Top 8 Video Game Console Failures

This week Playstation announced that later this month they would be making an even BIGGER announcement about the company’s future gaming device.  Besides Playstation, there is a litany of other gaming devices slated to possibly hit the market within the year.  This includes the Ouya, Oculus Rift, and the GameStick.  While it is more likely than not that most of these systems will flop, you never know which one could be just different enough to grab a hold of some market share and succeed.  With that being said, it is quite easy to look backwards and revisit some of the greatest confirmed game console failures of the past.  This is exactly what I plan to do this week.  So sit back, wax nostalgically about your TurboGrafx 16 (NOT included in this list), and follow along with me as I count down my top eight favorite video game console failures.  Let’s get to it….



sega cd


#8. Sega CD- I could almost populate an entire list of this nature with solely Sega produced devices.  As it is, they make my list an unprecedented THREE times.  Sega CD is the first of those on my list.  It was a CD-ROM add-on for the Genesis system.  At the time most developers were not ready to adapt to the much larger storage capacity of CD’s, which caused the system to have a less than stellar library of games.  That library consisted mostly of revamped titles with additional cut-scenes added along with spiffy soundtracks.






#7. 3DO- This console was released in 1993 by Panasonic and was priced at an astounding $699!  This was due to an odd licensing strategy by the parent corporation which forced the manufacturers to make a profit on the system itself and not specifically focusing on earning profits from subsequent software sales.  A limited game library, and this odd licensing decision resulting in the astronomical price point, proved to be the main downfall of a system that might have had some promise otherwise.




neo geo


#6. Neo-Geo- This system began its life as an arcade console.  It featured the ability to provide multiple games in a single arcade cabinet.  It was very successful in that manner.  THEN…they decided to make it available as a home console.  Making the same mistake the 3DO would make three years later, the Neo-Geo was priced FAR too high for the console market of the time.  It was 1990 and they were asking a ridiculous $649.  The games ranged in price from $100-$200 A PIECE!!  Despite these drawbacks, it had a devoted following and managed a market life-span of fourteen years.  This allowed it to become the second longest living arcade or home console ever produced.  Its final home release cartridge hit the shelves in 2004.




sega 32x


#5. Sega 32X- After the failure of the Sega CD, the Sega Corporation decided to give it another go with a console add-on.  Brilliant idea fellas.  The console was inserted directly into your Genesis cartridge slot, despite the fact that you also needed a separate power supply and a cable linking it to the Genesis.  The console was prone to tipping over, possibly damaging the hardware or the software.  At the time of its release Sega was already in development of the Sega Saturn, which could truly compete with the N64 and the Playstation.  Initial sales were strong, but Sega quickly lost faith in its own product and cancelled production to focus on the Saturn gaming system.




atari jaguar


#4. Atari Jaguar- The system that killed Atari!  It was touted as the first 64-bit gaming system.  This was just about all the console had going for it.  The controller was practically unusable, comprising itself of FIFTEEN buttons!  The system had critical hardware failures that are too complicated for me to even understand, much less discuss here.  Also, much like the other flops on this list the Jaguar suffered from a severe lack of a gaming library.  All of these failures combined to drive the US-based Atari straight out of the gaming console business leaving it to foreign competitors until Microsoft introduced the Xbox in 2001.




apple pippin


#3. Apple Pippin- Yes folks, Apple can produce a failure.  And fail they did.  The console was designed to compete with the Playstation and N64.  Yet, it was astoundingly priced at DOUBLE what those consoles cost, a whopping $599.  The gaming library was as bad, or worse, than any others on this list, with only 18 games available for the console in the US.  Bandai licensed the console from Apple, who then made absolutely no effort to market the product.  All of the marketing was to be done by the licensees.  This resulted in a massive marketing failure of the system and it sold only a paltry 42,000 units.




sega dreamcast


#2. Sega Dreamcast- The final Sega entry on our list.  It was the first of the sixth generation consoles to hit the market, eventually competing with the PS2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube.  It was intended to be their comeback after the failures of the Sega CD, 32X, and Saturn (which I DID NOT include in this list because the system was actually not bad.) The console was basically ahead of its time and when Sony released its eagerly awaited PS2, the Dreamcast suffered incredibly.  Sales took a nose dive and Sega quickly realized they couldn’t compete with the likes of Sony because of the dire financial situation they found themselves in after their previous failures.  It was the first console to incorporate a modem for online gaming and its influences can be seen in the future release of Microsoft’s Xbox, whom Sega teamed with to help develop the console.  PC magazine actually chose the Dreamcast as the best gaming console EVER produced, yet past failures and the inability to compete with larger competitors like Sony and Nintendo drove the console out of stores, and Sega right out of the gaming console market.




Finally, we come to my number one favorite video game console flop of all time.  It was a truly disastrous device.  However, it was produced by one of the most respected names in gaming, so it didn’t do too much harm to the company.  It just stands as an epic fail on their part and an amusing device to look back on and wonder….what the hell were they thinking?  Have you figured out what console I’m referring to?  Well, let’s find out.  My number one this week goes to the beautiful gaming console known as…..



virtual boy


#1. Virtual Boy- Nintendo released this experimental video game system with what we can only assume were high hopes.  Why they would think it could even possibly be a success is one of the great mysteries of our time.  To play the console you squeezed your face into a silly looking visor that sat atop what looked like a gun stand.  It displayed its graphics in TWO colors.  Black and red.  But hey…at least it was 3D, right?  It also had the wonderful side effect of causing excruciating headaches in its users, which is why the games automatically paused after a period of time to rest the player’s eyes.  It required six AA batteries to power, which tended to drain in about two hours.  It was developed by the man who gave us the GameBoy and was such an epic failure for a company used to constant success, that it caused his resignation from the company.  The console had such a short life-span that only a whopping 14 games were released in North America.  For being the ONLY commercial flop for the Nintendo corporation…and boy was it an epic fail…the Virtual Boy grabs the number one spot on my list this week.




That’s all she wrote this week, folks.  Did you agree with my list of the top eight game console failures?  There were plenty of other nominees, but these were my eight favorites.  Let me know in the comments section below if there was one you think deserved a spot on the list instead of my chosen few.  As always, you can drop me a line by emailing [email protected], or follow me on Twitter @SeanMLScott.  Until next time…Allons-y!!

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