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Alternate history: N64 goes with CDs instead of cartridges

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What do you think would've been the outcome?

N64 would've won the gen 40 62.50%
 
PS1 still would've won 24 37.50%
 
Total:64
Soundwave said:
PortisheadBiscuit said:
So in hindsight, Nintendo was the sacrificial lamb for the gaming industry to expand to what it is today. Had Nintendo won the 5th gen, it would've been bad for the industry as a whole.

I'd rather have Nintendo-Sega industry to be honest than what we have now which is just bland PC boxes and two main console companies that basically just do the same thing. 

Tech was evolving just fine as NES to SNES to N64 to GameCube were all terrific hardware leaps. 

It costs billions to design a monolithic CPU/GPU these days, cost which became untenable after the 6th gen... Nintendo, Sony etc' will likely never go back to custom designed chips for their consoles ever again.

Fact is, consoles need PC technology as it's cheaper, already designed and allows a faster time-to-market...
Not to mention AMD, Intel and nVidia spend billions in R&D every year and leverage the latest manufacturing from TSMC, Samsung, Global Foundries etc' to have the best possible performance, it's difficult for other companies to keep pace with their cadence.

And that is before we touch on the issue of game development costs, leveraging commodity components means it is easier for developers to come to terms with the hardware, reducing development time and costs for games.

d21lewis said:

The N64 was a powerful powerful console. More powerful that PCs when it launched (if I'm not mistaken).

You are mistaken.
The Nintendo 64 dropped in 1996. (1997 in many other parts of the world)

The PC had 3dfx Voodoo. - And it was propelled by the likes of Resident Evil, Quake 2, Descent II, Tomb Raider and more.
And unlike the Nintendo 64... The PC games weren't a low-res blurry mess of 320x240 like the Nintendo 64... 800x600 was more than possible, which is a higher resolution than some Nintendo Switch games!

And on the CPU side of the equation... You had the Pentium 200MMX which was pretty beastly and it wasn't unusual for PC's to have 32MB or more of Ram... Which is multiples better than the Nintendo 64.
And unlike the PS1, it was all perspective correct... And unlike the Nintendo 64, developers didn't need to rely on garaud shading to make up for a tiny framebuffer.

Games like Turok: The Dinosaur Hunter looked and played better on PC at the time, especially under Glide.
In-fact many N64-PS1 to PC multplats were better on PC like Final Fantasy 7 and 8, Doom, Carmageddon, Duke Nukem, Rainbow Six, Indiana Jones and more.

In short, the PC has always been ahead of the consoles, except in the Audio department where the SNES was pretty damn brutal, but it lost to Soundblaster once that came about.

curl-6 said:

I really don't see anything about gaming on the PS1 that a CD-equipped N64 couldn't have delivered. Also bear in mind PS1 would've still been there, it just wouldn't have had a near-monopoly.

Graphically there would have been a reduction for the N64 side of the equation, especially in the texturing department as it's less effective to stream textures from a slow CD-Rom verses the N64 cart which was pushing a few hundred megabytes a second... Would still be better than the PS1 of course.

But yeah, there is absolutely nothing the PS1 could have done that a CD-equipped Nintendo 64 couldn't.



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curl-6 said:
PortisheadBiscuit said:

Sony not dominating the 5th gen would've stunted the growth of the industry IMO. They took gaming to a whole 'nother level Nintendo wouldn't have IMO. 

I really don't see anything about gaming on the PS1 that a CD-equipped N64 couldn't have delivered. Also bear in mind PS1 would've still been there, it just wouldn't have had a near-monopoly.

N64 with CD would still have the same Nintendo that didn't care about Europe and RotW at the helm. So if you expect that PS1 wouldn't have a signficant lead over N64 then likely the Market wouldn't have reached the size it did, much less when imagining the PS2 gen.



duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8808363

Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=9008994

DonFerrari said:
curl-6 said:

I really don't see anything about gaming on the PS1 that a CD-equipped N64 couldn't have delivered. Also bear in mind PS1 would've still been there, it just wouldn't have had a near-monopoly.

N64 with CD would still have the same Nintendo that didn't care about Europe and RotW at the helm. So if you expect that PS1 wouldn't have a signficant lead over N64 then likely the Market wouldn't have reached the size it did, much less when imagining the PS2 gen.

PS1 still would've grown the market in Europe, while Nintendo would've dominated Japan and NA. Same market reach, just less monopolized, IMO.



curl-6 said:
DonFerrari said:

N64 with CD would still have the same Nintendo that didn't care about Europe and RotW at the helm. So if you expect that PS1 wouldn't have a signficant lead over N64 then likely the Market wouldn't have reached the size it did, much less when imagining the PS2 gen.

