• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Sega seemed to hit its peak around early 1994, then WTF happened?

DGrayson

Mod Team and Bat Team
Staff Member
And it was the best you could do in 1998, without a doubt.

As for Saturn being rushed, maybe in terms of tools. But in terms of hardware, their intention had always been to merge both 2D and 3D capabilities. And SEGA were well versed in multi-CPU development in the arcades. Many 3D games on Saturn are outstanding for their time by the way.

I love the Saturn don't get me wrong, but there is more to consider than hardware and dev tools. As I understand Sega USA was blindsided by the announcement of the early Saturn launch, so you have to imagine this affected their marketing ability as well.
 

Ladioss

Member
From a Japanese market standpoint, the Sega CD and the Saturn did make sense at the time as "multimedia" integration of anime movies into games looked like the way forward in Japan during the early 90s. On the long run it was a losing bet.
Some shitty hardware decisions coupled with too heavy a focus on arcade style software at home when the home console market was moving away from that.
That too.
Sega was too slow to adapt to the rise of the cinematic 3D action/adventure model offered by Sony platforms.
 
Last edited:
I didn't say that Sega was offered the PS hardware.
The only thing SEGA was offered was to become a PS developer, which looking back might have been the right move.

Still, without the 32X and SEGA focused on one system, they really could have taken the fight to Nintendo. And also SEGA should never have allowed the Sonic Team not to work on the Sonic game for the Saturn and giving it to SOA to screw up.
I know SEGA Japan put the Sonic Team to work on a new Sonic Title after NiGHTS, but that was far too late
 

cireza

Member
I love the Saturn don't get me wrong, but there is more to consider than hardware and dev tools. As I understand Sega USA was blindsided by the announcement of the early Saturn launch, so you have to imagine this affected their marketing ability as well.
Certainly, but it does not make the hardware rushed.
 

DGrayson

Mod Team and Bat Team
Staff Member
Certainly, but it does not make the hardware rushed.

I didnt say the hardware was rushed, I said it (the Saturn) was rushed :)

But I think ultimately the fact remains that it could have used a bit longer before being released, whether from a hardware, software, or marketing perspective.
 

nkarafo

Member
Many 3D games on Saturn are outstanding for their time by the way.

By what standards though? If you put the best looking 3D Saturn games next to the best ones for the Playstation, the later clearly has the edge.

If the Saturn was made to compete with the the 3DO then sure. Sharing the same reality as the Playstation though? I'm not sure.

There was so much "this 3D game looks great for a Saturn game" back in the day. Kinda similar vibe to "this looks great for a Wii game". As if the standards were lower. Which is something i never felt with the Playstation or even the N64.
 
I think sadly Sega just had too many failures. Sega cd was a flop, Sega Saturn never stood a chance with the success of the ps1 and the saddest of all was the Dreamcast. Which was a truly great console but with the ps2 on the horizon people were waiting out for that.

They were forced to stop making consoles.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Nintendo = SNES and handheld
Sony = PS1

Sega = Sega CD, 32X, Saturn, Game Gear, CDX, Nomad, Sega Pico and probably some other shit I missed.

And compared to PS1, 32x and Saturn were shit. They got blessed that N64 came out a bit later so they had a head start (like Genesis/MD vs SNES/SF), but because their 32-bit machines were junk and overpriced (I think Saturn was $100 more than PS1), it was always going to be a tough hill to climb. Also their Sega Sports were terrible on Saturn (which were good on Genesis).

Maybe Saturn would had done a bit better if they didnt mess up the launch where they did that weird thing where they launched early and pissed off retailers.

Sega's shotgun approach didn't work.

If they just focused on their arcade games and a solid console that would had been a better strategy.
 
Last edited:

Dane

Member
Because Sega of Japan botched the Saturn hardware with a poor 3D design and the western release out of jealousness since the Mega Drive was a huge sucess there but sold less than PC Engine in Japan. Their reverse goal happened, the Saturn was the second best selling console in Japan and was actually ahead of PS1 until FF7 release, but do the math, you're throwing under the bus a 600 million + vs 120 million, Sony embraced both, Nintendo did poorly in Japan compared to their previous consoles but they had major west support to sell 3x the Saturn did.

