set, Panzer Dragoon, Space Channel 5, Chu Chu Rocket, Crazy series, Golden Axe, Ecco, Streets of Rage, House of the Dead, Virtua Fighter, Virtua Racing, Sega Rally, Shenmue, etc (I barely scratched the surface, Sega has a massive archive of great characters for games) either never got sequels or reboots, or they got mediocre sequels. There is the odd glimmer of hope, early Xbox games felt like new Dreamcast games, Streets of Rage 4 was alright and the Panzer Dragoon Remaster was at least faithful to the original game but nothing was exactly mind-blowing. Atlus seems to be doing well and has a fanbase but main line Sega is essentially in it's death throes at this point and has been for a while now.

Hopefully things change for Sega after next Wednesday's announcement.
 
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Super Metroid sales were hardly blockbusting and you know the Master System was a huge seller for SEGA in Europe.
 

xiskza

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2,5 million units (ok, I misread your post the way your write, lol, it's over 500k then) in Japan isn't blockbuster for Sakura Wars, but Jet Moto with less than 2 million worldwide is, lmfao. How much more did the likes of Twisted Metal and Legend of Dragoon do, if any?

The threshold to enter into the Greatest Hits line back then for Sony was, in a year of sales, 150k for PS1 and then just 400k for PS2, not some 10 million or something, are you for real dude? We aren't talking 2021 Ubisoft 1000 man AAA projects and expected sales.

Much consistency in your arguments, yes. You've yet to address anything in my first comment anyway, you just pick and choose a line out of context and think you won the internet, lol, even repeating what I already said, that it's not to do with quality. Yet your actual arguments say otherewise.

Jet Moto is above 2 million worldwide, although probably not by much. The first 2 games both sold over a million, no info on the 3rd but it most likely didnt do well
 

DT MEDIA

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While diehard Sega fans can cite a hundred classics, to most casual gamers in the 1990s, the Sega Genesis was a hit for two reasons only: Sonic and Sports. It was a much more casual-oriented audience and when Generation 5 rolled around, most of them either migrated to Sony (which did an excellent job with sports games) and Nintendo (whose N64 was receiving massive amounts of hype). Sega did manage to turn things around a little with Dreamcast, thanks to Sonic Adventure and NFL/NBA 2K, but by that point it was too little, too late.

I'm not sure why there always has to be a debate on "Why Sega Failed." It's just about the only thing about Sega anybody wants to talk about anymore. But this is like debating whether Edgar Allen Poe or Hemmingway should have quit drinking and eaten more vegetables.
 

SkylineRKR

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Sega had no single blockbuster, as far as blockbusters went during those times. Perhaps Code Veronica but it wasn't even a numbered entry. There was no FF, MGS and I would say GTA but DC did have a port of GTA 2. That series went full blockbuster with 3 though, late 2001. They also had Tomb Raider but those were late ports also. What it had were gamey games. Crazy Taxi, Powerstone etc. Pure arcade fun. DC had you could say an overabundance of those experiences. They were incredibly fun to play, but they don't reach out to a mass market. Even Crash Bandicoot was more popular than Sonic at the time, despite Sonic Adventure doing well on DC.

Would DVD help? no. I wonder if DVD would even catch on if DC premiered with it. The format wasn't in huge demand before Sony hyped it.

Sega's DNA were always hardcore games, look at the Genesis and Saturn portfolio. They never really tried to reach the mass market. Gaming before Sony never did. Nintendo also stayed very old school with its storage and type of software. Though Mario has lots of appeal because its a gaming icon. Its not before Sony that you saw consoles being placed at dance events and such, targeted at an older and bigger crowd. Thats also when I started to notice consoles in living rooms, with parents also using it.
 
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Sega consoles failed primarily because they were like buy the Sega CD.... with barely anything worth playing on it, followed by the 32x with the same problem, and then Saturn immediately after in a Pearl Harbor release just for good measure. Also they were a little too focused on rehashing old arcade shit. Like who wanted to play Space Harrier in 1994? Us kids were weary of Sega and their shenanigans, they had squandered their sorta edgy street cred of the day. Meanwhile screen shots of Ridge Racer and Battle Arena Toshinden in the gaming mags looked next level.

Also 32x and Sega CD weren't fucking colorful enough. SNES games were nice and colorful. We hooked up our SNESes with those crazy included yellow red and white cables. Looked great. Meanwhile we were all running the RF on Genesis because that's what they gave ya, and it didn't have the direct RCA outs like an NES.
 

Vier

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IIRC, Sega burned bridges with the 32x and Sega CD, which started the ball rolling. Then, with Saturn, they had a "stealth launch"; at E3 1995, they announced Saturn was on sale at select retailers RIGHT NOW. This angered retailers and publishers who weren't cut in on the launch (the fact that they didn't bring third parties on board meant the launch library was also very small).

At that very same E3, Sony announced that the PlayStation would be a full $100 cheaper than the Saturn. It came out later, but with a lot more third party titles to go with it and at a cheaper price point; which meant it very easily eclipsed the Saturn. Some retailers also refused to stock Saturn's because Sega had burned those bridges at E3.

Additionally, from what I've heard, Saturn's hardware was not that great for 3d games and was harder to develop for than the PlayStation. The fact the launch was botched, plus it's hardware difficulties, meant that third parties chose to develop for the other platforms.

And so the Saturn failed to sell, and while the Dreamcast was launched competently and blew the other consoles out of the water at launch time (it came out a year and a half before the PS2, IIRC), it didn't win back the crowd.

EDIT: Looking it up, Sega America had lied about the launch day, originally scheduling it for one week prior to the PlayStation, then pulled the Stealth Launch stunt.

EDIT: Of course, that's the story of the Saturn in America. I don't know how it did in Japan (not enough to offset the losses, but maybe it was more competitive? I've heard a lot of good games were not localized for the U.S. by Sega America management) or Europe.

So yeah.
 
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SkylineRKR

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Saturn was rather succesful in Japan. It did outsell the N64 there. In the end I think the Saturn amounted about a quarter of the PS1 sales but it obviously had a much shorter life span. This made it tough for Sega, they had to axe a system prematurely that wasn't even a total flop in Japan but everywhere else.
 

Kadve

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Segas big issue was its internal squabbles. Especially between Sega Japan and America.

I mean, just looks at Sonic Xtreme and its development history. Have a great 3d engine that would work perfectly with a Sonic Game? Sorry, its creator don't trust anyone else with it and we don't want to risk him leaving the company. (Not to mention straight up laying to the Japanese representatives by just showing them a minor aspect of the game, and then be surprised when you have to restart development when they order you too make the entire game like that)

Or the Dreamcast for that matter. Saturn had problems in the US so we try and make more business partners over there? Sure, but then lets completely ignore them as we don't actually trust non-Japanese companies so we gonna keep on going just like we did with the Saturn...
 
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