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Biggest console failure ever?


kitsunebi

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I just uploaded an ad for what I at first thought was just another PC Engine game, but which was actually for the SuperGrafx system.  I'd never heard of it before, and it turns out there's a good reason for that. 

Intended to be the successor of the PC Engine/TurboGrafx16, the SuperGrafx was only released in Japan.  But then so was the Wonderswan, and I've heard of that one, right? 

No, the real reason I'd never heard of it is because there were only 5 games ever produced for it.  Five.  Man, I feel sorry for anyone who bought that thing (it was backwards compatible with the PC Engine, but anyone who already owned one of those got royally screwed.)

SuperGrafx-Console-Set.jpg

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To my understanding the japanese had a lot of money to spend during those years, so they probably where after the enthusiast niche, just look at stuff like the cps changer

Even the neo geo home system which was pretty much unknown outside of the hardcore crowd faced some success in the domestic market despite the insane price

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3 hours ago, JhonnyD said:

To my understanding the japanese had a lot of money to spend during those years, so they probably where after the enthusiast niche, just look at stuff like the cps changer

Even the neo geo home system which was pretty much unknown outside of the hardcore crowd faced some success in the domestic market despite the insane price

Yeah, but 5 games?  That's not success by ANY definition.  No one has the money to buy a console that only has 5 games, even if all 5 are amazing (which they weren't).

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  • 2 weeks later...
11 minutes ago, platinum said:

Apple Bandai Pippin was also a big failure in video game industry , only 18 games for USA market !

Wow, I've never heard of that one.  Looking at the games list, it seems like it was targeted at pre-school-aged children.  Probably a mistake for a $600 product.

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  • 3 weeks later...
16 minutes ago, Sivilius said:

Hey at least the SuperGrafx was backwards compatible. The follow-up PC-FX tanked massively and ultimately drove NEC/Hudson out of the console market for good.

True, but at least they sold 400,000 systems.  That's a smashing success compared to the Xbox One, which has only sold 102,000 systems in Japan in the 4 years since it launched.🤣

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17 minutes ago, KiwiArcader said:

All versions of Xbox have sold pitifully in Japan so no surprises there regarding Xbox One. I think if it ain't built by a company based in Japan it just won't sell........

Yes, obviously, but there's still a whole other level of failure from the Xbox 360's 1,600,000 units and the Xbox One's 100,000 units.  One would hope that Microsoft has learned their lesson and doesn't even try to release anything into the Japanese market from now on.

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4 hours ago, Sivilius said:

Well the Xbox's continued failures in Japan are largely due to xenophobia.

This isn't really true.

4 hours ago, Sivilius said:

Well that and Japan's near-total distaste for first person shooters and Western-styled graphics. 🤔

This is mostly true.

The real answer is this: the Xbox has very little to offer Japan.  If you're Japanese, why would you want an Xbox?  Most of the Xbox-exclusive games are western-developed, and as you point out, don't appeal to Japanese gamers' tastes.  Almost all of the Japanese games  you might want to play are (obviously) available on Japanese systems, and so are the foreign games that have been embraced within Japan like Minecraft, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, etc.

Japan doesn't ignore Microsoft because they dislike foreign things.  Everyone's computer is running Windows, and the most popular mobile phone in Japan is the iPhone.  The Xbox just doesn't appeal because it has very little to offer that appeals to Japanese consumers that isn't already available on a Japanese system as well.

Until Microsoft can secure hundreds of exclusive dating sims and JRPGs, they don't stand a chance.

 

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14 hours ago, kitsunebi77 said:

Until Microsoft can secure hundreds of exclusive dating sims and JRPGs, they don't stand a chance.

Don't give them any ideas. I don't need to make room for another retro console amongst the hoard. :)

*huggles*
Areala

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  • 2 weeks later...
51 minutes ago, parallaxscroll said:

I learned about the SuperGrafx from magazines in early 1990.   It had released in Japan in November 1989.  

Wow, coverage in 5 different magazines - that's one magazine for every SuperGrafx game in existence! 🤣

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SuperGrafx is a good representation of why mid-generation "upgraded" consoles were seen for a long time as a bad idea. It's only very recently that the concept has been viable as seen with the PS4 Pro and XBox One X. All previous attempts either failed outright like the SuperGrafx, or were aborted outright like the 3DO M2.

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17 hours ago, Sivilius said:

SuperGrafx is a good representation of why mid-generation "upgraded" consoles were seen for a long time as a bad idea. It's only very recently that the concept has been viable as seen with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. All previous attempts either failed outright like the SuperGrafx, or were aborted outright like the 3DO M2.

 

Great post, and this is the best analogy to use to compare the SuperGrafx with present-day consoles.

The GPU in PS4 Pro (4.2 TFlops) is about 2.3 times more powerful than the OG PS4 and PS4 Slim (1.8 TFlops), and has a somewhat faster clocked CPU (2.1 GHz vs 1.6 GHz)

The GPU in Xbox One X (6 TFlops) is about 4.5 times more powerful than the OG Xbox One and nearly 4.5x the Xbox One S.

The SuperGrafx has twice had a second graphics/video processor, allowing twice the sprites as the PCE/TG-16 and a second background layer. The work RAM was quadrupled from 8k to 32k and the VRAM was doubled from 64k to 128k.   The CPU was not any faster.    So the leap from the PCE/TG-16 to the SuperGrafx was a bit less than the leap from the PS4 to the PS4Pro and much less than Xbox One  to Xbox One X.

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  • 1 month later...

For me the failure of the Virtual Boy is tinged with extra sadness because it's what forced Gumpei Yokoi out of Nintendo. Of course Yokoi was killed in a traffic accident not long after leaving Nintendo. It's always left me wondering what if the VB had been more of a success and Yokoi hadn't left Nintendo would he still be alive today? Who knows.

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  • 11 months later...
On 5/6/2019 at 1:53 AM, Sivilius said:

SuperGrafx is a good representation of why mid-generation "upgraded" consoles were seen for a long time as a bad idea. It's only very recently that the concept has been viable as seen with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. All previous attempts either failed outright like the SuperGrafx, or were aborted outright like the 3DO M2.

While I'm been reading through these old mags, the M2 seems like a great "What if?" Reports seemed like this was going to absolutely blow away the current consoles of the time, but it was delay, delay, delay until they sold off the rights to Matsushita(?) and they went in a different direction with it & never did release a console for a standalone M2 or a 3DO upgrade.

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19 hours ago, Rando1975 said:

While I'm been reading through these old mags, the M2 seems like a great "What if?" Reports seemed like this was going to absolutely blow away the current consoles of the time, but it was delay, delay, delay until they sold off the rights to Matsushita(?) and they went in a different direction with it & never did release a console for a standalone M2 or a 3DO upgrade.

You are correct. Panasonic/Matsushita ended up using the M2 technology in various other electronics In Japan like vending machines and ticket & Information kiosks for many years after the untimely end of the 3DO console. That being said 3DO Company did live on for several years as a 3rd-party software developer, mostly known for their Army Men series.

Edited by Sivilius
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