As someone who sell videogames, I can definetely point why Bernie Stolar had such a stupid issue with most japanese games rather than just letting be approved and sold to earn some royalties cash or even licensing out to third party publishers: Most of these games were 2D and part of them were unknown genres in the region (VNs and Dating Sims), they were out of touch with what the vast majority of the westerners wanted at the time. 2D died real quick in the west and became one of the reasons why Capcom switched from arcades to consoles as their focus for their next big things (SF3 did poor in arcades while Resident Evil was showrering millions), ironically it was Sega who pioneered the mainstream 3D switching with Daytona USA and Virtua Fighters, these games were massive success and the arcade division was the only thing bringing money during the Saturn era.
 
Last edited:

Ceallach

Smells like fresh rosebuds
It was the pissing contest between SOA and SOJ. They were never on the same page and their conflict caused major issues up until they exited the hardware business. They learned nothing from the Saturn debacle and through the development of Black Belt and Dural they still didn't work together even to the point where SOJ got them sued for backing out of the 3DFX contract
 

EverydayBeast

thinks Halo Infinite is a new graphical benchmark
Sega was the most entertaining thing in the 90s than disappointed everyone in the 2000s.
 

cireza

Member
If you put the best looking 3D Saturn games next to the best ones for the Playstation, the later clearly has the edge.
If you put the best looking 3D Saturn games from 1995 to the best looking PS1 games of 1995, the PS1 has no edge.
Same applies to 1996 and 1997. Afterwards, SEGA was working on Dreamcast.
 

Doom85

Member
Yakuza fans reading this be all:

video game japan GIF
Like A Dragon Reaction GIF by SEGA
 

InfiniteCombo

Gold Member
the tried to get a jump on next gen by releasing the Dreamcast. Yes a great system I got one near launch but again it was brought early to beat the competition.
Facts.

You can even tell by the number of cross-gen titles that released on the Dreamcast that Sony released on the *PS1*. A few examples: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, Resident Evil 2 and 3, Rayman 2, Street Fighter Zero 3, Dino Crisis, Capcom vs SNK, etc etc etc...

(Almost each time, the Dreamcast version was the superior version, but it goes to show that there was indeed a big overlap in the Dreamcast and PS1's lifetimes, which means that either the PS1 overstayed its welcome, or the Dreamcast released early. We all know it's the latter, though...)
 

Happosai

Member
I think there's no doubt to anyone that "peak Sega" was around 1992 to early 1994.

This was when they were on top of the world. They were outselling the SNES and pumping out hits like SOR2, Sonic 2/3, Shining Force, PS4, Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA in the arcades.

Sega was at the peak of their creativity and quality. During this time they made some of the best games of all time. It's like they could do no wrong.

But by around 1994, cracks were beginning to show. SOR3 felt unfinished and rushed and didn't live up to SOR2. The Sega CD while popular never really took off.
Some of their other big games like Sonic CD and Eternal Champions failed to live up to the hype.

It just seemed like they started to lose focus around that time. Trying to do too many things and not focusing on just making great games. There might be some deeper reason behind it though.
It was an ever growing software/hardware giant of video games. There were pushes they made which I feel were in the right direction (Saturn JP seemed to pull off well) and others which were questionable. For example -- the amount of add-ons to the Megadrive that never became mainstream in North America. The combo model 1 (Megadrive/Sega CD) is somewhat of a rare item and was cutting edge but even after producing a second model (the one most are familiar with); it never really put them first on the CD-ROM driven consoles. Megadrive was given the 32X add-on which seemed would have been more appropriate if Sega had ported all the 32 material from carts to CD and given it to Saturn North America. This never happened. While Saturn was dropping out of the U.S. market, they nearly put out the Sega Neptune. This didn't happen and rather than following up the Gamegear with an original predecessor; rather they released the Sega Nomad...a portable Megadrive.

Some have mentioned that Sega JP and NA not being on the same page and this is big. I feel they weren't willing to let go of the success of Megadrive and the focus on a quality CD-ROM based console (which was indeed the Dreamcast) was too late.
 

RAIDEN1

Member
Let's not forget add-ons in the game industry aren't exactly known to take sales onto another level, selling over 2 million Sega CDs as an add-on wasn't exactly an embarrassing.....but it should have come with SNES like capabilities out of the box, and who at Sega thought the full motion video was of acceptable quality when it didn't even look as good as what you had on TV we'll never know....

 

cireza

Member
but it should have come with SNES like capabilities out of the box, and who at Sega thought the full motion video was of acceptable quality when it didn't even look as good as what you had on TV
And you would have put these TV quality videos on CDs and had no storage issues I suppose.

