Video game consoles are sophisticated devices that do more than play games. Consumers can tell when a console will be a hit, and they tend to purchase consoles with the best specifications. For apparent reasons, we can dissect why the following consoles were unsuccessful with respect to sales.
Despite their unique features, these consoles were doomed to fail. Even strong marketing proved to be ineffective. Including a '90s console with online capabilities, a retro virtual reality console, and one that is also a cell phone, these are ten video game consoles that failed miserably.
10 Sega Dreamcast
Widely considered to be a console ahead of its time, the Sega Dreamcast released in 1998 and had extraordinary capabilities. For starters, it was one of the few consoles of the time that played games with a CD. Moreover, the console was the first to play games in 128-bit and the first to feature real-time online gameplay. It accomplished several groundbreaking achievements, but was ahead of its time and didn't appeal to the public. Did you know that the Sega Dreamcast allows you to surf the web and write e-mails?
9 Virtual Boy
The Virtual Boy was Nintendo's first leap to 3D, and it may have been successful if it weren't for its shortcomings. One flaw is that only a handful of games featured Nintendo's iconic characters. Without Nintendo's amiable characters like Mario and Yoshi, people became disinterested. Also, with a price tag of $175.95, it was too expensive to appeal to the public.
Interestingly enough, the Virtual Boy's games are playable through an emulator on VR devices. The clunkiness of the Virtual Boy is one of the reasons it failed miserably. Now, players can play the Virtual Boy's red display games without issue.
8 Atari Jaguar
From the widely popular arcade game company Atari came Atari Jaguar, a technically impressive console. With competitors like the cutting-edge Sega Genesis and the upcoming Super Nintendo, Atari Jaguar had plenty of obstacles to overcome. Contrary to popular belief, the Atari Jaguar was a 32-bit console and not 64-bit. It had a 64-bit bus to memory and a 32-bit processor. Despite this, it was marketed as a 64-bit console in a time where bits were more important than resolution or frame-rates. After the failure of the Jaguar, Atari stopped producing video game consoles.
Looking back, it's easy to see why Nokia gave the N-Gage the green light in an already crowded video game console market. The device is comparable to a smartphone for its voice calling feature and ability to play games. Whether you consider it to be a video game console or a smartphone, there's no doubt in our minds that the N-Gage was a revolutionary device that was ahead of its time. Smartphones didn't become mainstream until years later, which could be why the Nokia N-Gage was destined to fail.
6 Philips CD-i
As detailed by techtimes.com, " the CD-i's ability to do a whole bunch of different stuff—like browse the internet thanks to a modem folks could buy at an additional cost that was released late into the device's lifecycle—put it far and away ahead of its time." It may have been a mistake to market the system as an entertainment device and not a video game console since its sales were lackluster. Its games had Nintendo characters such as Mario and Zelda. One game titled Hotel Mario could have been a hit if the console didn't fail miserably.
5 Neo Geo CD
Without a directional pad, the Neo Geo CD's controller was inferior to other consoles of the time. The games on the Neo Geo CD were not terrible, but a string of mediocre titles held the console from reaching its potential. Its cartridge counterpart is seen by many as superior to the Neo Geo CD because of faster loading times. The Neo Geo CD sold a mere 570,000 units worldwide. Suffice to say, the Neo Geo CD was not the hit that the SNK Corporation was longing for.
The Ouya is one of the more recent consoles contained in this list. Released in 2013, Ouya was canceled soon after its launch for a plethora of reasons. One of the most significant reasons is that it had only a few original games. Without outstanding games to keep players engaged in a competitive video game market, the Ouya was destined to fail. Also, with a bulky and awkwardly shaped controller, it couldn't appeal to players. With fierce competitors like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, there wasn't a place for Ouya in the market.
Not to be confused with the Nintendo 64, the 64 DD was a peripheral that transformed the Nintendo 64 into a disk drive console. Some great ideas went into the 64DD, but ultimately it was a catastrophic failure. The 64DD could play limited online, which was practically unheard of at the time. This bold and ambitious peripheral could have been a commercial success, but it was ahead of its time, and its ideas weren't full-fledged. Its online was part of a subscription service that most gamers were reluctant to pay.
2 Wii U
Surely, a console with games such as Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild couldn't be a failure. Given its low sales compared to its predecessor, the Nintendo Wii, the Nintendo Wii U was an utter failure. It came with a bulky controller that didn't appeal to consumers. Also, it's power was minimal compared to its competition. With 13.5 million units sold, it pales in comparison to the Nintendo Wii's over 100 million units sold. The console barely improved on the Nintendo Wii, failing to differentiate itself and be a relevant video game console.
1 Sega Saturn
When the Sega Saturn released, it was a highly anticipated console that was planned to compete with the Sony PlayStation. It released on November 22, 1994, and was a 32-bit video game console that succeeded the Sega Genesis. Given the explosive popularity of the Sega Genesis, fans had high hopes for this console. According to cnet.com, "through poor management and even worse games, the Saturn solidified Sega as the next company to join the pantheon of also-rans."