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Forums - Gaming Discussion - Alternate History: Sega doesn't drop the ball in the 4th to 5th gen transition

In this timeline, the Sega CD and 32X don't happen, the Saturn is easy to develop for and priced on par with Playstation, and they don't alienate retailers with a surprise release.

What difference do you think this would have made to how things play out?



Bet with Liquidlaser: I say PS5 and Xbox Series will sell more than 56 million combined by the end of 2023.

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They may have gained a few extra million at most , but it's not going to make any real difference, plus you would still have the dreamcast v PS2 down the line.



mjk45 said:

They may have gained a few extra million at most , but it's not going to make any real difference, plus you would still have the dreamcast v PS2 down the line.

the difference here is that they wouldn't be quite too deep in the hole when the dreamcase launched this way, meaning the deamcast might have gone the full generation. they WOULD have likely dropped out during the wii/360/ps3 era though unless MS desides to commit full stop on going with sega.

The big question here is is XBOX going to join in as strongly if sega was in a better state...



Possible it gets FF7. (They went to Sony because N64 carts did not have the space and Saturn was struggling already) Also depends on how good SEGA's marketing is and relations with third parties. Assuming good marketing and good hardware at $299. SEGA was an est name in hardware plus Arcades,Sega was also developing a space in the PC games market where Sony was not. Saturn does very well and Dreamcast would not only be released much later but be a very different console. Dreamcast was designed to be the opposite of Saturn and release in 1998 in Japan. It was made to look like the PS1. So if Saturn is successful. Those third parties move from Nintendo to Saturn, not Sony. Dreamcast if that's still its name is released in 2000 instead of 1998. I think Sony would be fighting with SEGA like SNES and Genesis were always so close in sales (32X/SCD is what killed its sales and let SNES take the clear lead) while I imagine N64 being left in third but still the same amount of consoles sold in total. Just Saturn/PS1 split that 100 million bases into one having 40 plus million and the other having 50 plus million. Neither sells 100 total.


SEGA in our timeline was financially strapped on making choices for Dreamcast. So Bernie Stolar had to make a choice between DVD and online play. In our revised history. DC has both as SEGA might be a much better place financially.

Last edited by Leynos - on 15 February 2021

Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

TheBraveGallade said:
mjk45 said:

They may have gained a few extra million at most , but it's not going to make any real difference, plus you would still have the Dreamcast v PS2 down the line.

the difference here is that they wouldn't be quite too deep in the hole when the dreamcase launched this way, meaning the deamcast might have gone the full generation. they WOULD have likely dropped out during the wii/360/ps3 era though unless MS desides to commit full stop on going with sega.

The big question here is is XBOX going to join in as strongly if sega was in a better state...

 My question is would it be enough to stop or reverse the down turn, slow it yes, the thing is unless you further the scope of this alternative world to include other   what ifs beside what's in the op, and see what rabbit hole does that lead down, I can't foresee anything more than it delaying the inevitable.

Last edited by mjk45 - on 15 February 2021

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PS1 still wins



Leynos said:

Possible it gets FF7. (They went to Sony because N64 carts did not have the space and Saturn was struggling already) Also depends on how good SEGA's marketing is and relations with third parties. Assuming good marketing and good hardware at $299. SEGA was an est name in hardware plus Arcades,Sega was also developing a space in the PC games market where Sony was not. Saturn does very well and Dreamcast would not only be released much later but be a very different console. Dreamcast was designed to be the opposite of Saturn and release in 1998 in Japan. It was made to look like the PS1. So if Saturn is successful. Those third parties move from Nintendo to Saturn, not Sony. Dreamcast if that's still its name is released in 2000 instead of 1998. I think Sony would be fighting with SEGA like SNES and Genesis were always so close in sales (32X/SCD is what killed its sales and let SNES take the clear lead) while I imagine N64 being left in third but still the same amount of consoles sold in total. Just Saturn/PS1 split that 100 million bases into one having 40 plus million and the other having 50 plus million. Neither sells 100 total.