To achieve what the Mega-CD achieved in terms of visuals and capabilities, we were already looking at much more expensive hardware than the MegaDrive 2 itself.
If SEGA had to put another VDP and video out on the console, the price would have skyrocketed. Let's be real for a second, the Mega-CD was already a super ambitious product and for an add-on of this price, it had some very good sales numbers and also a good library of games.

The Mega-CD has better capabilities than the SNES in every single regard, with the exception of the color palette which remains that of the MegaDrive, as well as all other VDP features (but the MegaDrive was actually more capable than SNES in most other aspects).
 
Last edited:

RAIDEN1

Member
And you would have put these TV quality videos on CDs and had no storage issues I suppose.

To achieve what the Mega-CD achieved in terms of visuals and capabilities, we were already looking at much more expensive hardware than the MegaDrive 2 itself.
If SEGA had to put another VDP and video out on the console, the price would have skyrocketed. Let's be real for a second, the Mega-CD was already a super ambitious product and for an add-on of this price, it had some very good sales numbers and also a good library of games.
It was only Core Design who really looked at taking advantage of the system, they didn't even bother doing that with Commodore's answer to the Sega CD...
 

Aure

Member
Way too many mistakes. Sega CD, 32x and Saturn. By the time they released Dreamcast, nobody trusted Sega anymore.
It's a shame, i loved the Dreamcast. I bought it back in the day mainly for Shenmue and RE: CV.
Not to mention that the online capabilities blew my mind, it was the first console to make use of internet.. Playing Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament with other people from around the world or simply navigating with the browser was an unique experience.
 

cireza

Member
It was only Core Design who really looked at taking advantage of the system,
Core did some great job but they are not the only ones. There are a ton of games that make great use of the Mega-CD from other developers. Mode 7 special effects got very old and never looked that good, let's be honest. The way Game Arts used the console for Lunar Eternal Blue is much better and created a game that never ages. It puts to shame all the compressed videos we got on 32 bits consoles. Many games had Redbook Audio which again, was dropped on 32 bits consoles most of the time. The Mega-CD has some great features going for it.
 
Last edited:

The_Mike

Member
They slowly prepared to being bought by Microsoft next Wednesday.

Truth is, Sony got an insane amount of momentum which left Sega behind. Sega had 2d games, and you couldn't save your progress.

PlayStation came with 3d,which was new for many not having a PC. PlayStation also quickly got a lot of exclusives, which left Sega behind, which was mainly known for sonic.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Way too many mistakes. Sega CD, 32x and Saturn. By the time they released Dreamcast, nobody trusted Sega anymore.
And killing Sega it went for game makers and gamers.

How many games total did Namco, Konami, EA, Square make for Dreamcast? Maybe 5? At that time console third party success hinged a lot on EA and the big name Japanese studios. Sega barely had support from these big companies. They still had Capcom, Midway and maybe a few more. But not enough.
 

Ceallach

Smells like fresh rosebuds
Some have mentioned that Sega JP and NA not being on the same page and this is big. I feel they weren't willing to let go of the success of Megadrive and the focus on a quality CD-ROM based console (which was indeed the Dreamcast) was too late.
I actually feel it is the opposite. Because the Mega Drive really WASN'T successful in Japan, being third to the SuFami and PCE, they kept coming up with all these gimmicks unnecessarily. SoJ couldn't see what was actually working for the US and especially Europe. So they were trying to correct for a market they were failing in at the expense of the markets where they were successful.

And Bernie Stolar killed any chance the DC had of success by prematurely killing off the Saturn. While it wasn't super successful, because of him the Saturn got basically 2 years of support in the west, causing Sega's name to mean nothing by 99 and for them the basically hemmorhage cash throughout 1998 with almost othing on the market.
 
In terms of sales maybe.

In terms of creativity, no. Model3/naomi/Dreamcast, from 1997 to 2000 era was the peak.

Agreed; I'd say 1994 - 2004 was peak Sega for me, creatively, especially when you factor in certain 3P exclusives they obviously had close working relationships with. Daytona, Virtual-On, Virtua Fighter 2, Phantasy Star IV, Ristar, Pulseman, Alien Soldier, Top Skater, Shining Force III, Jet Set Radio, Seaman, Segagaga (what other company's made fun of themselves this openly?), Panzer Dragoon etc.

I'd say the majority of Sega's best classic IPs came about during this time. A lot of their best games, as well.

I think the cracks started appearing circa 1992 when Project Saturn was launched, originally intended as a 2d powerhouse with modest 3d capabilities, they failed to take notice of writing on the wall, ie THEIR Virtua Fighter and Starfox was telling them where gaming was going, remember Sega was working in the arcade industry with the creme-de-la-creme of talent, i.e. Lockheed Martin for some of their titles, they left no stone unturned there....but in the home-market, things got skewed when Sony came to town...

