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Believe me, a new Sega console would repeat all the same mistakes Saturn and Dreamcast.

YOU PC BRO?!

Gold Member
Arnold Schwarzenegger Shut Up GIF


A Dreamcast 2 would change the industry forever!!!
 

Scotty W

Banned
It doesn’t get said enough: Sega is a stupid company.

It is INSANE that they never got 3d Sonic right. Bringing the arcade experience home is ridiculous- who wants a game you can finish in 15 minutes? Manx TT? Daytona? But then, to build your system around arcade ports… and you do bad ports! Or 2 bad ports (Daytona)! Or NO PORTS AT ALL, which is about half their arcade output. They KNEW they could not compete in the 32 bit era. It was pride that humiliated them. Even today, when a decent product gets made, like Sonic Mania, they put a stop to it. Even more than 30 years later, still no Outrunners port. Absurd. Stupid company.
 

KaiserBecks

Member
It doesn’t get said enough: Sega is a stupid company.

It is INSANE that they never got 3d Sonic right. Bringing the arcade experience home is ridiculous- who wants a game you can finish in 15 minutes? Manx TT? Daytona? But then, to build your system around arcade ports… and you do bad ports! Or 2 bad ports (Daytona)! Or NO PORTS AT ALL, which is about half their arcade output. They KNEW they could not compete in the 32 bit era. It was pride that humiliated them. Even today, when a decent product gets made, like Sonic Mania, they put a stop to it. Even more than 30 years later, still no Outrunners port. Absurd. Stupid company.
Episode 15 Crying GIF by One Chicago
 

Geometric-Crusher

"Nintendo games are like indies, and worth at most $19" 🤡
I believe they would never make the same mistakes twice. I trust in Sega to make brand new ones we can't even think of.
there's no way to avoid it. Remember, less money requires more creativity, more extravagance, therefore more mistakes
The first mistake would start with the hardware engineering itself (weak, strange or poorly publicized due to reduced marketing budget, etc)
and the second with the invitation to third parties (the market is oligopolistic so forget GTA or some equally important game )
The only way to make the idea viable would be to set up a Dream Team of third parties like Nintendo did in the N64 strategy (this team swore full support until the end of the 5th generation). Sega's Dream Team would also need to embrace the technology and launch games exploring its potential. Naturally, Sega would not have a chance to lead but it could make a worthy return, surpassing Saturn and Dreamcast combined.

Good times when developers posted on GAF

I love Sega, they are missing an opportunity, Japan is promising in the handheld market while in the West, fans are driven by nostalgia and will immediately buy any Sega console (if they make one of course).
 
A myth was created that Sega made mistakes in the past.

In fact, every company makes mistakes, but the impacts vary according to the capital the company has.
In the console market, the so-called mistakes is something necessary, few companies are as rich as Microsoft that can afford to make a mistake with Xbox One and basically relaunch the system with versions S and X or have enough money to put the best processor and the best gpu like they did Original xbox.

All other companies are forced to look for smart solutions to balance the scales.

Sega planned the Genesis successor as a console with limited 3D and excellent 2D capability, we are talking about 1991 here, very different from the myth that the console would be fully 2D (not even SNES was fully 2D ) this early concept, later became a console with single SH-2 so that after Sega discovered the PS1 specs and its 3d emphasis, they added the second SH-2 and other chips to make it our beloved Sega Saturn .

Why did this happen?

Simple, Money.
The plastic of the PS1, the length of the wire and quality of the cannon were not the best, memory card transferring this additional cost to the consumer save its games. But PS1 internal components were some of the best in 1994 and there were contracts ensuring exclusivity.
there was no way for SEGA to have a competitive console against companies that have dozens of times its capital, note that Nintendo, being richer than SEGA, did not dare to put CD-Rom in its consoles. This conclusion inexorably leads to the use of so-called mistakes ( wich are mistakes only when it goes wrong when it goes right they call it genius)

What would a hypothetical Sega console look like in modern times?


There is the 12TF 16GB Xbox Series X on the market today, there is also the 6TF 12GB Xbox Series S representing the minimum power to receive multiplatforms.
SEGA would have two options
Making a console above 12tf and using a lower quality cpu than the Wii U did, maybe 12gb of memory or
Make a console with 8 teraflops and 16GB of memory with expansion to 24GB sold separately.
This configuration would allow SEGA to surpass the Xbox Series X graphics but using Series S resolutions

I anticipate that this strategy of looking for more power is bad due to the advent of PRO consoles

Sega has enough money to put a console on the market, a Switch would be easy, I hope they still have a competitive instinct in them.
The super important detail you’re leaving out is that Sega was terrible at making hardware. They were actively bad at it, and always went with all the wrong instincts. Genesis was their only appealing device, ever. And they failed to capitalize on it and follow it up with something that could compete with N64 or PlayStation. Even people within Sega were begging them to not release the Saturn and pleading with them to make something better to follow up the Genesis, but they refused. They deserved to lose their spot. In this industry, you’re only as good as your last platform.
 
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KaiserBecks

Member
The super important detail you’re leaving out is that Sega was terrible at making hardware. They were actively bad at it, and always went with all the wrong instincts. Genesis was their only appealing device, ever. And they failed to capitalize on it and follow it up with something that could compete with N64 or PlayStation. Even people within Sega were begging them to not release the Saturn and pleading with them to make something better to follow up the Genesis, but they refused. They deserved to lose their spot. In this industry, you’re only as good as your last platform.
What a missed opportunity to mention 32x and SegaCD 😂
 

cireza

Member
The super important detail you’re leaving out is that Sega was terrible at making hardware.
They were actually really good at making hardware. From a pure hardware perspective, their main consoles were very well designed and straight forward, with the exception of the Saturn. Master System, Game Gear, MegaDrive and Dreamcast were well thought out and very competent hardware pieces. NES, SNES and GB are not as straight forward to work with, that's for sure.

They were also the best company out there at making arcade hardware.
 
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They were actually really good at making hardware. From a pure hardware perspective, their main consoles were very well designed and straight forward, with the exception of the Saturn. Master System, Game Gear, MegaDrive and Dreamcast were well thought out and very competent hardware pieces. NES, SNES and GB are not as straight forward to work with, that's for sure.

They were also the best company out there at making arcade hardware.
I’m talking about commercial appeal and popularity, only. Not technical engineering.
 

SHA

Member
How about AI, if money factually proven won't help then it's up to AI, it can solve problems from different realities with different time-lines.
 
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Celine

Member
Only some old Sega fans are still deluded enough to dream of a new Sega console comparable to what Nintendo and Sony are doing today.
To just sit down at the table with the big boys you need to be ready to invest billions of $ with no guarantee at all to make a profit (I'd say the chances are higher that you will end up losing a lot of money).
You need to invest money in R&D of the hardware, to manufacture tens of million of units (otherwise you aren't really seriously thinking to compete with Nintendo and Sony), to spend a lot on advertaisement, to create the SDK for developing on the platform, to make deals with other partners (retailers and publishers), on first-party software development and so on.
The cost given by Irimajiri to launch the Dreamcast was of half billion but that was in the late '90s since then the costs and requirements to be competitive have gone up.

