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Various thoughts.

  • The N64 would NOT have cost $200 at launch. Though I'm having trouble getting precise information, CD-ROM disc drives were still fairly expensive in the mid-90's. I found an old article from 1996 talking about how they cost "less than $200."
  • Third party support in general would still have favored the PlayStation. Even if we look at games released on less successful platforms like the 3DO and Saturn, it's clear that companies were looking for a new platform to support that wasn't from Nintendo. I think that the main support Nintendo would gain would come from Squaresoft and Enix, who dropped their N64 plans fairly late. This would have most of its impact within Japan, which would support the N64 the most this generation.
  • Although losing its core JRPG's would mean the PlayStation would lose in Japan, that would not be enough to kill it. According to Famitsu, PlayStation and Saturn software sales were roughly on par in 1995 before the PS1 took the lead in 1996, well before Final Fantasy VII was released. Even without Square or Enix, the PS1 had plenty of games sell very well in Japan alone, even early in the platform's life. In Japan, PlayStation would get by for two years on games like Ridge Racer, Tekken 1/2, Resident Evil, and Arc the Lad, before getting some of its biggest titles in 1997 (Gran Turismo, Resident Evil 2, Hot Shots Golf, Tales of Destiny, etc).
  • In the West, the PlayStation would be hurt even less. Even in real life, Final Fantasy is mostly remembered as a small component of an overall strong lineup for the PS1. Gran Turismo, Tekken, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Metal Gear Solid, Driver, Tomb Raider, etc.
  • What I find most interesting is how Nintendo's own games would be effected. How would Ocarina of Time be hurt by long load times? How would improved textures and storage help it? Would a lot of classic Nintendo games include badly aged FMV's? Could games like Super Mario 64 have featured more level?

Love and tolerate.