Posted on April 6, 2018
Biggest console flops in history
When you say “games console” to someone they probably think of a PlayStation or Xbox. Everyone knows what they are and going further back you can add the SNES and Sega Mega Drive to the list. What about the more obscure consoles that didn’t take off commercially.? Don’t worry, in this blog, we’ll jog your memory of some of the machines that didn’t quite make it.
Commodore was a massive computing company in the 80s and 90s. Their Amiga was one of the biggest selling home computers, but the company did themselves no favours at all when they somehow lost plans for the original 32-bit home computer, the Amiga 1200, causing a complete redesign that was years later than it should have been. To fill the gap, they released the CD32, which at the time was the height of technology, using CD-ROMs. The problem with the CD32 was the Amiga games that were ported for it didn’t change the control system to take into account a joypad instead of a joystick. This rendered a lot of games annoying and some unplayable. This pretty much killed Commodore as a major player
The CD-ROM based console concept managed to create a number of flops, and Philips, inventor of the CD’s version is no different. Though marketed as a multi-media player, I still class it as a console because you got games for it and it had joypads. Announced in 1984, it wasn’t released until 1991, at peak Nintendo and Sega time. It managed to last until 1998, but they never really caught on, especially with a £1000 price tag. It lost Philips $1 Billion across its lifespan.
The 3DO was developed in partnership with Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins as a specification for a console that could be rolled out to manufacturers. Panasonic, GoldStar and Sanyo all made version of the console. With a retail price of $700 and only launching with one game, the machine struggled to get many games onto the platform and it only lasted between 1993 and 1996, selling a very poor number of units.
Before Steve Jobs returned to Apple and set them on the path they’re on now, they were a shambles and nothing sums up that era better than the Pippin. The Pippin was based on the Power PC, which was one of the worst Apple computers of all time due to issues between the RAM and the processor, causing the processor to effectively run at half speed. Produced by Bandai, the toy company, the system was too expensive, had a poor user experience and hardly any games. It only sold 42000 units worldwide and the first thing Steve Jobs did when he returned to the company was to scrap the project.
Amstrad GX 4000
Lord Sugar’s Amstrad brand tried to get in on Nintendo’s and Sega’s action in the early 90s. This monstrosity ported games from the Amstrad CPC, had a good price point and lots of titles, but it was just rubbish and only sold 15000 units before being discontinued in 1991.