What those old farts constantly fail to ask and answer is why would a new Sega console released nowadays be desirable to a big enough chunk of the mass market to turn a profit.

For the "Sega" brand?
The remote past (cause we are talking of more than two decades ago) is filled with Sega consoles which have sold less than 15 million units, with the sole exception being the the Mega Drive.
That's the level of sales of failures like WiiU and PlayStation Vita.
The new generations of gamers knows Sega not for their console platforms or the prowdess in the arcades, in which they were the king, but for to be a multiplatform game publisher and not even a leading one.
When a few years ago Sega produced the Mega Drive Mini, an anthological plug&play system of their most successful console, they sold 300K meanwhile Nintendo sold over 10 million units of their NES and SNES Classic plug&play systems.
"Sega" brand isn't worth much.

For the exclusive Sega first-party games?
Today Sega "big" hits are franchises that sell in the range of 3-5 million units (Sonic, Persona and Yakuza), that is they aren't big hits at all with today standards and those sales are dependant on a multiplatform strategy.
For instance for many years the bigger chunk of sales of their mascot Sonic were obtained on Nintendo consoles.
If Sega decide to release a new console and make their games exclusive to it then their sales would be directly dependent on the capacity of Sega to penetrate the market with the hardware but at the same time the high development costs will remain mostly fixed.
Nintendo, unlike XGS and SIE that are opening up to multiplatform development, is still producing console games only for their own platoforms however Nintendo sold on Switch around 600-700 million units of first-party games and typically holding the ASP at a good level (without the need to heavily slash the price of the games).

What would be Sega capacity to attract third-party support on a new and unproven platform?
Publishers aren't idiots and they value if and how much invest into a new platform depending on the expectation of success of said platform in the near future.
Just like EA didn't grant the support for Dreamcast there is even less assurance that big publishers will support a new Sega console revived from the grave.
If the most popular multiplatform engines supports it then the smaller guys may think to develop a version also for Sega but even if that happens (big IF) why would consumers buy the Sega console to play those games when they are more likely to own/purchase a console from Nintendo or Sony which have the same games and more?

What would be the distinctive traits that separate a hypotetical new Sega console from more prominent and stronger options from Nintendo and PlayStation?
When Sega was operating in the console business in the '80s and '90s their arcade identity set them apart from Nintendo and PlayStation.
It was a uniqueness that started losing grips with mainstream popularity in the late '90s and that nowadays is totally out of fashion but at least it was distinctively "Sega".
Today though?


The only way I can see for Sega to somewhat return to serious console business would be for them to either be acquired from an existing player or ambitious new one (unlikely to release a console, as we've seen with the recent wave of platform as a service with Google and Amazon it's more likely to be 'software only') or licensing their brand to a chinese manfuacturer that intend to produce a 'consolized' PC (can't do anything more cause they would otherwise need to build the software ecosystem).


Sega does what Nintendon't.
 
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ManaByte

Rage Bait Youtuber
Xbox is the spiritual successor to Sega consoles. Even the controller is evolved from the DC controller. People forget the original Xbox controller had a VMU-style port for a memory card in it.
 

diffusionx

Gold Member
The super important detail you’re leaving out is that Sega was terrible at making hardware. They were actively bad at it, and always went with all the wrong instincts. Genesis was their only appealing device, ever. And they failed to capitalize on it and follow it up with something that could compete with N64 or PlayStation. Even people within Sega were begging them to not release the Saturn and pleading with them to make something better to follow up the Genesis, but they refused. They deserved to lose their spot. In this industry, you’re only as good as your last platform.
The Saturn was their most successful system in Japan, by a mile. And this was when the Japanese market mattered. Genesis totally flopped there.

Saturn was easily good enough to compete with N64 and PSX. They murdered it in the USA by releasing the 32X and confusing everyone and keeping the best games in Japan.

Xbox is the spiritual successor to Sega consoles. Even the controller is evolved from the DC controller. People forget the original Xbox controller had a VMU-style port for a memory card in it.
There was no screen on the Xbox controller. It was closer to the N64 one.
 
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diffusionx

Gold Member
Analog stick/dpad placement on DC and Xbox are almost identical.
I was talking about the port on the controller - it's not a VMU-style port. It's the N64 port. And there are two of them for some reason.

Xbox controller also had those horrid black and white buttons. I don't really see it myself. I don't think the Xbox was a spiritual successor to the Dreamcast, outside of the fact that MS got Sega to put their games on it.
 
No one wants Sega to come back. Not enough people to be statistically significant, anyway. They didn’t have a good run the first time.
Sega had their shot. if you being back the same people you would have the same mistakes. if you bring in NEW people, then don't even call it SEGA and just give it a new name and new start.
I always had to remind people that Sony wasn't some gaming giant when they released PlayStation. That if you get the right people together, a company with no history of gaming can pull off success. They just need a hole in the market, some breathing room, like having a major console dropping out of the race.
 

DaGwaphics

Member
Making a console above 12tf and using a lower quality cpu than the Wii U did, maybe 12gb of memory or
Make a console with 8 teraflops and 16GB of memory with expansion to 24GB sold separately.
This configuration would allow SEGA to surpass the Xbox Series X graphics but using Series S resolutions

This made me chuckle, somehow I feel like these are the concepts they would come up with.

You'd have some Sega subsidiary throwing bad ideas into the mix as well. They would be trying to tell them to improve the XSS a bit to make it easier for developers (maybe a higher amount of cheaper memory) while marketing the device as a nostalgia system at first. Basically turn it into a bit of a trojan horse where the initial buy in may be perceived as an advanced retro system that plays enhanced versions of all their old games including updated 2d remakes of some of their biggest 2d hits (modern 2d with beautiful backgrounds and all that). But then the system could also support versions of the latest games. These poor suckers would get laughed out of the room.
 
Legend say the games would even code themselves.

Compared to what you had to do to get similar results on Saturn...yeah, they kinda did.

Sony's pre-built SDK API libraries were lightyears ahead of what SEGA and Nintendo were offering. Kind of something they have continued to this day (in terms of staying ahead on that front); only early PS3 gen did they drop the ball.

I think a lot of these modern Sega fans have romanticized versions of Sega. They bought secondhand Saturns and maybe a Dreamcast when it was being given away - and read stories online of how amazing Sega was in the 16-bit era. They collect their little Saturn games off eBay for huge money, thinking wow, how did this fail? It’s so amazing!

These people weren’t around back then to experience just how badly Sega Saturn got spanked. They weren’t waiting around for the slow trickle of game releases or reading reviews where the Saturn version (which often showed up way later) was almost always the worst - if there even was a Saturn version. They didn’t see how badly Saturn was ignored. They didn’t see Sega’s feeble marketing or their sad attempts at rekindling the Sega scream.

Maybe they didn’t see how Dreamcast was treated as a stop gap system until PS2 arrived.

Whatever the case there’s this goofy idea that somehow the casual audience would suddenly care about buying a Sega console. A Sega console that would lack the enormous variety of the Genesis, since these days they only bother with two franchises. At least Dreamcast coasted on arcade ports. A new Sega console couldn’t even do that. It would be a miserable money losing failure, and I don’t think anyone wants to see that.

