Should Sega have been braver / bolder with the Saturn ?

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Should Sega have been braver / bolder with the Saturn ?

Postby Sut » May 27th, 2016, 4:03 pm

There are numerous articles and documentaries charting Sega's mismanagement of the Saturn, but I just wonder if they could have been braver and gone head to head with the PlayStation ?

A few points

Despite the 32x Sega was still going strong with the Genesis/MD they had a good portion of the market and a hardcore fanbase of young adults. Wherea Sony was a big name but a gaming company virgin.

No need to 'surprise' launch.
This just annoyed the retailers, but again there was no need to run scared of Sony. Just because it was more powerful doesn't mean it would lose. The PS2 was technically inferior to the GameCube and Xbox and it won.

More development time.
Further to the above if there was no surprise launch, then there would me more development time spent on key titles like Daytona USA and perhaps VF Remix instead of regular VF at launch.
A 30fps less pop up version of Daytona vs Ridge Racer ? Only one winner for me.

Play to the systems strengths.
The 'No 2D and no RPG' rule was idiotic. I know the world was moving to 3D. But why not have a 2D line ?
It did in Japan and the Saturn was considerably more successful there.
Perhaps a strong 2D title every month or so ? A USP of the Saturn and also a focus on RPG's. Even if your still going to lose carve out a niche in which you can still have a viable system. That niche could have been hardcore 2D titles and RPG's.

Publicity and marketing.
A head to head launch against the PS1 would have had mass publicity. A strong launch line up of a smoother, more developed Daytona USA, VF Remix and a stand out 2D title like Street Fighter Alpha would have ensured interest out the block.

I think if Sega had been braver and had a better ad campaign more akin to the Genesis days demonstrating Sega made great games and who are Sony ? They would have had a far better push with the Saturn. Perhaps even a devils pact with Nintendo to try and block Sony's rise ?

Thoughts ?

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Re: Should Sega have been braver / bolder with the Saturn ?

Postby scotland » May 27th, 2016, 6:11 pm

Nice topic, Sut

"Even if your still going to lose, carve out a niche in which you can still have a viable system. " Hey, that's the modern Nintendo philosophy! Actually that 'Blue Ocean' idea works, but its seems like a 2nd rate goal kind of thinking - but its not. American football does not need to compete with hockey or baseball, but can focus on profiting on what it is. This is what Nintendo is doing - building a Nintendo style of game and just focus on monetizing that. That's not where Sega's head was though - they had clawed their way up, and they were fighting for the home video game penthouse view.

What could have saved the Saturn? Some ideas:

    If they had never had the 32x

    Held everything on the 32x, including Knuckles Chaotix, as Saturn launch titles.

    Make Virtua Hamster the early mascot.

    Don't go on sale until September 1995 when it was expected.

    Hype the heck out of it higher 32x profile games like Star Wars Arcade, along with Daytona USA.

    Kept the original, simpler architecture. It would have cut costs and made development easier.

    Find something to promote, like "Blast Processing".

    Drop the development name. Nothing zings about "Saturn". Maybe the related name "Sega Titan".

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Re: Should Sega have been braver / bolder with the Saturn ?

Postby Shapur » May 27th, 2016, 9:47 pm

The surprise launch was a bone head move. It pissed off retailers and developers, two groups you kinda need for a successful system.

People do seem to forget that in 1995 the Saturn wasn't being killed yet. It was selling at greater than 50% the rate of the PS1. The dumbest move they did was outright announcing the Saturn is not our future, while having nothing else available at retail. Bernie Stolar killed the Saturn in '97 while the Dreamcast was still two years away.

Oh and one more thing, get friggin Sonic Xtreme out the door. That would have done a lot to save it.

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Re: Should Sega have been braver / bolder with the Saturn ?

Postby jon » May 29th, 2016, 1:15 am

As I was researching the topic recently I too was surprised that by the end of 1995, the Saturn hadn't been outsold that badly by the PS1. I guess Sega still had brand loyalty at the point, and the Playstation was so new that it hadn't developed a reputation yet. If there were things they could've done differently, it would've had to have been concentrating on 2d. What about Sonic on steroids, lol.

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