Failed Video Game Consoles

Today, we have the Xbox 360, Play Station 3, and the Nintendo Wii for Current Generation Video Game Consoles. We are currently in the Eighth Generation of Video Game Consoles. Video Game Systems have come and went, with many achieving huge financial gains while others have plunged into obscurity causing economic disaster. Today we are going to talk about a few of the systems that have taken that almighty plunge into failure. Here are some of History’s Failed Video Game Consoles…

3D0 Interactive Multiplayer:

The 3D0 was a video game system developed by Panasonic in 1993. It was a CD based system that was trying to revolutionize the industry, and take control from Sony/Nintendo/Sega. It was promising 32 bit graphics during a 16bit age. It even featured some of the first interactive movie orientated games. It is also known for having the best home port of the Street Fighter 2 Turbo. It also is the first game console to have a music visualizer; turning your music into colorful patterns like in Windows Media Player. However, the true downfall of the system came from its debut price, $699. While the system was well hyped, $699 was well and above twice what any other system on the market was priced at. The reason for this was simple: 3DO planned to make its profits from console sales rather than game sales. Most video game companies sell their console at a price losing them money in hopes to regain the money via royalties on video game sales. 3D0 however had rather low royalties on its video game sales only netting them $3 of each video game purchase. This caused the system to be seen as unaffordable by the public, and panned critically. The company officially halted production of systems/games in 1996. There was speculation of another system being made, but it never came to be.

Most Popular Titles: Road Rash, Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Return Fire, Gex, the Need for Speed,

Failure: High Price, Low Profit from Video Game sales,



Virtual Boy:

Ah, the virtual boy! This system was created by Nintendo in 1995 to revolutionize the portable game playing experience. Instead it nauseated users and gave severe headaches and eye problems! No joke, people using this system would complain of several strains after using it for longer than 30 minutes. Let’s talk a bit about the system itself first. It was priced at $180 which was a bit steep for a portable game console. It promised to bring 3D graphics to your eyes and virtual reality at your fingertips. There were several issues with this system. First of all, just look at it. Does it look like a portable system to you? It’s huge, and clunky, and impossible to use comfortably in any portable fashion imaginable. Second, everything is in black and red. Black and Red?

Yes, this system was supposed to be cutting edge but wasn’t in color it. Everything was in black and red graphics.  The system used a monochromatic display to create the illusion of 3D.Third, the controller for the system was awful and included a secondary D-pad that went virtually unused. The system also ran off of a battery pack on the back of the controller so if it slipped off during game play, the system would shut off. Another issue with the system was the amount of games. There were 14 released in North America.



I’m not talking about for its debut, I mean its entire lifespan it had 14 games released. This includes a Golf game, a Bowling game, a Puzzle game, and a Baseball game, none of which had any 3D element or virtual reality feel.  It flopped, and Nintendo discontinued it a year later. During the Nintendo 3DS release, Nintendo of America President, Reggie Fils-Aime was asked if Virtual Boy games would be available for purchase in the 3DS Virtual Store.


He commented that he doesn’t really see why the consumer would want that; neither do I.

Most Popular Titles: Mario Clash, Mario’s Tennis, Teleroboxer, 3D Tetris, and Virtual Boy Wario Land

Failure: High Price, Red/Black graphics, Poor Design, Caused Physical Pain to Use, Lack of Games, Poor implementation of Virtual Reality/3D, No long term support, and Looking like this while playing

Virtual Reality. Yeah.


Atari Jaguar

In 1994, The Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis were competing head to head for video game supremacy. Both systems were currently 16 bit. Then came the Atari Jaguar, which boasted 64bit graphics! This is 1994 and Atari was promising 64 bit graphics in their video games. Their advertisements slammed the SNES/Sega Systems and asked people to just “Do the Math”. The system was priced at 249.99. It was a cartridge based system that also had a CD add-on. This system had its fair share of problems as well. First of all, it wasn’t truly 64bit. It was actually 32 bit with the presence of 64bit data which Atari felt that it justified saying it had 64bit graphics. There were other issues with the system, it had an atrocious design for its controller and made the games difficult to play.  The system lacked third party support, due to its complex confusing console, it made coding difficult for potential programmers. This could have been manageable with some good first party titles; however the first party titles were poorly received. Atari’s sales suffered, and they began to buy out infomercials advertising the Atari Jaguar just to get rid of left over inventory. During this time, Atari’s revenue dropped from almost 40 million to 15 million by 1995. Hasbro later bought the rights to the Atari Jaguar, and Hasbro released the rights and now the Atari Jaguar is an open platform allowing previously unfinished and newly created titles to be spread online to the system’s niche following. At the end of the day, the system only sold around 250,000 units, which is less than any other major system of its generation.  (3D0 sold 2million, Sega Saturn sold 9.5 million, N64 sold 33 million, and PlayStation sold 100 million) 

Most Popular Titles: Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, Tempest 2000, Alien vs. Predator


Failure: Lack of Third Party Support, Poor first party titles, Bad controller, Difficult to code, Tough competition from other more established companies,



That was just a quick look at a few systems that didn’t reach the heights that they had hoped. There are many many more out there in the landscape of video gaming. Hope you enjoyed reading, Stay tuned. 

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