This is a really good point and another video (from a Youtuber named Creative Cat Productions) brought up similar points about the PC-Engine/Turbographx-16 to explain the actual reasons that system didn't do super-well in the market. For example, some people think in Japan it went toe-to-toe with SFC for a long, drawn out period. In reality PC-Engine sales fell off massively right around when the SFC launched. So, it got most of its Japanese sales between 1987 - 1991. Sales in Japan dropped by almost 50% in 1992 (although it was nearing 5 years old by that point, so kind of understandable).

A lot of people who have love for underdog retro systems today don't stop to think about how the console was actually being marketed and sold during its commercial run, what typical customers were seeing on shelves from week to week in terms of new releases, what competitors were launching those same weeks in terms of new software, etc. The the US the Saturn may've had a week where no new software releases came, whereas the PS1 might've had several including yet another hyped big game. That week-to-week shopping habit cycle has long-term ramifications at retail.

It also didn't help SEGA that with early Saturn launch they alienated would-be major retailers like KB Toys, who refused to stock Saturn altogether. So that limited their reach even more, very bad when Sony had very robust distribution networks for PS1. Also a lot of the really good Japanese games a modern-day collector might be picking up for $10 or $20, those games retailed for like $50 or $60 new and actually importing them costed even more. Just look at the import section from a GameFan magazine, they had games like Toshinden and DB GT: Final Bout import going for $80 - $90. AND you still needed to pay money to get your system modded to play the imports, not to mention importing video games was very niche back then, a very specialty market.

I love the Saturn; it's probably my favorite SEGA console and I rank it above the N64 as far as consoles from 5th gen, only behind PS1. But that's because of modern conveniences and prices, and having the entire catalog to pick from in retrospect. If I had a Saturn back in the day as a kid, I probably would've hated it and went back to my Genesis or convinced my parents to trade it in for a PS1.

I would love to see SEGA back in the console market.

Realistically, 8TF with 24GB could actually be a powerhouse of a console. From what I've read, RAM, or more specifically, the amount of usable RAM, is one of the bottlenecks in these new consoles. Especially when you're talking about Series S.

For SEGA to come back to the console market, IMO the most realistic chance of something even somewhat similar happening is if Microsoft does in fact make the next Xbox a custom gaming PC spec with accompanying configs to different product types (mini-PC/NUC, laptop, tablet etc.) running a version of Windows with an Xbox UI gaming interface & an emulation layer for Xbox games of all generations, also provided to OEMs on a licensing model.

Because in that case SEGA could just license the spec, OS, & UI, customize the spec some (in terms of what can be customized), change the UI to be more like a SEGA console's, pack in some Saturn or Dreamcast-inspired modern controller, make it a mini-PC/NUC with a Saturn or Dreamcast-style casing and put it out in the market for a good price with pre-loaded ROMs of various classic SEGA games included. There's be a nice enthusiast market for that type of device at probably $799/$899+ or so, depending on actual performance. At the very least, it'd need to probably be about equivalent in power to what you'd expect of a PS6 (but that is more on Microsoft in terms of them building the spec blueprint).

Outside of that, I don't see a chance for SEGA to jump back into making anything like a modern console. Maybe Sony lets other companies manufacture semi-custom PS6s (I mean this solely in the way SEGA had JVC, Hitachi etc. make semi-custom Saturns or Nintendo & Panasonic with the Q) and SEGA decides to be one of those companies? It's possible but I doubt it, after all a "SEGA" PS6 would still cost more than the Sony variant (but the extra functionality could maybe appeal to certain enthusiasts). They could "try" making a PC handheld but would have to take on certain things themselves, like chip sourcing and spec'ing, full production etc. It'd be a lot more work vs. the Microsoft or Sony approaches I just mentioned.

And SEGA making a new console to compete with a PS5 or PS6, or a hybrid to compete with Switch 2? Yeah, good luck with that. They don't have the resources or clout to either subsidize or push at the economies of scale Sony & Nintendo can do, nor the demand to justify it. They don't have the in-house studio prowess of either, or the connections with 3P that Sony (and to an extent, Nintendo) does. So that isn't going to happen.

Honestly, I'd personally like to see SEGA innovate within the arcade/FEC market; I do think that market is severely under-tapped and could be a "blue ocean" for expansion, but I don't think the Big 3 care enough about it to see the potential. SEGA are just big enough to make some effective waves in that space, but small enough to be "forced" into seeing that type of potential others might consider too beneath them. Plus, they have decades of experience in that market as-is.

If they could make a new platform standard for the arcade/FEC market that actually worked to the benefit of operator chains & businesses as well as SEGA and developers, they could complement that with a console (likely a hybrid) and could have a healthy & stable modest-sized modern platform. Not doing the numbers of a PlayStation or Switch by any means, but probably pulling in healthy profit margins vs. expenses and could also boost the profile of their games across other platforms (for the multiplat offerings).
 

cireza

Member
Compared to what you had to do to get similar results on Saturn...yeah, they kinda did.

Sony's pre-built SDK API libraries were lightyears ahead of what SEGA and Nintendo were offering. Kind of something they have continued to this day (in terms of staying ahead on that front); only early PS3 gen did they drop the ball.
People like to entertain the legend of Saturn not having a SDK or libraries (as well as a ton of other bullshit by the way), which is entirely wrong of course. The console had SDKs, tools and libraries, and it was actually convenient to work with especially after a couple years.

There were a Basic a Graphics library from the very beginning with official documentation being available on the internet for anyone to read 30 years later. SGL including a large number of functions to manipulate 3D and it was available at launch.

On top of this PS1 wasn't as easy as people think either and a lot had to be done manually as it was pretty low level stuff. People with actual development knowledge shared this in this very forum, by the way.


To me PS1 is exactly like NES, GB, SNES or PS2. A case of hardware not being particularly accessible nor straightforward, but as they were backed by the companies and having success and taping a large market, developers simply pushed forward with them anyway until they became more accustomed to them and had built their own tool chain and libraries to be more efficient.
 
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Only some old Sega fans are still deluded enough to dream of a new Sega console comparable to what Nintendo and Sony are doing today.
To just sit down at the table with the big boys you need to be ready to invest billions of $ with no guarantee at all to make a profit (I'd say the chances are higher that you will end up losing a lot of money).
You need to invest money in R&D of the hardware, to manufacture tens of million of units (otherwise you aren't really seriously thinking to compete with Nintendo and Sony), to spend a lot on advertaisement, to create the SDK for developing on the platform, to make deals with other partners (retailers and publishers), on first-party software development and so on.
The cost given by Irimajiri to launch the Dreamcast was of half billion but that was in the late '90s since then the costs and requirements to be competitive have gone up.

What those old farts constantly fail to ask and answer is why would a new Sega console released nowadays be desirable to a big enough chunk of the mass market to turn a profit.