TBF, Sega were in a unique position of being able to see the amount of horsepower needed for what they deemed "sufficient" 3D in the home at the time. Keep in mind that they relied a lot on using "off-the-shelf" chips/components (with some custom chips made here and there) and building them into specific system architecture designs. Their architectures were what made many of their consoles & arcade systems unique, not necessarily the actual chip components.

And it was actually somewhat similar for other manufacturers back then too like SNK; since custom ASIC designs were very expensive, and most game companies at the time weren't necessarily loaded in cash, many of them leveraged off-the-shelf chips primarily with just a few custom chips built in. It helped to keep R&D costs under control. This was especially true for those making consoles since, unlike arcade units, consoles are generally built by the millions, not a few thousand or dozen-thousand. Even Nintendo relied on a lot of off-the-shelf chips for their systems at the time (and to push profits off raw hardware sales, went with cheaper options as often as possible, maybe with some slight customizations in an area or two), saving custom ASICs for a couple chips, like the sound processor in the SNES/SFC made by Sony.

So when you look at it from that perspective, if a company like Sega, relying on mainly off-the-shelf chips, wanted to push 3D in a home console in the mid '90s with fidelity approaching Model 2, it would've ended up being a VERY expensive system for the customer. Even more than what the Saturn ended up costing. The treason the PlayStation was able to provide the power it did at the price it had was because Sony had their own fabs and could custom-build their own chips; they could spin their own ASICs in-house therefore saving a ton in R&D costs, passing that along to the customer.

In fact the main reason N64 was able to be priced so low was because it also had a custom ASIC design for the GPU, although they weren't the ones who made it; they just purchased it from elsewhere. The Saturn used a lot of off-the-shelf chip components, some with modest customizations, and the two chips that were fully custom were the VDP1 and VDP2 (as far as I can tell). However, if they had the resources of a Sony, VDP1 & 2 would have been merged into a singular ASIC, not as two separate chips.

After Sonic 2 and the original MK, Sega had literally nothing substantial to face all this on the most important front - games.

I don't agree with this; the SNES did get a lot of great games, legendary ones too, especially when you take the Japan-only releases into account. But the Genesis/MegaDrive weren't lacking for games post Sonic 2 and MK, again especially if you take the Japan-only releases into account. Off the top of my head I can mention:

-Sonic 3 & Knuckles​
-Rocket Knight​
-ThunderForce IV​
-Monster World IV​
-Phantasy Star IV​
-Dynamite Headdy​
-Gunstar Heroes​
-Alien Soldier​
-Ristar​
-Pulstar​
-Streets of Rage 2​
-Streets of Rage 3​
-SF2: Champion Edition​
-Shinobi 3​
-LandStalker​
-Crusader of Centry​
-Road Rash 2​
-Road Rash 3​
-Battle Golfer Yui​
-Panorama Cotton​
-Battlemania Daiginjou​
[Throwing in Sega CD & 32X]
-Sonic CD​
-Tempo​
-Kyoto's Flying Squadron​
-Snatcher​
-Eternal Champions: Challenge From The Dark Side​
-Virtua Racing Deluxe​
-Popful Mail​
-Lunar: SSS​
-Lunar: Eternal Blue​

I’d like to remind you that Sonic Adventure is the best-selling Dreamcast game of all time. 86K copies were sold in Europe in the first five days alone. As of 2006, it had sold 2.5M copies worldwide, including 440,000 in Japan and 1.27M in the US. It has 87% on GameRankings/Metacritic. So, tell me again, why was Sonic never good?

Exactly; this whole meme's taken on too much a life of its own. A lot of times the people who say Sonic was always bad, are in fact just poorly-skilled players who try playing the games like Mario instead of the way they're meant to be played.

There are some bad Sonic games out there, no doubt, particularly with some of the 3D ones. But even some of those are good, great even, and the 2D classic ones (and more recently, Sonic Mania) are generally considered incredible games for good reason.

They did have great games later on for the Genesis. It's just that the SNES had even stronger ones. As much as i love stuff like Comix Zone, Sonic & Knuckles, EWJ 1+2 and Vectorman, they are not as strong as Super Metroid, DKC 1/2, Yoshi's Island, etc. Especially the first DKC.

