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

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.

Well, it had a stellar Japanese library but thanks to Stolar he prevented a bunch of those games from coming over. Then SOA gave one of the best games ever made and easily the best RPG ever made with Dragoon (tho the other one sucks so not a difficult feat) in the title with Saga a low print run. *bashes head into wall* Why I was so furious with Reggie late in Wii's life. No Earth Seeker. No Disaster Day of Crisis. No Zangeki no Reginleiv. No Ougon No Kizuna. And it seemed we would not get Xenoblade, The Last Story, or Pandora's Tower either. I felt Reggie had become the new Stolar. He also prevented ASH on DS from coming over because idiot focus groups said not enough guns... in an SRPG made by Mistwalker. UGH. At least 3 of those came over.

Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

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I assume that we're also factoring in Sega not making the mistake of failing to release proper new games in several key franchises that were popular in the west the previous generation, such as Sonic, Streets of Rage, and Ecco the Dolphin? If so, my opinion:

  • Saturn sells quite alot more units in North America and Europe at launch and throughout the gen, thanks to the better launch price, easier development, and proper games in popular Sega franchises from the previous generation
  • Sega possibly gets Final Fantasy 7 instead of Sony. Square picked Sony because FF7 couldn't run on the cartridge based N64 and because Saturn flopped in the west.
  • Tomb Raider sells much better on Saturn at launch, resulting in it being much more difficult for Sony to hat Tomb Raider 2 and future Tomb Raider games away from releasing on Sega platforms.
  • Capcom releases Resident Evil 1 on both Saturn and PS1 at launch (they chose PS1 as the lead platform in this universe because PS1 was much easier to develop for). Res 1 sells much better on Saturn as a result, and Res 2 releases day one on Saturn instead of a year late port on Dreamcast. As a result of higher Sega sales for Res 1 and 2, Code Veronica stays Res 3 as was originally planned, instead of Capcom taking Sony money to rename Nemesis Res 3.
  • Sega finishes the 5th generation in 2nd place due to N64's late launch and more difficult development relative to this easier to develop for alternate universe Saturn, though only beats N64 by a few million units. PS1 meanwhile sells probably 20m less units lifetime but is still 1st place by quite alot, thanks to the power of the Sony brand and Sony having more money to hat exclusivity deals with. 
  • Gen 5 is profitable for Sega instead of a loss, leaving them with plenty of money to support Dreamcast at launch.
  • Dreamcast releases at least a year later than it did in our universe (possibly 2 years later and the same year as Playstation 2), with higher specs and better 3rd party support, thanks to better 3rd party relations the previous gen on Saturn. Dreamcast survives the entire generation and finishes gen 6 in 2nd place, well ahead of both Gamecube and Xbox (if MS even decided to try and enter the console space as a 4th competitor in this alternate universe)

What happens post gen 6 in that alternate universe, I really can't say, too many variables by that point. Did Xbox enter the market in gen 6, and if so, how successful is 360 in gen 7? Does Sony still get arrogant and make the big PS3 mistakes on launch with pricing and difficult development? Does Nintendo still release Wii? Does Sega attempt motion controls to counter Wii like MS and Sony did in our universe? 

Last edited by shikamaru317 - on 16 February 2021

They still would have found a way to die out in the next generation, maybe through more Shenmue games.

Dream cast was the better machine compared with it competitors. It was ahead of its time. Ieth alternate history, we would have seen more games on dream cast and with that, maybe ps2 would have been a stronger machine graphically

Don’t see much changing in this scenario. The Saturn might have sold a bit better, but Sega was still the weakest of the three. They should have listened more to Tom Kalinske, but Japanese management was too bullheaded.

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It would have bolstered sega to the status we see MS sitting in currently. Sega would be behind Sony but closely going after the same market. MS would have invested into a partnership with sega and we would be exactly where we are currently.

Don't you actually need to be holding a ball before you can drop it?

If that were to happen this is how i'd see it play out:
- Playstation would've still dominate and would still continue the path it always did
- Nintendo would've still reject Microsoft's offer to take over and would still continue the path it always did

Main difference:
- Microsoft may have actually ended up buying Sega since it didn't bomb (and of course after being rejected by Nintendo), Halo would still exist but possibly games like Yakuza, Bayonetta could have been non-existent, and Sega/Microsoft probably wouldn't have ended up buying Atlus.

PS1 would have still won in sales and marketshare. The Saturn may not as flopped as much.

But assuming FFVII was released in the same way and exclusive. Not much would have changed.

Last edited by hinch - on 16 February 2021

Pricing the Saturn like the PS1 would have shifted Sega's financial problem from "our financials aren't good because our sales are bad" to "our financials aren't good because we are selling our hardware at a loss."

As someone else has already said, Sega's software decisions would have had the same problem in this timeline, because the Saturn had no signature Sonic game.

Sony moneyhatting important third party IPs wouldn't have changed by Sega going different about their own business, so it's hard to imagine any big difference in hardware sales for Sega's hypothetical better Saturn. Sega made a name for themselves by being the cool brand which is something that Sony took away from them just like many third party games.

The entire constellation of the 4th to 5th gen transition is that Sega was pushed into a situation where they weren't going to be perceived as the leader in anything anymore. They didn't have the coolest marketing, they didn't have the most or best third party games, they didn't have the best first party titles, they didn't have the best controller, they didn't have the best price on hardware or software. I mean, the Dreamcast corrected a lot of the things that went wrong with the Saturn, but the Dreamcast was ultimately in this same position of being at best in second place in any meaningful category.

Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

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