For the "Sega" brand?
The remote past (cause we are talking of more than two decades ago) is filled with Sega consoles which have sold less than 15 million units, with the sole exception being the the Mega Drive.
That's the level of sales of failures like WiiU and PlayStation Vita.
The new generations of gamers knows Sega not for their console platforms or the prowdess in the arcades, in which they were the king, but for to be a multiplatform game publisher and not even a leading one.
When a few years ago Sega produced the Mega Drive Mini, an anthological plug&play system of their most successful console, they sold 300K meanwhile Nintendo sold over 10 million units of their NES and SNES Classic plug&play systems.
"Sega" brand isn't worth much.

For the exclusive Sega first-party games?
Today Sega "big" hits are franchises that sell in the range of 3-5 million units (Sonic, Persona and Yakuza), that is they aren't big hits at all with today standards and those sales are dependant on a multiplatform strategy.
For instance for many years the bigger chunk of sales of their mascot Sonic were obtained on Nintendo consoles.
If Sega decide to release a new console and make their games exclusive to it then their sales would be directly dependent on the capacity of Sega to penetrate the market with the hardware but at the same time the high development costs will remain mostly fixed.
Nintendo, unlike XGS and SIE that are opening up to multiplatform development, is still producing console games only for their own platoforms however Nintendo sold on Switch around 600-700 million units of first-party games and typically holding the ASP at a good level (without the need to heavily slash the price of the games).

What would be Sega capacity to attract third-party support on a new and unproven platform?
Publishers aren't idiots and they value if and how much invest into a new platform depending on the expectation of success of said platform in the near future.
Just like EA didn't grant the support for Dreamcast there is even less assurance that big publishers will support a new Sega console revived from the grave.
If the most popular multiplatform engines supports it then the smaller guys may think to develop a version also for Sega but even if that happens (big IF) why would consumers buy the Sega console to play those games when they are more likely to own/purchase a console from Nintendo or Sony which have the same games and more?

What would be the distinctive traits that separate a hypotetical new Sega console from more prominent and stronger options from Nintendo and PlayStation?
When Sega was operating in the console business in the '80s and '90s their arcade identity set them apart from Nintendo and PlayStation.
It was a uniqueness that started losing grips with mainstream popularity in the late '90s and that nowadays is totally out of fashion but at least it was distinctively "Sega".
Today though?


The only way I can see for Sega to somewhat return to serious console business would be for them to either be acquired from an existing player or ambitious new one (unlikely to release a console, as we've seen with the recent wave of platform as a service with Google and Amazon it's more likely to be 'software only') or licensing their brand to a chinese manfuacturer that intend to produce a 'consolized' PC (can't do anything more cause they would otherwise need to build the software ecosystem).


Sega does what Nintendon't.

I agree with your general premise that a modern SEGA console trying to take on a PlayStation or Switch is doomed to fail. That much is true, for sure. However, I do have to pick a bone about the "sales failure" perception. It's worth remembering that while the Saturn only did 10 million units, it also didn't lose SEGA money (on its own). When SEGA started posting losses in 1997, it was actually a combination of:

-Unconsolidated American Genesis accounting finally being consolidated & reflected on the books (we only learned of this VERY recently)​
-R&D investments for Dreamcast project​
-Downturn in global arcade scene (specifically in America)​

The Saturn itself was profitable for SEGA, though part of that was also because they purposefully held back production of both the console and games later in its life (that's probably why games like Panzer Dragoon Saga got comically small print runs despite demand justifying more). It also had a very high attach rate, though that's kind of easier to do when you have a small install base as a console. Because, when the install base is small enough, likely most of those users will be hardcore & core enthusiasts, who tend to buy a lot of games anyway, so ARPU and attach rate averages across the total install base looks very high as a result.

Another thing to remember is, software development was way cheaper back in the day vs. today, and a lot of SEGA's console games were ports of arcade titles. Many of those arcade games already recouped their development costs in arcade revenue before ever getting home ports, which was definitely the case for games like Daytona or Virtua Fighter 1 & 2. Basically, it meant any home sales were (mostly) net revenue and profit outside of porting costs, which were lower than porting from a PS2 to OG Xbox or Gamecube would've became in 6th generation (or even SEGA's own ports of games like Sonic Adventure 2 & Shenmue 2 were to GC & OG Xbox).

Everything else? I agree with. They'd need to actually fill a void not being served in the market ATM and just because Xbox might be dropping out as a console competitor doesn't mean a void is necessarily opening. In fact I'd say a massive reason Xbox consoles are in steep decline is because they stopped providing a unique solution within the market to customers; devaluing their console with Day 1 PC ports, or pushing "no console required" Samsung TV + GamePass ads at the Video Game Awards (watched by 100+ million people) would obviously squash console demand.

Which makes me wonder if a lot of this was intentional on Microsoft's part knowing these results because they've got a lot more data than we do and smart people analyze it, but that's a different discussion.

I was talking about the port on the controller - it's not a VMU-style port. It's the N64 port. And there are two of them for some reason.

It was so you could use the top port for a VMU and the bottom for another accessory like a rumble pack or microphone.

People like to entertain the legend of Saturn not having a SDK or libraries (as well as a ton of other bullshit by the way), which is entirely wrong of course. The console had SDKs, tools and libraries, and it was actually convenient to work with especially after a couple years.

There were a Basic a Graphics library from the very beginning with official documentation being available on the internet for anyone to read 30 years later. SGL including a large number of functions to manipulate 3D and it was available at launch.

Yeah, I'm somewhat aware of this stuff. Saturn did have an early SDK, even pre-Sophia devkits etc. The issue was that while they provided full documentation from the start, they had a very glacial rollout of devkits to 3P, like some very restrictive priority system. Even some 3P working with 1P IP didn't get more mature devkits until just short of their games needing to ship. Time Warner's team for the Virtua Racing port to Saturn is a perfect example of this.

Other teams, like internal ones working on the port of Virtua Cop, were luckier, but generally only SEGA's internal 1P studios seemed to have particularly robust devkits and the SGL 1.0 libraries from an early enough POV; 3P (especially Western 3P) were very late in getting more finalized devkits and updated documentation, let alone SGL. So you are mentioning that SGL 1.0 was available at launch is true, but IIRC it was only ready in time for the North American launch, not the Japanese launch. At least, to 3P (but from the sound of things maybe also even some 1P like Apaloosa who were working on Clockwork Knight).

On top of this PS1 wasn't as easy as people think either and a lot had to be done manually as it was pretty low level stuff. People with actual development knowledge shared this in this very forum, by the way.


Oh yeah, definitely true. I was just being playful when comparing the ease of dev for PS1 compared to Saturn or N64. A lot of the best PS1 games still had major parts written in assembly. I kinda wouldn't take that poster's comment about 3D dev being harder on PS1 (which is prob just that person's personal opinion) as widescale fact, otherwise I think we would've seen more 3P titles released for Saturn even after games started getting cancelled in latter part of '97.

Because if it was easier, you'd think dev progress would've been far enough on Saturn versions, and further dev costs cheap enough, to justify completing Saturn versions of at least smaller games. But, even many of those got cancelled, and a lot didn't even get ported to the Dreamcast.

Maybe certain things or certain engines benefited from Saturn somewhat over PS1, just like with N64. Heck, maybe at a purely academic level Saturn was easier to program for (w/ 3D games) than PS1. But devs gel'd better with PS1's approach, they got comfortable with it, and that comfortability made it the easier system to program for between the two. Kind of a lot like x86 vs. POWER or RISC-based architectures.

