LivingMetal said:
Robert_Downey_Jr. said:
Nope. It was a crash but like the stock market gaming was always gonna come back. Nintendo happened to be at the right place at the right time and capitalized on a vacant market. The crash wasn't this long dark ages. It was like 2 years where things got saturated and new sales slowed down.

So it could be argued that console gaming "came back" because Nintendo was at the right place at the right time.  Therefore, Nintendo revitalized the console market.  So tell us All-Wise-One-From-An-Alternate-Timeline.  If the NES never existed, how was console gaming "always gonna come back?"  Hmm...

Designing an scenario where some other console saves the console market in the US is relatively easy. 

Option A: Nintendo does not release the NES in the US. However for some reason Sega does release the Master System around 1986 in the US with good marketing (on part with Nintendo's marketing from 1985-1986). Now, Sega won't have games as good as Super Mario Bros and what not and because the Famicom is still destroying the NES in Japan, third party support (especially from Japanese companies) while better than OTL would still be limited, which will hurt sales. Still the SMS for example was able to keep up with the NES in Europe. 

With good marketing, getting more third party support (even if still much less than the NES got irl) and what not, I think the SMS can probably sell around half of what the NES sold in North America, so somewhere around 15 million units (which would push the SMS itself to somewhere around 30 million worldwide).

Of course then the question is how would Nintendo respond and what happens with the SNES/Mega Drive, but at that point the home console market itself is saved.

Option B (more likely imo): The 3rd generation of consoles is never released in North America, or if it is released, it is in small quantities and being flops. Europe is still a relatively decent market but not amazing.

Eventually, in 1989, Nintendo (which still exists and is big, remember Japan is still a thing) releases the Game Boy with Tetris and it is an instant hit. Suddenly, everyone realizes they can play video games on the go, no need for PCs. So handheld gaming will always be a thing (more than anything, because it could not be affected by a crash before it even existed).

As for how that translates to consoles, it is not inconcievable that Nintendo speeds up the development of the Super Game Boy, and eventually releases it alongside the SNES in 1993. Or maybe Sega just releases the Game Gear with a TV output as some sort of proto-Switch :P

Option C: North America just copies Europe. So the NES sells around 10 million units, then the SNES and MegaDrive also sell around 15 million combined. These numbers are roughly 1/3 of what the real NA numbers were. Most American gamers just play on PC

Then when the PSX comes out, everyone just starts buying Playstations instead of PCs out of nowhere (tbh I have no idea why this happened in Europe). While console gaming would still be smaller than OTL, the market itself is saved