SEGA in our timeline was financially strapped on making choices for Dreamcast. So Bernie Stolar had to make a choice between DVD and online play. In our revised history. DC has both as SEGA might be a much better place financially.

 My problem isn't with them do better, but how much better, especially since the op doesn't change Sony's fortunes in regard to the PS1.



More would need to change for Sega to not drop the ball. Sega made a ton of mistakes outside of price and Genesis Add-ons. If they do the following things outside what the OP said:

-Make it much more 3rd party friendly.
Before the Playstation console manufacturers were very strict on what can be made on their consoles. This included Sega. The best way for Sega to win here is to drop those restrictions. This would give the Saturn a huge library. To give you an idea of the number of games that could lead. The PS1 had about 1500+ titles released on it. The Genesis had about 700+. The Saturn had about 1000+ games but only 258 reached America. They would also need to start making deals with 3rd parties to avoid Sony's moneyhatting everything.

-More enticing 1st party games
Sega did a good job in the Genesis days but the Saturn really needed a big seller. The fact that Sonic never came made you question their decisions. What Nintendo was able to manage with the N64 was impressive despite having a lot fewer titles to work with. If Sega could do that + 3rd party support it would sell MUCH better.  


-Don't be so Japan-focused

It was during this era that Sega of Japan made all of the big decisions despite Sega of America being much more successful. So we got a weird situation where Saturn was more successful in Japan but less so in America. The complete opposite of what happened with the Sega Genesis. Keep in mind that the PS1 and Saturn were neck in neck in Japan for a while until PS1 pulled ahead thanks to games like Final Fantasy VII. 

If were to happen then we could see a situation where Sony has a harder time gaining traction. Sony would have to share a lot of the 3rd party titles that would be so popular with them. Sega could have won in this situation but I believe it would all depend on how strong the 1st party support would be. 



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I don't think the Saturn's fortunes change too much in this scenario.  The main problem the system had was a lack of good games, especially first party games.  The Saturn actually had a killer app in Japan early on which was Virtua Fighter.  Consequently, the Saturn did fairly well in Japan.  It didn't do well in the rest of the world, because they didn't have a game that other regions considered a killer app.  What they really needed was a great Sonic game.  A more interesting alternate reality would be if Sonic Mania was released on the Saturn back in the day.  In that scenario, I think the Saturn has a fighting chance.



The_Liquid_Laser said:

I don't think the Saturn's fortunes change too much in this scenario.  The main problem the system had was a lack of good games, especially first party games.  The Saturn actually had a killer app in Japan early on which was Virtua Fighter.  Consequently, the Saturn did fairly well in Japan.  It didn't do well in the rest of the world, because they didn't have a game that other regions considered a killer app.  What they really needed was a great Sonic game.  A more interesting alternate reality would be if Sonic Mania was released on the Saturn back in the day.  In that scenario, I think the Saturn has a fighting chance.

The only problem with that is at the time every franchise was making the jump to 3D. After Super Mario 64 marked Mario's 3D debut, and basically revolutionized the industry and helped set the standard for 3D gaming, everyone was naturally expecting Sonic to make the jump. Because the Sonic vs. Mario rivalry was still very much in full effect at this time (Sega does what Nintendon't). And that's where Sega floundered and struggled because it took them longer than they could afford to make the proper transition. By the time Sonic Adventure finally dropped on the Dreamcast, they were already past the point of no return. All it ultimately did was provide more life support for their already dying console business. If they had developed a proper 3D Sonic game for the Saturn instead and got it right, I think that would have benefited them MUCH more than if Sonic Mania was on the Saturn. If they had done that latter, Mania still would've been the great game that it is now, but it wouldn't have been received with nearly the amount of praise and acclaim. In fact, it might have been viewed as a disappointment because Sega opted to play it safe and make another 2D game instead of shooting back with their own "Sonic 64" like game.