To me PS1 is exactly like NES, GB, SNES or PS2. A case of hardware not being particularly accessible nor straightforward, but as they were backed by the companies and having success and taping a large market, developers simply pushed forward with them anyway until they became more accustomed to them and had built their own tool chain and libraries to be more efficient.

Hmm...I dunno about that. I don't think PS1 is any less straightforward than the Saturn or N64 at the very least. You really have to consider the quirks of the Saturn here: a dual CPU setup where the system bus wasn't redesigned to actually fully accommodate a dual CPU design. A DSP that didn't have enough resources to fully offload geometry from the CPUs anyway. Using 2 VDPs basically splitting the framebuffer in half, etc.

Then there's the N64, with it having no sound processor at all, extremely high-latency Rambus RAM, super-limited microcode privileges, etc. Compared to quirks in both Saturn and N64, I think PS1 was definitely an easier machine to program for. Not braindead-easy, especially if you wanted to push its limits later on (requiring more hand-written assembly work). But comparatively easier? Yeah, I would think so.
 
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RoboFu

One of the green rats
The ps1 was absolutely the easiest of the 3 to program for. This is common knowledge now days. It's one of the main reasons Sony jumped ahead. Both Nintendo and sega fumbled so badly that gen in that area. It wasn't just the hardware but the sdk for the hardware. It's one of the reason given to why square went with Sony. Why a lot of devs went with Sony out of the gate.


Like I pointed out in my initial list. Sega didn't even have ANY sdk for the Saturn until a year AFTER launch. That's something you need a year BEFORE launch at the very least. And when one showed up it was very bare bones for a long time.

Nintendo wasn't as bad but there were other complexities there that devs have spoke about in recent years, and the cost to make a game on the n64 was astronomical compared to Sony.

Sony's rise to fame was more about how badly sega and Nintendo messed up more than how awesome the ps1 hardware was.
 
The ps1 was absolutely the easiest of the 3 to program for. This is common knowledge now days. It's one of the main reasons Sony jumped ahead. Both Nintendo and sega fumbled so badly that gen in that area. It wasn't just the hardware but the sdk for the hardware. It's one of the reason given to why square went with Sony. Why a lot of devs went with Sony out of the gate.


Like I pointed out in my initial list. Sega didn't even have ANY sdk for the Saturn until a year AFTER launch. That's something you need a year BEFORE launch at the very least. And when one showed up it was very bare bones for a long time.

Nintendo wasn't as bad but there were other complexities there that devs have spoke about in recent years, and the cost to make a game on the n64 was astronomical compared to Sony.

Sony's rise to fame was more about how badly sega and Nintendo messed up more than how awesome the ps1 hardware was.

I don't quite 100% believe the PS1 only succeeded because of what mistakes SEGA and Nintendo made. Otherwise, the 3DO & Jaguar would've been more successful. Ken Kutaragi definitely had a specific vision for 3D gaming in the home that was unique unto him; he also had the engineering chops to pull it off. Sony happened to have the money to fund the venture (although initially they were against it).

Doing things like acquiring Psygnosis and SN Systems (FWIW, SEGA acquired a SDK company of their own a year prior; it's mentioned in some issue of Next Generation Magazine) to build out a robust SDK from jump, making smart compromises on PS hardware to stay in a certain budget, the customizations they made for their MIPS processor etc. all served to help the PS1 in the market. Those choices had no involvement from Nintendo or SEGA.
 
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DaGwaphics

Member
If a new hardware provider jumps in I would look at Apple or even Nvidia, or maybe Valve as the best places for that, but potentially MS could actually move out of their current role and into a different one that better fills a need.

There is some potential for a standardized hardware platform with a low cost of entry that can position itself in ways that a Sony and Nintendo console can't. Potentially by being more of a free market and being compatible with DIY high-end PC machines. Then you present that as what do you want, the console that locks you into a single storefront that has complete pricing control, or the one that has competitive options available? Do you want the system that locks your purchases into strict hardware configurations that are platform holder controlled or the one that also gives you the option of using everything you have purchased with a 5090 or whatever the high-end flavor of the day is?

I don't believe the idea that an Xbox exit from the traditional console space doesn't leave a void. The series systems have sold nearly 30m units, a good portion of these will be users that specifically felt under served by the Nintendo and Sony options.
 
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Geometric-Crusher

"Nintendo games are like indies, and worth at most $19" 🤡
The cost given by Irimajiri to launch the Dreamcast was of half billion but that was in the late '90s since then the costs and requirements to be competitive have gone up.

What those old farts constantly fail to ask and answer is why would a new Sega console released nowadays be desirable to a big enough chunk of the mass market to turn a profit.
Steve Jobs ''people don't know what they want until you show them''
R&D costs vary depending on the project, what type of game it will run, etc. Naturally, a SEGA console would be simpler than its competitors, I anticipated this in the OP.

For the exclusive Sega first-party games?
Today Sega "big" hits are franchises that sell in the range of 3-5 million units (Sonic, Persona and Yakuza), that is they aren't big hits at all with today standards and those sales are dependant on a multiplatform strategy.
These numbers are excellent, in the Saturn Dreamcast era no Sega game reached 3M.
original Xbox, MS took a long time to have a 5M franchise but after achieving it they expanded it.
xbox one until 2015 (when MS announced sales) only Halo 5 reached 5M.
What would be Sega capacity to attract third-party support on a new and unproven platform?
There are a range of developers that would support Sega, including Capcom and Ubisoft, they support any system (Stadia, wii u).
What would be the distinctive traits that separate a hypotetical new Sega console from more prominent and stronger options from Nintendo and PlayStation?
immediate, Sega franchises and maybe a 6-button controller.
The only way I can see for Sega to somewhat return to serious console business would be for them to either be acquired from an existing player or ambitious new one (unlikely to release a console, as we've seen with the recent wave of platform as a service with Google and Amazon it's more likely to be 'software only') or licensing their brand to a chinese manfuacturer that intend to produce a 'consolized' PC (can't do anything more cause they would otherwise need to build the software ecosystem).
dude Sega is a company big enough to obtain financing and partner with other conglomerates.
So we go back to the beginning when I anticipated that they naturally have fewer resources. since the 80s Sega was poorer, however today it is in an infinitely better position than when it ventured with the Dreamcast.
 

cireza

Member
Hmm...I dunno about that. I don't think PS1 is any less straightforward than the Saturn or N64 at the very least. You really have to consider the quirks of the Saturn here: a dual CPU setup where the system bus wasn't redesigned to actually fully accommodate a dual CPU design. A DSP that didn't have enough resources to fully offload geometry from the CPUs anyway. Using 2 VDPs basically splitting the framebuffer in half, etc.
I think the main issue with Saturn is not that it was particularly complicated. Honestly, it is manageable to understand the setup by reading the official documentation. I don't see the dual CPU architecture as an issue as you could totally ignore the slave SH2 and call it a day, which most developers did anyway. You would still be working with a single very capable SH2 doing this.