PS1 still would've grown the market in Europe, while Nintendo would've dominated Japan and NA. Same market reach, just less monopolized, IMO.

Could happen, but that would likely put PS1 with a sizeable lead. That is why I said that expecting Nintendo to have massively won the alternate timeline and still see the big growth doesn't seem likely.



duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8808363

Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=9008994

DonFerrari said:
curl-6 said:

PS1 still would've grown the market in Europe, while Nintendo would've dominated Japan and NA. Same market reach, just less monopolized, IMO.

Could happen, but that would likely put PS1 with a sizeable lead. That is why I said that expecting Nintendo to have massively won the alternate timeline and still see the big growth doesn't seem likely.

While I do think N64 would've won this scenario, I do think PS still would've done quite well, so I'm not coming from the angle of it being a massive curb-stomping win.



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I wonder if it was the PS1 that expanded the market or if it was the combination of cheap software, older gamers that never left the hobby (which has been the case every generation), 3D graphics reaching an impressive level, and in that same vein, the leap from 2D to 3D. Maybe Sony was just lucky to be the best system on the market during that historic time.

Unless VR takes off or holograms become real, I can't imagine there ever being a leap like the one from 2D to 3D.



Twitter: @d21lewis  --I'll add you if you add me!!

d21lewis said:
I wonder if it was the PS1 that expanded the market or if it was the combination of cheap software, older gamers that never left the hobby (which has been the case every generation), 3D graphics reaching an impressive level, and in that same vein, the leap from 2D to 3D. Maybe Sony was just lucky to be the best system on the market during that historic time.

Unless VR takes off or holograms become real, I can't imagine there ever being a leap like the one from 2D to 3D.

Just look at how Nintendo done in Europe and RotW with NES and SNES, you'll see how much expansion Sony brought.



duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8808363

Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=9008994

DonFerrari said:
d21lewis said:
I wonder if it was the PS1 that expanded the market or if it was the combination of cheap software, older gamers that never left the hobby (which has been the case every generation), 3D graphics reaching an impressive level, and in that same vein, the leap from 2D to 3D. Maybe Sony was just lucky to be the best system on the market during that historic time.

Unless VR takes off or holograms become real, I can't imagine there ever being a leap like the one from 2D to 3D.

Just look at how Nintendo done in Europe and RotW with NES and SNES, you'll see how much expansion Sony brought.

Sony? Or Sega?

Genesis - 8.39 million units
NES - 8.3 million units
SNES - 8.15 million units

The European Console market nearly doubled with just Sega bringing the punch and actually outselling the SNES, which only sold just slightly less than the NES. Sega planted the seeds long before Sony brought the fertilizer.

Europe (and the entire market as a whole) was going to keep growing, expanding, and reach new heights with or without Sony. I'm not saying Sony wasn't a factor, they certainly were. But they weren't the huge different maker. A substantial part of the PS1's success and establishment came from Sony just being at the right place, at the right time, to take advantage of the mistakes of Nintendo and Sega, especially Sega. Sega's blunder was directly due to Sony. The main reason why Sega released the Saturn so early, shooting themselves in the foot in the process, was because they wanted to get a head start on the PlayStation in the Western markets, because both systems were already out in Japan for close to a year and the Saturn was actually outselling the PlayStation. However, by doing that, they completely blind-sided fans and retailers, they launched the system way too early with little to no important software titles to make an impressive launch, they completely killed the momentum they worked so hard to build with the Genesis, and that was the beginning of the end for Sega as a hardware developer. With no Sony, no PlayStation, and Nintendo's next system not due for another year, Sega could take their time and stick to the fall/holiday launch they originally had planned for the Saturn. Or maybe even delayed it to spring of '96 to make sure it was as ready as possible for the Nintendo 64's launch. Which means they wouldn't have pissed off the retailers, confused the fans, or squashed their hard-earned momentum. The Saturn would have been readily available in all retailers and markets instead of some, with a much stronger launch lineup, and the system would have sold significantly better than it did. (In fact, I think the Saturn would have outsold the Nintendo 64 in that scenario.) And today's Big Three would be Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sega. Or it might still be just Nintendo and Sega. Who knows? Sony definitely helped the market grow and expand at an exponential rate. Much faster than it would have if they didn't enter the console market, but the market was going to grow and expand regardless.

