Part 1 of the console generation battle featuring these 4, Being a gamer for most of my life and being in the industry for over half my life I’ve been close to many gaming platforms, I’ve seen it almost all for the last 30 plus years, and over those years I have opinions and thoughts across the platforms, they can often be regarded and Consoles Wars and put into generations.
This was the biggest console war to date, with Neo geo and Atari setting in the back round and PC gaming having its own nesch , we saw 4 big companies launching their consoles within a short time of each other but who came out on top? what was my favourite?
For me this is when I joined the gaming industry, I started working with all these consoles that had either just come out or now coming out, so I saw all of these first hand, and gaming at this point was a huge deal, because of the success of the 90’s gaming had massively increased its popularity. It had grown from being either that kiddy thing or geek thing to being a much more desired and sort after the thing with the brands becoming more known.
But this generation battle saw its biggest and arguably toughest fight to date, it had grown to 4 big competitors with the likes of Atari and Neo Geo starting to fall behind, PC gaming was growing but it was still for many in the background, and Gameboy versions were still pumping Nintendo with the money. But with new and old contenders we saw the battle of the 4 over a release schedule of 2 just over two years, this was part 1 and we focused on Sony and Sega.
Sega Dreamcast was a big deal with Sega, as we talked about in the last generation Sega were in desperate mode, even though Mega Drive was successful they tried to undo themselves at every turn, then the Sega Saturn was so mixed handled it became a bit of a joke and almost straight away dismissed from sega and moved onto Dreamcast.
So at the end of 98 in Japan and later 99 for everyone else, Sega arguably released their most ambitious console in the form of the Dreamcast. With the brand of the games from Arcade machines and their previous consoles they still had a following and brand knowledge, even with their own at times self-defeat, many of the slated released for Sega Saturn got moved over to Dreamcast.
Sega went overboard for hype and went on a PR splash, their console overall was quite affordable in comparison to the times, and their decision to release it earlier than their competitors, largely because of the failure of the Saturn and the infighting within the group, saw them start well. japan was mixed as it was released earlier there and the hype of the PSX was still evident.
But the rest of the world saw a good start but after their initial Christmas successes the sales momentum couldn’t keep up and as time went on the pending Sonly console didn’t help it. More infighting profailed and we saw sales targets from Sega not hit, with further reductions of the consoles not helping those sales targets and profitability
But with the Dreamcast heading in the wrong direction fast, the console was revolutionary and had innovative ideas and games, it had a memory unit you could remove much like a memory card but you could play again on it and take it to your friends and slow into another friends controller! not a console! the console itself had a built-in modem for internet play, this is common practice now but at the time this was unheard of!
The controller for many was a different style design much like what the N64 and the dual shock PSX were doing, you could argue this gave a lot of design inspiration to al future gaming controllers with extra buttons and triggers etc.
With the console only around for 3 years it still managed to produce many much-loved games along with bringing many of arcade favourites over, Sega bass fishing, chu chu rocket, Shenmue, house of the dead, panzer dragoon, jet set radio, Crazy Taxi, Phantasy star online, Sega Rally, Daytona, VirtuaTennis, Virtua soccer, Virtua Fighter, were among many many successors. these spawned many more in the future, emulators, collectors and still bring people many fond memories, and it showed other games like a Tombraider in really good graphics for the time but with all these top games.
Good price consoles, it’s early released ow did it go wrong? But it was the last Sega console, and their many reasons including a large amount of Sega destroying themselves once again…. but they in the end went to a third party games maker in 2001 as they stepped away from the console market.
Sony Playstation 2
PSX was the best of the last generation, it came out of nowhere within the competition through the issues of sega and Nintendo, it was the most popular and cool console to get and even in this generation did something unheard of, it continued with the PSone console and still released games while the PS2 was released, that was how dominant it was.
But in 2000 the PS2 console was launched across the world, it was beyond hyped, it had a lot of press ad desirability because of the last one. There were rumours almost straight away from the launch of the PSX that they were developing a second one, the PS1 was Cd based but DVD was becoming the new hot thing, the Dreamcast had kind of done DVD with their games but not really.
However, the PS2 was fully DVD, it was a games console that could play a DVD which at the time made the PS2 one of the cheapest DVD players around even though they were a console?! and in the late ’90s early 2000’s DVD was now mass market as it was seen a big upgrade to VHS.
It also had the possibility of a built-in modem and internet, something that the PS2 would only really dabble in going forward. But they had a new Dualshock controller along with a much bigger controller, a DVD remote for that DVD player and something surprising, backwards capability!
With all this said it flew out of the blocks but this created an issue as well, there wasn’t enough stock to keep up and manufacturing issues kept stock at a minimum in the early months, even though it had a solid start and thrashed the Dreamcast it perhaps didn’t do as well as it ultimately could have done.
With the initial launch though you could argue the game lineup was weak, even when you compared it to some of the other console launches around this time, Tekken Tag was the only one that people talked about but even that was not a normal full-blown Tekken, but with the lack of console availability this didn’t really hinder the first few months, we had seen GT3 at an initial trailer launch showcasing the game and the power of the console but we were waiting.
No real EA sports game yet, no Final fantasy or any of those games, even Spyro and Crash among were lacking but then came Christmas 2001, a year after the console launch and the dwindling Dreamcast, and the end of life N64, PS2 suddenly came alive again.
The stock was much more but 3 games launched, Gran Turismo 3 with bundled console showed off the power, the first proper Fifa along with Ea titles that had been such a success on PSX, and Grand Theft Auto 3, the game that was number 1 on the gaming charts for months, and had done well on the PS1 with the three games but you could argue for GTA, this was the game that took it to the next level and became one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world..good or bad with its popularity.
But these games along with Metal gear solid and the latest final fantasy suddenly took it beyond anything we had seen before, there were big games every week, there were thousands of games launched on it, it was massively popular and with slimline models and colours down the line took its life onto many years.
They stop making it in 2013, that’s 12 years of development! they stock repairs etc in 2018, which is an unparallel success, as the PS1 even with future console games still came out and with second-hand markets etc its still sort after console.
With these two big mammoth consoles and brands who would be number 1? well Part 2 saw anew comer in Microsoft and Xbox, the number 1 PC gamer were entering the console market, while Nintendo was a little bruised from the N64 losing to Playstation, but they had Gameboy, Mario, doing things differently…they were fine weren’t they? check it out in Part 2