My opinion is that what was complicated was having to split your rendering between VDP1 and VDP2 which could end up being a poor setup depending on what you wanted to do. Again, understanding how both work, and the advantages/limitations that come with them, is really not that hard. How you accommodate having to use both is where the thinking needs to come into place, and where you eventually fall into complicated situations. And into very different situations of your exact same engine running on PS1 and rendering everything at once.

In any case VDP1 was weaker at 3D than what you would do with PS1. This was done on design in a sense, as Saturn is fully hardware-featured in terms of 2D (which makes it much easier to make 2D games on it with fast scrolling, parallaxes etc...).

So how do you get around displaying what you want on Saturn when you want to push a ton of 3D ? Well you don't really get as far as PS1 can take you. You end up filling the screen of pixels through VDP1 and this is where your performance tanks, but that was the cost of having a capable hardware for 2D. VDP2 was always meant to fill a lot of these pixels with infinite planes or flat backgrounds.

In hindsight, all of these full 3D games didn't age that gracefully, while games like Panzer Dragoon, Radiant Silvergun or Nights play pretty smoothly. Still having the original hardware and a CRT, it is very difficult to come back to these full 3D games. They run really poorly for the most.
 
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Geometric-Crusher

"Nintendo games are like indies, and worth at most $19" 🤡
There was no screen on the Xbox controller. It was closer to the N64 one.

I agree, the original Xbox is the spiritual successor to the N64
fps, racing games, Rare games.
Dreamcast represents an old school style that died with it.
 

Sorcerer

Member
If somehow Sega could revive arcades first, then they may have a chance in the console market. Make the consoles for home, online play, then have the players meet and socialize at the arcade with the same games and data they have on their home consoles. I imagine most of the games would be of the tournament type. Other types of game would be for the console only.
It would only work because of the social aspect, but a hardcore following may come out of it and very loyal Sega Customers.
Of course, it is ridiculous to think that Sega could engineer/revive a new/old social trend but i think it would be a cool idea.
 
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ManaByte

Rage Bait Youtuber
If somehow Sega could revive arcades first, then they may have a chance in the console market. Make the consoles for home, online play, then have the players meet and socialize at the arcade with the same games and data they have on their home consoles. I imagine most of the games would be of the tournament type. Other types of game would be for the console only.
It would only work because of the social aspect, but a hardcore following may come out of it and very loyal Sega Customers.
Of course, it is ridiculous to think that Sega could engineer/revive a new/old social trend but i think it would be a cool idea.
Arcades are dead the way movie theaters will soon be.
 

mnkl13

Member
i think that if sega would come back to the hardware market, it would be with a piece of equipment like the rog ally or legion go. a pc with sega exclusives, somehow. maybe like there's an individual windows key to every machine, there would be a sega software only for the sega pc. i think they should go for it. xD
 
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Sorcerer

Member
Arcades are dead the way movie theaters will soon be.
I could understand movie theaters dying. I would rather watch a movie at home myself.
I guess I am just nostalgic about going to arcades in my youth and still missing the experience. Even when I was broke just watching others play.
Going to an arcade was 100 times better than going to a movie LOL!!!
 
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Geometric-Crusher

"Nintendo games are like indies, and worth at most $19" 🤡
If somehow Sega could revive arcades first, then they may have a chance in the console market. Make the consoles for home, online play, then have the players meet and socialize at the arcade with the same games and data they have on their home consoles. I imagine most of the games would be of the tournament type.






Sega has arcade games, Sega just needs to stop being cowards. I don't like buy Sonic to subsidize games exclusively for Japanese ''fans''
 

Geometric-Crusher

"Nintendo games are like indies, and worth at most $19" 🤡
Is the arcade scene still thriving in Japan? I wish that would happen in the US.
Yes, Sega is even investing in the sector with fog technology, recently launching VF3TB online only in Japan. But in the West this is impossible due to cultural issues. the company needs to make a box, call it the Sega Saturn and sell it to us so we can play these games and not have them restricted to Japan. This makes me very angry.
 
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Celine

Member
I agree with your general premise that a modern SEGA console trying to take on a PlayStation or Switch is doomed to fail. That much is true, for sure. However, I do have to pick a bone about the "sales failure" perception. It's worth remembering that while the Saturn only did 10 million units, it also didn't lose SEGA money (on its own). When SEGA started posting losses in 1997, it was actually a combination of:
Sega's consumer division (console) began experiencing a severe downturn at the end of the the Mega Drive lifespan (the peak in profitability was immediately followed by a fall of over 75% YoY) since then the console segment began to record losses fiscal year after fiscal year.
If Sega as a whole wasn't immediately at danger was only because the other two division tied to arcades were bringing in enough profits to offset the troubles caused by the console divison.
Or with words of Hayao Nakayama in early '96:
Sega president Hayao Nakayama announced at the beginning of the year, “We are planning to increase our arcade game division by a factor of three to a revenue scale of ¥350 billion.” The plan is to greatly increase the relatively stable income of the arcade division in order to absorb the risk of the home console division.


3oIcRIx.jpg



Steve Jobs ''people don't know what they want until you show them''
R&D costs vary depending on the project, what type of game it will run, etc. Naturally, a SEGA console would be simpler than its competitors, I anticipated this in the OP.


These numbers are excellent, in the Saturn Dreamcast era no Sega game reached 3M.
original Xbox, MS took a long time to have a 5M franchise but after achieving it they expanded it.
xbox one until 2015 (when MS announced sales) only Halo 5 reached 5M.

There are a range of developers that would support Sega, including Capcom and Ubisoft, they support any system (Stadia, wii u).

immediate, Sega franchises and maybe a 6-button controller.

dude Sega is a company big enough to obtain financing and partner with other conglomerates.
So we go back to the beginning when I anticipated that they naturally have fewer resources. since the 80s Sega was poorer, however today it is in an infinitely better position than when it ventured with the Dreamcast.
I see you are among the small group of deluded Sega fans.

Is the arcade scene still thriving in Japan? I wish that would happen in the US.
So thriving Sega sold their arcade facility business to Genda.
 
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If a new hardware provider jumps in I would look at Apple or even Nvidia, or maybe Valve as the best places for that, but potentially MS could actually move out of their current role and into a different one that better fills a need.

There is some potential for a standardized hardware platform with a low cost of entry that can position itself in ways that a Sony and Nintendo console can't. Potentially by being more of a free market and being compatible with DIY high-end PC machines. Then you present that as what do you want, the console that locks you into a single storefront that has complete pricing control, or the one that has competitive options available? Do you want the system that locks your purchases into strict hardware configurations that are platform holder controlled or the one that also gives you the option of using everything you have purchased with a 5090 or whatever the high-end flavor of the day is?

I don't believe the idea that an Xbox exit from the traditional console space doesn't leave a void. The series systems have sold nearly 30m units, a good portion of these will be users that specifically felt under served by the Nintendo and Sony options.

Well, there are a few things you'd have to keep in mind with such an Xbox system (or platform, to put it in better terms). For starters, the hardware cost wouldn't be subsidized. Like, at all. Microsoft seem completely disinterested in losing money on Xbox as a whole, that includes the hardware. They've only been putting up with it for the Series consoles because they are still operating off a traditional business model, as that's how they were built and meant to serve. But given their sales trajectory of Series consoles, if Microsoft had the choice to raise the prices to offset lower volume of production and sales...they would.