To be fair, this can be argued both ways. If you were a shmup fan, SNES didn't offer much against titles like ThunderForce IV. I can't think of any boss rush games on SNES as good as Alien Soldier, there aren't many run & guns or either system as tops as Gunstar Heroes, either. Phantasy Star IV is in the upper echelon of JRPGs of that era, the only ones that surpass it are some of Square's offerings, mainly ones that came in the latter half of SNES/SFC's lifecycle.

Later on the Genesis proved it could handle such graphics as well (Toy Story even looks better than DKC in parts). But there was no such marketing for Toy Story or Vectorman or Comix Zone. Plus, some of these games were ported on the SNES as well. Earthworm Jim was a pretty big one and could make a strong Genesis exclusive, but it was multiplatform.

One of the things that made marketing for specific games hard for Sega was that, especially in 1995, they just published too many damn games. 150 games. There's no way you can provide sufficient marketing for so many games in a single year! Even aside that, for as well as the Sega Scream commercials were (and they WERE awesome), outside of a few key big games, actual specific games probably weren't pushed as hard as they could've been. You needed to be invested in gaming magazines of the time to know about some of those exclusives.

Ironically I think Microsoft is having a lot of the same faults today with their marketing; everything seems hinged on GamePass and less so specific games IN the service. And if they do too many more games like CrossFire X into the service, more people will think they're overloading with quantity for the sake of it, kind of like when Sega published so many games in 1995. I hope they address that going forward.

Wrong. Saturn was profitable. Dreamcast is the period that put them in debt.

Hmm...maybe it's better to say Sega was profitable during Saturn era, not necessarily the Saturn itself? Because from what I've learned, their arcade operations were still very profitable even with the market beginning to shrink in the West, and budgets for a lot of their full-on Saturn exclusives were likely offset by the notably cheaper costs of various arcade ports of theirs to the Saturn as those ports would've already had the bulk of their costs covered in the development of the original arcade versions (and revenue from sales of those games & machines to arcade chains).

Also as Jenovi talks about in their videos regarding Sega Saturn & Dreamcast, the Saturn had a very high attach ratio, probably driven by Japan. Sega also might've intentionally limited Saturn production volume once things started going bad globally, meaning less costs spent on production & distribution, saving money on operating income. I think it's a bit difficult to say the Saturn itself was profitable for them so much as it was sustainable, because globally the system did struggle even if the Japanese market was profitable.

Underrated post.

I love me some Sega man, and to this very day I'm the proud owner of a Genesis, a Saturn (well, two of them actually 😂), and a Dreamcast, and I still play them regularly. But, especially with the Dreamcast, the breadth and depth of the library is lacking, compared to its gen 6 competitors. Too many arcade and arcade-style games.

But the Dreamcast had a lot of non-arcade ports too, even from launch. D2, Sonic Adventure, Jet Set Radio etc. Then stuff later on like Skies of Arcadia, Shenmue, Code: Veronica etc.

Even arcade ports like Soul Calibur were loaded with extra content for the home version. I don't think having arcade-style games was the issue, unless you mean by that, games which had very little or no extra content for the home version. In which case, I can agree to an extent; Sega notoriously did less for extra home content for a lot of their ports between Saturn & Dreamcast than, say, Namco (who were the best at it IMHO).
 

ShirAhava

Plays with kids toys, in the adult gaming world
Some people do not understand how bad basically all of SEGA's business moves were starting late 1994

Sony murdering Segata Sanshiro in cold blood aside they had nothing to do with the real reasons behind SEGA's downfall

PlayStation could have never existed and SEGA would still be doomed
 

cireza

Member
Agreed; I'd say 1994 - 2004 was peak Sega for me, creatively, especially when you factor in certain 3P exclusives they obviously had close working relationships with. Daytona, Virtual-On, Virtua Fighter 2, Phantasy Star IV, Ristar, Pulseman, Alien Soldier, Top Skater, Shining Force III, Jet Set Radio, Seaman, Segagaga (what other company's made fun of themselves this openly?), Panzer Dragoon etc.

I'd say the majority of Sega's best classic IPs came about during this time. A lot of their best games, as well.



TBF, Sega were in a unique position of being able to see the amount of horsepower needed for what they deemed "sufficient" 3D in the home at the time. Keep in mind that they relied a lot on using "off-the-shelf" chips/components (with some custom chips made here and there) and building them into specific system architecture designs. Their architectures were what made many of their consoles & arcade systems unique, not necessarily the actual chip components.