Last edited by PAOerfulone - on 24 August 2019

Pancho A. Ovies

Nintendo Switch in Japan (Famitsu): 2018 vs. 2019
http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread.php?id=238945&page=2

PlayStation 4/Xbox One/Nintendo Switch: 2018 vs. 2019
http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread.php?id=239387

As for the OP, in an alternate universe where the Nintendo 64 was also CD-based, THAT would have been a real game-changer. I think Nintendo would have won in the U.S.. They would have dominated in Japan, because Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and all the major 3rd party Japanese titles and franchises that went PlayStation exclusive, would have been either Nintendo 64 exclusive or multi-platform. And that would have had major effects on other markets as well including Europe and the Rest of the World. You don't think that a sizable portion of those new European gamers who went with the PlayStation 1 in our reality wouldn't have gone with the Nintendo 64 instead in this alternate one? I still think the PlayStation 1 could still have won those markets, but it would be a lot closer and not the total cake-walk that it was. The way I see it, this is how sales would have been in this alternate reality.

Americas: (Actual)
N64: 30-34 million (20.11 million)
PS1: 25-29 million (38.94 million)

Europe: (Actual)
PS1: 22-27 million (36.91 million)
N64: 15-20 million (6.35 million)

Japan: (Actual)
N64: 15-20 million (5.54 million)
PS1: 5-10 million (19.36 million)

RotW: (Actual)
PS1: 5-7 million (9.04 million)
N64: 3-5 million (0.93 million)

Overall: (Actual)
N64: 63-79 million (32.93 million)
PS1: 57-73 million (104.25 million)

Sony might have still won, but it would have been significantly closer than it actually was and they would have been the underdog in this scenario. I think Nintendo would have won in the end.



Pancho A. Ovies

Nintendo Switch in Japan (Famitsu): 2018 vs. 2019
http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread.php?id=238945&page=2

PlayStation 4/Xbox One/Nintendo Switch: 2018 vs. 2019
http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread.php?id=239387

PAOerfulone said:
DonFerrari said:

Just look at how Nintendo done in Europe and RotW with NES and SNES, you'll see how much expansion Sony brought.

Sony? Or Sega?

Genesis - 8.39 million units
NES - 8.3 million units
SNES - 8.15 million units

The European Console market nearly doubled with just Sega bringing the punch and actually outselling the SNES, which only sold just slightly less than the NES. Sega planted the seeds long before Sony brought the fertilizer.

Europe (and the entire market as a whole) was going to keep growing, expanding, and reach new heights with or without Sony. I'm not saying Sony wasn't a factor, they certainly were. But they weren't the huge different maker. A substantial part of the PS1's success and establishment came from Sony just being at the right place, at the right time, to take advantage of the mistakes of Nintendo and Sega, especially Sega. Sega's blunder was directly due to Sony. The main reason why Sega released the Saturn so early, shooting themselves in the foot in the process, was because they wanted to get a head start on the PlayStation in the Western markets, because both systems were already out in Japan for close to a year and the Saturn was actually outselling the PlayStation. However, by doing that, they completely blind-sided fans and retailers, they launched the system way too early with little to no important software titles to make an impressive launch, they completely killed the momentum they worked so hard to build with the Genesis, and that was the beginning of the end for Sega as a hardware developer. With no Sony, no PlayStation, and Nintendo's next system not due for another year, Sega could take their time and stick to the fall/holiday launch they originally had planned for the Saturn. Or maybe even delayed it to spring of '96 to make sure it was as ready as possible for the Nintendo 64's launch. Which means they wouldn't have pissed off the retailers, confused the fans, or squashed their hard-earned momentum. The Saturn would have been readily available in all retailers and markets instead of some, with a much stronger launch lineup, and the system would have sold significantly better than it did. (In fact, I think the Saturn would have outsold the Nintendo 64 in that scenario.) And today's Big Three would be Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sega. Or it might still be just Nintendo and Sega. Who knows? Sony definitely helped the market grow and expand at an exponential rate. Much faster than it would have if they didn't enter the console market, but the market was going to grow and expand regardless.

Any reason why do you think Sega would have become bright with N64-CD being a thing (so they would still have a CD company there to preassure them) or Sony not being in the Market?

They had early release of Genesis against SNES as well. So all point that Sega would have done basically the same mistakes.

About your expectations of Nintendo basically doubling their sales with the CD, what is your explanation that Nintendo having all advantages during SNES weren't able to significantly outsell Sega and why do you think the Europe and RotW would become much bigger sales to Nintendo? They simply didn't go there when they had Strong NES, competitive SNES and loser N64 so why in the alternate history would they also start caring?



duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8808363

Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=9008994