So what would that probably look like in practice? Well, say Microsoft has an "Xbox Next" for $499...you aren't getting PS6 level of performance at that $499; you're going to get performance around a tier below that. Why? Because a PS6 @ $499 is already going to be partly subsidized by Sony to some extent, and is benefiting from economies of scale for pricing that Microsoft already didn't see with the XBO, let alone now with Xbox Series, let alone with whatever next-gen hardware which would be produced at lower volumes.

If you'd want an "Xbox Next" at PS6 level of performance, you'd probably be paying closer to $699 or $799. But it'd have the selling points ('least in theory) that you already mentioned vs. a more traditional approach of a PS6 or Switch 2. Another thing I'd keep in mind is, if we're talking about a best-case approach for Microsoft here, they aren't going to make something chasing the 5090 market, even at the high-end. The market for that with gaming is a niche of a niche, just look at Steam GPU stats for the 4090 or 3090, they're like 2%...maybe 4% or 5% of total users. Out of 130 million, that's not a lot of users at the high-high end at all.

I think if they were smart, they'd build a spec with some semi-custom work on it (customer motherboard & controller, maybe a custom BIOS, purpose-designed CPU & GPU), scalability for OEMs (CPU & GPU upclocks/downclocks, default RAM, storage speeds & capacities, gaming UI frontend customizations etc.), modularity for users (upgradable system RAM, maybe upgradable low-profile GPUs for certain device types, etc.), able to run Windows (and disable all unnecessary services/utilities when in gaming mode), and have a base spec that roughly targets to match PS6 in performance.

Then they could offer a model, like a mini-PC/NUC, basically equivalent to PS6 in performance, priced @ say $699 or higher. Maybe a version with same specs @ $799 or so that included some subsidized form of a year's worth of Game Pass in the package. And with that form factor there could be room for things like possibility an upgrade spot for a low-profile GPU, or more system RAM.

Or a variant using the same general specs but with processors downclocked or parts disabled, less RAM etc. but in a laptop form factor, maybe priced a bit more than that depending on what other customizations they'd do for a laptop variant. So on and so forth for other device variants, and that'd all apply to OEM licensees, too.

Sega's consumer division (console) began experiencing a severe downturn at the end of the the Mega Drive lifespan (the peak in profitability was immediately followed by a fall of over 75% YoY) since then the console segment began to record losses fiscal year after fiscal year.
If Sega as a whole wasn't immediately at danger was only because the other two division tied to arcades were bringing in enough profits to offset the troubles caused by the console divison.
Or with words of Hayao Nakayama in early '96:
Sega president Hayao Nakayama announced at the beginning of the year, “We are planning to increase our arcade game division by a factor of three to a revenue scale of ¥350 billion.” The plan is to greatly increase the relatively stable income of the arcade division in order to absorb the risk of the home console division.




3oIcRIx.jpg

Huh. Guess I was wrong, then.

FY'96 might include losses on console that should've been in FY'95 but the unconsolidated reporting SEGA had at the time might've allowed SOA to shift those numbers until SOJ got their hands on them and added them to the following FY (which would've ended early 1997, I guess by the start of April).

Though having said that, I do believe that Saturn was specifically profitable for them in the Japanese market. Just not enough to offset the bleeding in the West, evidently.

Arcades are dead the way movie theaters will soon be.

Arcades are still doing decently in Japan and other parts of Asia but in the West most of the big ones got absorbed by FECs (Family Entertainment Centers) and a lot of what they put out aren't even traditional games anymore. Although, some companies have done well for themselves in the market, like Raw Thrills.

It's really all about finding a way to transform and rejuvenate the markets; Sorcerer Sorcerer is right about the social aspect potentially being a big draw in the way consoles or PC can't replicate, it'd just take the right people with the right vision (and enough money) to make something happen with it. I've had a lot of ideas on that, myself, but no money or engineering experience to make it a reality.

We're not talking about something that would rival the console or PC markets in total revenue, let alone mobile. But it could be pulling a lot more in revenues & profits than the current state of the market is, IMHO. There just aren't enough companies already in or adjacent to the arcade/FEC market to maybe pull it off successfully. SEGA are one of the few left.
 
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DaGwaphics

Member
Well, there are a few things you'd have to keep in mind with such an Xbox system (or platform, to put it in better terms). For starters, the hardware cost wouldn't be subsidized. Like, at all. Microsoft seem completely disinterested in losing money on Xbox as a whole, that includes the hardware. They've only been putting up with it for the Series consoles because they are still operating off a traditional business model, as that's how they were built and meant to serve. But given their sales trajectory of Series consoles, if Microsoft had the choice to raise the prices to offset lower volume of production and sales...they would.

So what would that probably look like in practice? Well, say Microsoft has an "Xbox Next" for $499...you aren't getting PS6 level of performance at that $499; you're going to get performance around a tier below that. Why? Because a PS6 @ $499 is already going to be partly subsidized by Sony to some extent, and is benefiting from economies of scale for pricing that Microsoft already didn't see with the XBO, let alone now with Xbox Series, let alone with whatever next-gen hardware which would be produced at lower volumes.

If you'd want an "Xbox Next" at PS6 level of performance, you'd probably be paying closer to $699 or $799. But it'd have the selling points ('least in theory) that you already mentioned vs. a more traditional approach of a PS6 or Switch 2. Another thing I'd keep in mind is, if we're talking about a best-case approach for Microsoft here, they aren't going to make something chasing the 5090 market, even at the high-end. The market for that with gaming is a niche of a niche, just look at Steam GPU stats for the 4090 or 3090, they're like 2%...maybe 4% or 5% of total users. Out of 130 million, that's not a lot of users at the high-high end at all.

I think if they were smart, they'd build a spec with some semi-custom work on it (customer motherboard & controller, maybe a custom BIOS, purpose-designed CPU & GPU), scalability for OEMs (CPU & GPU upclocks/downclocks, default RAM, storage speeds & capacities, gaming UI frontend customizations etc.), modularity for users (upgradable system RAM, maybe upgradable low-profile GPUs for certain device types, etc.), able to run Windows (and disable all unnecessary services/utilities when in gaming mode), and have a base spec that roughly targets to match PS6 in performance.

Then they could offer a model, like a mini-PC/NUC, basically equivalent to PS6 in performance, priced @ say $699 or higher. Maybe a version with same specs @ $799 or so that included some subsidized form of a year's worth of Game Pass in the package. And with that form factor there could be room for things like possibility an upgrade spot for a low-profile GPU, or more system RAM.

Or a variant using the same general specs but with processors downclocked or parts disabled, less RAM etc. but in a laptop form factor, maybe priced a bit more than that depending on what other customizations they'd do for a laptop variant. So on and so forth for other device variants, and that'd all apply to OEM licensees, too.

You are interpreting my idea in a different way than I intended. The compatibility with a potential 5090 doesn't mean that the 5090 would be in the standardized box, just that you could move to a DIY PC with a 5090 if you chose and keep the content you've purchased.