And it was actually somewhat similar for other manufacturers back then too like SNK; since custom ASIC designs were very expensive, and most game companies at the time weren't necessarily loaded in cash, many of them leveraged off-the-shelf chips primarily with just a few custom chips built in. It helped to keep R&D costs under control. This was especially true for those making consoles since, unlike arcade units, consoles are generally built by the millions, not a few thousand or dozen-thousand. Even Nintendo relied on a lot of off-the-shelf chips for their systems at the time (and to push profits off raw hardware sales, went with cheaper options as often as possible, maybe with some slight customizations in an area or two), saving custom ASICs for a couple chips, like the sound processor in the SNES/SFC made by Sony.

So when you look at it from that perspective, if a company like Sega, relying on mainly off-the-shelf chips, wanted to push 3D in a home console in the mid '90s with fidelity approaching Model 2, it would've ended up being a VERY expensive system for the customer. Even more than what the Saturn ended up costing. The treason the PlayStation was able to provide the power it did at the price it had was because Sony had their own fabs and could custom-build their own chips; they could spin their own ASICs in-house therefore saving a ton in R&D costs, passing that along to the customer.

In fact the main reason N64 was able to be priced so low was because it also had a custom ASIC design for the GPU, although they weren't the ones who made it; they just purchased it from elsewhere. The Saturn used a lot of off-the-shelf chip components, some with modest customizations, and the two chips that were fully custom were the VDP1 and VDP2 (as far as I can tell). However, if they had the resources of a Sony, VDP1 & 2 would have been merged into a singular ASIC, not as two separate chips.



I don't agree with this; the SNES did get a lot of great games, legendary ones too, especially when you take the Japan-only releases into account. But the Genesis/MegaDrive weren't lacking for games post Sonic 2 and MK, again especially if you take the Japan-only releases into account. Off the top of my head I can mention:

-Sonic 3 & Knuckles​
-Rocket Knight​
-ThunderForce IV​
-Monster World IV​
-Phantasy Star IV​
-Dynamite Headdy​
-Gunstar Heroes​
-Alien Soldier​
-Ristar​
-Pulstar​
-Streets of Rage 2​
-Streets of Rage 3​
-SF2: Champion Edition​
-Shinobi 3​
-LandStalker​
-Crusader of Centry​
-Road Rash 2​
-Road Rash 3​
-Battle Golfer Yui​
-Panorama Cotton​
-Battlemania Daiginjou​
[Throwing in Sega CD & 32X]
-Sonic CD​
-Tempo​
-Kyoto's Flying Squadron​
-Snatcher​
-Eternal Champions: Challenge From The Dark Side​
-Virtua Racing Deluxe​
-Popful Mail​
-Lunar: SSS​
-Lunar: Eternal Blue​



Exactly; this whole meme's taken on too much a life of its own. A lot of times the people who say Sonic was always bad, are in fact just poorly-skilled players who try playing the games like Mario instead of the way they're meant to be played.

There are some bad Sonic games out there, no doubt, particularly with some of the 3D ones. But even some of those are good, great even, and the 2D classic ones (and more recently, Sonic Mania) are generally considered incredible games for good reason.



To be fair, this can be argued both ways. If you were a shmup fan, SNES didn't offer much against titles like ThunderForce IV. I can't think of any boss rush games on SNES as good as Alien Soldier, there aren't many run & guns or either system as tops as Gunstar Heroes, either. Phantasy Star IV is in the upper echelon of JRPGs of that era, the only ones that surpass it are some of Square's offerings, mainly ones that came in the latter half of SNES/SFC's lifecycle.



One of the things that made marketing for specific games hard for Sega was that, especially in 1995, they just published too many damn games. 150 games. There's no way you can provide sufficient marketing for so many games in a single year! Even aside that, for as well as the Sega Scream commercials were (and they WERE awesome), outside of a few key big games, actual specific games probably weren't pushed as hard as they could've been. You needed to be invested in gaming magazines of the time to know about some of those exclusives.

Ironically I think Microsoft is having a lot of the same faults today with their marketing; everything seems hinged on GamePass and less so specific games IN the service. And if they do too many more games like CrossFire X into the service, more people will think they're overloading with quantity for the sake of it, kind of like when Sega published so many games in 1995. I hope they address that going forward.



Hmm...maybe it's better to say Sega was profitable during Saturn era, not necessarily the Saturn itself? Because from what I've learned, their arcade operations were still very profitable even with the market beginning to shrink in the West, and budgets for a lot of their full-on Saturn exclusives were likely offset by the notably cheaper costs of various arcade ports of theirs to the Saturn as those ports would've already had the bulk of their costs covered in the development of the original arcade versions (and revenue from sales of those games & machines to arcade chains).