The argument about the hardware pricing isn't accurate either IMO, because it assumes a synchronized launch between these systems. An open standardized platform would likely let Sony lead so that you can position your hardware against that, even a slight difference in time changes things a bit. We also don't know that such a platform would have no subsidization. Roku is a largely open platform, but they are receiving royalties from everything that appears on there (there was a huge fight between my local TV/Internet provider that clearly exposed this). So if Steam and Epic are on such a platform, for example, they may agree to pass back a small royalty from profits derived from this particular platform. That may seem outlandish, but if the box is acting as an entry point for buyers that feel priced out by PC, it may be expanding their respective consumer reach.

In my mind a modular system doesn't work here, the DIY PC market handles that. Standardized hardware that updates every 3 or 4 years seems like the better approach. It wouldn't be the high-end option it would be the budget option that gets the job done at a decent level (something similar to the low-end performance of the PS5 and XSX now). If you want high-end you go PC. That's speaking of the pre-built hardware. The software platform powering the system could be designed to accept a broad range of hardware configurations and could be used to smooth out PC gaming in a lot of ways. Pre-compiled shaders for virtually any GPU/driver combination and things like that are things that could be handled by AI in the background, etc. You could build your own PC and run this software system on that or you could buy a pre-built system.
 
You are interpreting my idea in a different way than I intended. The compatibility with a potential 5090 doesn't mean that the 5090 would be in the standardized box, just that you could move to a DIY PC with a 5090 if you chose and keep the content you've purchased.

Oh okay, well that clarifies the idea there. And, yes, I agree that is probably how it would work. It'd be hardware-agnostic, just like how the PC space is.

The argument about the hardware pricing isn't accurate either IMO, because it assumes a synchronized launch between these systems. An open standardized platform would likely let Sony lead so that you can position your hardware against that, even a slight difference in time changes things a bit. We also don't know that such a platform would have no subsidization. Roku is a largely open platform, but they are receiving royalties from everything that appears on there (there was a huge fight between my local TV/Internet provider that clearly exposed this). So if Steam and Epic are on such a platform, for example, they may agree to pass back a small royalty from profits derived from this particular platform. That may seem outlandish, but if the box is acting as an entry point for buyers that feel priced out by PC, it may be expanding their respective consumer reach.

I'm of the strong opinion that the next Xbox, if it does take a more PC-like approach, will not be subsidized on the hardware because heavy hardware subsidizations are what are costing Microsoft so much money currently with the Xbox division, and they are keenly interested in pursuing profit margins. Subsidization works directly against that.

Also, we are talking about a new type of Xbox device that naturally won't have as big of a market to sell to as the current consoles do, or maybe better to say what systems like the XBO and 360 had during their time. The total number of PC gamers who are interested in a consolized PC box is less than the amount of general gamers who'd be interested in an upfront console like a PlayStation. That's just a fact.

So, and especially with the likelihood of other storefronts being easily accessible on the system, there aren't too many avenues for Microsoft to make a PC-like Xbox profitable outside of things like upfront profits from the hardware being sold. Which means no subsidization. Which means higher prices (compared to an equivalent console performance-wise). Which means less sales. But that's perfectly fine, because Microsoft wouldn't be going for that type of volume in production to begin with, and would provide other value incentives to justify the higher prices.

I don't think devices like the Roku work well as a point of comparison here, because that is a completely different market with a different type of customer. As for the idea of Microsoft letting Sony lead in setting a performance baseline and Microsoft or others capitalizing with devices that come later at the same or cheaper price...I think that is only half-right. The part where Sony may be the one who goes first could be true, though not exactly. After all, Microsoft have experience with console generations, they would have a general idea of what range of realistic 10th-gen performance a PS6 could likely aim for, and take that into account even with a device that launched a bit sooner than PS6.

They would also be able to employ the mindset of console design and go "What's the natural progression in power from Series X?", and go from there. You also have to consider, them taking Xbox in a more PC-like design path would mean they could update the baseline spec more regularly. So even, say, they launch their next-gen platform device(s) in 2026 and end up undershooting PS6-equivalent performance profile by say 25% - 30%; they can just update the spec baseline with a revision and new devices 6 months-1 year after the PS6 launched and carry on like normal. That's an inherent advantage with a more PC-like approach, to them.

As to why that idea (IMO) would be half-wrong, though? Well, again, it's a more PC-like approach, that'd also include in terms of the business model. No PC OEM sells their devices at subsidized costs; they are sold for a profit because those PC devices don't have locked-down storefronts. The storefronts would be what'd allow for a subsidized approached, but how do you employ that model if you aren't locking the device down to only your storefront? And, well, Microsoft are already communicating desire for more open platforms allowing any number of storefronts, so they clearly aren't interested in locking down Xbox devices to the Xbox Store (or the Windows/Microsoft Store, for that matter) going forward.


In my mind a modular system doesn't work here, the DIY PC market handles that. Standardized hardware that updates every 3 or 4 years seems like the better approach. It wouldn't be the high-end option it would be the budget option that gets the job done at a decent level (something similar to the low-end performance of the PS5 and XSX now).

You can do both, it doesn't have to be one or the other. Think of it like how the SEGA Saturn offered the 2 MB and 4 MB Expansion Carts, or the N64 with the 4 MB Expansion Pak. "Controlled modularity", may be a good way to put it. There's a baseline specification implemented that allows some degree of upgradability, as long as it doesn't veer too far from what the spec can support (otherwise the baseline spec would have to be updated).

So, it is standardized hardware with some degree of modularity on the user's part, depending on device form-factor. For example if it were a laptop, you shouldn't expect to be able to drop a GPU card in there or upgrade the system RAM (unless they support something like CAMM). And maybe you aren't able to swap out the CPU regardless of the device type, but certain ones can allow you to upclock the CPU, or upclock the GPU. Maybe a mini-PC/NUC variant lets up increase the RAM capacity from 16 GB to 32 GB. The DIY PC segment is actually quite niche, and it's intimidating for a lot of PC gamers who prefer to rock OEMs, pre-built, integrated solutions etc. Those types aren't going to just leapfrog from an OEM laptop to a DIY gaming PC from scratch.

Something like this could serve a good intermediate between those extremes.

If you want high-end you go PC. That's speaking of the pre-built hardware. The software platform powering the system could be designed to accept a broad range of hardware configurations and could be used to smooth out PC gaming in a lot of ways. Pre-compiled shaders for virtually any GPU/driver combination and things like that are things that could be handled by AI in the background, etc. You could build your own PC and run this software system on that or you could buy a pre-built system.

They could accommodate for this as well, actually. Some type of Windows package that can put the desktop environment into a console-style UI mode that also auto-configures things like certain runtime utilities, services, applications etc. to be enabled or disabled (to optimized gaming performance). Combined with a way of handling pre-compiled shaders universally, etc.

It could involve a good deal of work, and I don't think that's the type of comprehensive package they'd provide for free. But it could be an attractive option for DIY enthusiasts or to make DIY builds for less-experienced people more palatable. Although there's also the possibility that some of those things just can't be smoothly implemented in a fully hardware-agnostic way, and that's why establishing the platform as a range of hardware devices sharing the same general specifications and mostly-similar silicon would be paramount.
 
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