Also as Jenovi talks about in their videos regarding Sega Saturn & Dreamcast, the Saturn had a very high attach ratio, probably driven by Japan. Sega also might've intentionally limited Saturn production volume once things started going bad globally, meaning less costs spent on production & distribution, saving money on operating income. I think it's a bit difficult to say the Saturn itself was profitable for them so much as it was sustainable, because globally the system did struggle even if the Japanese market was profitable.



But the Dreamcast had a lot of non-arcade ports too, even from launch. D2, Sonic Adventure, Jet Set Radio etc. Then stuff later on like Skies of Arcadia, Shenmue, Code: Veronica etc.

Even arcade ports like Soul Calibur were loaded with extra content for the home version. I don't think having arcade-style games was the issue, unless you mean by that, games which had very little or no extra content for the home version. In which case, I can agree to an extent; Sega notoriously did less for extra home content for a lot of their ports between Saturn & Dreamcast than, say, Namco (who were the best at it IMHO).
Saturn was under control and game investments were totally reasonable. The console was successful in Japan. I simply can't see a terribly bad picture here, things looked okay overall and that's what the figures for SEGA show at the time.

Dreamcast was made of expensive components, sold at a very low price quickly and a ton of money was invested in games and infrastructure, and these investments either made absolutely no sense or had 0 chance to turn a profit. Arcade might have been declining, but the problems but I don't see how that alone would have brought to huge, sudden debt.
 
Last edited:

Fat Frog

I advertise for Google Stadia
I think there's no doubt to anyone that "peak Sega" was around 1992 to early 1994 (...)

But by around 1994, cracks were beginning to show. SOR3 felt unfinished and rushed and didn't live up to SOR2.
Maybe be because games like SOR2 weren't peak Sega but peak Ancient:

SOR2= Ancient Game (95%) with a few Sega advisers.

SOR3= Sega of Japan (they also made SOR1 but it's 91, not 92 either)

It would be interesting to see if 92-94 was really peak Sega from a developper point of view and not as a publisher...

I don't know.
Was Sega of Japan better during the Saturn Era ? Dreamcast ?

What do you think ?
 
Last edited:

Modrot

Member
Short version: Sega of America and Sega of Japan teamed up and shat the bed together.

Japanese system sellers for the Dreamcast never made it outside of Japan, and SOA focused too hard on "American" games (sports, shooters, license/ip games, etc.), and some bizarre Japanese games nobody wanted made it outside of JP.

Bizarre situation altogether.
 
I love Sega as a company. They've got a lot of great history, but I think once the big boys stepped into the ring it was always going to push them out of the competition. As great as they are/have been, they didn't know how to "Nintendo". At least we've still got their presence in software to a degree.
 

Alphagear

Member
What happened was they were too busy releasing console after console.

Eventually they did release an amazing console it was too late cause the juggernaut PS2 arrived.

They were already bankrupt.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Aside from all the stuff many of us brought up why Saturn stunk is because for sports fans (which a lot of us Genesis gamers loved), the Saturn Sega sports were the worst ever. And even the EA games were crap as the PS versions were a bit better.

I dont get how Sega can make solid WSB and NFL and NBA 94 games on Genesis and suddenly you go to a new console and they are that bad. Well, at the least their hockey games consistently always an F- no matter what system they made them on.

Out of nowhere, Sony's early 989 sports games (their first sports games ever) were somehow better and once they went polygon in the '98 games it blew away whatever sports games Sega had although World Series 98 was supposedly awesome on Saturn. But the rest were dreadful and was too late.
 
Last edited:
32X and then the surprise launch of Sega Saturn. That was abandoned around 98 and then the Dreamcast came out in 99. It was a great system but unfortunately the PS2 came out shortly thereafter with a Blu-ray player. Dreamcast dead in 2001.
 

kevm3

Member
It seems like Sega's game quality plummeted after going 3rd party though. my question is what happened THERE. They're pretty much the Yakuza team in my eyes now. The Sonic games from them haven't been too great and I can't really think of any other quality series they release any more.
 
Saturn was under control and game investments were totally reasonable. The console was successful in Japan. I simply can't see a terribly bad picture here, things looked okay overall and that's what the figures for SEGA show at the time.

I know that in terms of all regions, Saturn easily did the best in Japan, but if you look at numbers compared to other systems, it "only" did about a half-million better than the N64 in the region, and compared to PS1 (19.4 million) and SFC (16.7 million), it's pretty distant in actuality. For comparison, the PC Engine sold about 8 million in Japan, and even MegaDrive did about 3.5 million in the region.

Not saying Saturn wasn't successful in Japan, especially once you consider attach rates for software, but just talking console sales its success in the region might be overstated a bit, IMO. I still stand to think that Saturn losses in America & Europe did offset a lot of what was being made in Japan, and that Sega's successes in the arcade market during that period are undervalued inn helping them continue making net profits (though dwindling) up until 1998.

Dreamcast was made of expensive components, sold at a very low price quickly and a ton of money was invested in games and infrastructure, and these investments either made absolutely no sense or had 0 chance to turn a profit. Arcade might have been declining, but the problems but I don't see how that alone would have brought to huge, sudden debt.

You can blame SOA for the lower-than-expected price, since SOJ were intending $249. But aside that, just note I'm not saying Dreamcast didn't incur a lot of R&D expenses (a lot of which didn't pay off, tho don't forget about NAOMI and NAOMI 2, which WERE very profitable and basically used Dreamcast architecture at their core, and also shared a lot of games between them to boot).

All I'm saying is that Saturn on its own maybe wasn't as profitable for Sega as some think considering it was mainly only successful in one region, and that wasn't going to be enough to offset the losses from the larger markets where it financially failed in.

I love Sega as a company. They've got a lot of great history, but I think once the big boys stepped into the ring it was always going to push them out of the competition. As great as they are/have been, they didn't know how to "Nintendo". At least we've still got their presence in software to a degree.

Very true; I would honestly put a lot of Sega's best from the 16-bit, 32-bit, 6th-gen eras (and the arcade systems within those) up there with Nintendo's. However, Nintendo was always MUCH better at long-term IP retention. They successfully carried IP like Mario and Zelda across generations, which is partly why they became so big. Sega more or less failed to carry Sonic from Genesis/MegaDrive to the Saturn, and that was one of their marquee IP.

They also repeated the same mistake with multiple other IP: Streets of Rage, Ristar (IMO Astal should've probably been a Ristar expansion and they could've done a sequel the following year. Either that, or scrap BUG! for Ristar), Phantasy Star, Eternal Champions are just a few examples. Others like Shinobi did get transitioned to Saturn, but with little in way of innovations to make them stand out.

IMO Sega even repeated this problem with Dreamcast in a way, though I'm hesitant to say that with confidence considering some of the games they did release shortly after discontinuing Dreamcast, that likely would've been Dreamcast games had Sega been able to continue financially supporting the platform. Even with that as a non-factor, they did bring back Sonic, Phantasy Star, Daytona etc. there so they corrected some mistakes in going from Genesis/MegaDrive to Saturn.

It seems like Sega's game quality plummeted after going 3rd party though. my question is what happened THERE. They're pretty much the Yakuza team in my eyes now. The Sonic games from them haven't been too great and I can't really think of any other quality series they release any more.

Depends on what type of Sega fan you are. They've actually won multiple Publisher of the Year awards from places like MetaCritic due to review aggregate averages, and they put out a lot of sleepers like 13 Sentinels.

However if you're expecting AA or AAA in-house revivals/sequels to classic Genesis/MegaDrive, Saturn or Dreamcast IP outside of Sonic, well they did drop the ball there for a while. They've gradually brought some back though, like HoTD (Scarlet Dawn), Sega World Drivers Championship (kind of a spiritual successor to games like Sega Touring Car), Virtual-On and Sakura Wars. However, two of those are arcade-only, so that greatly limits who can play them.

Otherwise it's been partnerships with smaller outside studios bringing back stuff like Sonic (Sonic Mania), SOR (SOR 4), and the Panzer Dragoon & HoTD remakes filling that void. I do hope Sega consider doing more in-house, AA and AAA entries in these IP though. A new SoR in the style of a Yakuza game would be pretty cool, and a proper Panzer Dragoon Saga remake with AAA budget would be spellbinding IMO (and open the game up to a much larger audience).
 
Last edited:

Fat Frog

I advertise for Google Stadia
They were already bankrupt.
20 years later, it's good to see Sega West and Japan are doing solid games and have exciting projects like the Isolation Team FPS, Soul Hackers 2, a AAA open world (Team PSO2 with bigger budget for a "Super game"), RE Fantasy and a new Sega Japan Studio in Sapporo...

The dark fate of Sega is definetely over.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom