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Author Topic: Console Generation Wars - Nintendo vs SEGA  (Read 1078 times)
Retrospectives
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« on: June 29, 2018, 05:21:12 PM »

Anyone remember anything about this? In personal opinion, I do not remember anything about console war, and then I am pre-dating the Famicom so I was a youth when the SFC/SNES MD/Genesis was released. Most in American YouTuber I watch sometime they mention this as it was some type of "holy war" between SEGA and Nintendo, but in reality, was it really that intense?

As for market shares and as for companies, Nintendo, SEGA, NEC fought for the console market of course was a rivalry between them on a company level. But as a youth I cannot remember anything regarding the "intense console bit wars" the American YouTubers are talking about.

Anyone want to share their experiences? In Japan All people had Famicom. All. PCE got really popular, even though there was of course SEGA MARK III (Precursor of Master System), and earlier SG-Models that was released around FC.

In fact, the 16-bit "wars", was not even a "war" here in Japan...Not even a game. SFC dominated the market with almost 20 millions in JPN only while MD/Genesis total sale was around 30 million globally.

Was there really any "intense" debate about how good or bad either of these system was, or is it just very very extraggerated? Because that is my initial feeling, that someone had a friend who had this or that console but the rest had Nintendo. Because that was situation in Japan. Everyone had Nintendo and some people had PCE or MD, but compared to that, everyone else had Nintendo consoles.
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2018, 10:38:13 PM »

Yeah I read somewhere that there were more households with Famicoms than without in Japan at some point. Hudson and NEC beat Sega with their PC Engine, but they were only ever number 2 after Nintendo in the late 8-bit era. Megadrive didn't get that far in Japan as I understand it and while PC Engine could still compete in the 16-bit era (despite being an 8-bit system its faster than both the Super Famicom and the Megadrive) it could never get near the Super Famicom.

Here in Sweden the war between Nintendo and Sega was noticeable though. During the Famicom/NES days, almost everyone had a NES just like in Japan, and PC Engine never even got here. I remember a friend having a gaming system called a "Sega" (first time I heard that name) but I never got to play it. Almost all other friends had a NES or nothing (most had a NES though).

When the Super Nintendo came out though, it was not at all as popular as the NES. Many of my friends was jealous that I had a more powerful version of the NES but their parents wouldn't buy them one. I had some friends with a SNES but most still had their NES meaning my town was still very Nintendo dominated. Nowdays I meet a lot of Sega people though, meaning they grew up with Megadrive and Sonic (and are too young for NES), so I guess Nintendo and Sega was almost 50-50 in Sweden during this time. And considering the Megadrive beating the SNES in Europe, Sega was definitely powerful here.
Gaming magazines however was mostly dedicated to Nintendo however so I still think SNES was a bit stronger in Sweden at least. But there where often talk about the war in these magazines, so to answer the question: Yes the war was noticeable in Sweden when I grew up, although Nintendo probably had the upper hand until Playstation came out.

In USA, Sega was apparently a serious threat for both Nintendo and Turbo Grafx 16.
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Retrospectives
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2018, 08:36:46 AM »

Yeah, which makes me think that it was mainly an American thing whereas SEGA posed the more serious threat when it came to actual consumers due to probably aggressive and direct marketing more geared towards American younger kids/youth and not really children, which probably was one of reason they did so well.

Of course, Europe was divided market, especially the UK I suppose the NES was not as popular as in SCN (Scandinavia) or similar, but still that is my impression that Nintendo was largely more popular in general in Europe when it came to console, while many Europeans already played game on their computer, while in Japan after the success of Famicom, there was little to no space for anything else than the next version (SFC) to exist.

Officially SEGA sold better than Nintendo in Korea though. But was by far beaten by the flood of unlicensed Famiclones and the like, which came en masse, so overall I guess we can call it a tie when it come to Korea although SEGA initially held the stronger grip, and official sales were of course in favor to SEGA.

Taiwan and HK I am almost certain the licensed FC were the biggest one among officially licensed consoles. Even so SFC. I hardly came across anything of interest in TW/HK when it came to official things that were not Nintendo. Unlicensed things yes. Especially in TW, but that is another story I suppose.

Regarding AUS I have no clue. Absolutely no idea.

Post Merge: July 01, 2018, 07:52:08 PM
Is there really nobody that has any opinion about this? L_E_T? How was situation of UK? Famiac, I know you have vacation but was there actually holy war in USA when it came to SEGA against Nintendo?  Cry
« Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 07:52:08 PM by Retrospectives » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2018, 09:27:25 PM »

 
 
 
 
Great topic!  I'll try and keep it clear and easy to follow Smiley

In short - we basically had a healthy home computer market before the consoles came along (The Amstrad, Sinclair, and BBC Micro computers are all British grown CMIM).

Loved my ZX Spectrum and quite a few friends had one so that was also nice.  The games were never as good visually as the C64 or Amstrad, but they were cheap.

SEGA were in the UK market quite early - the Sega Master System mk1 launched year years before the mk2 - and both of those were well before the NES.

The Master System was popular and in my school the first wide video game frenzy began with SEGA.  The NES came along at the right time and was marketed much better.

After the NES arrived I don't remember anyone buying a Master System if they didn't yet have a console.  Then the MegaDrive hit not long after and cleaned up.  It was quite a long time after that it seemed that the SNES came but it was clear when it arrived that it was the better machine.  It had Street Fighter II for a start and that game was massive at school because we had all seen it in the arcades and at the swimming pool, the cinema etc .  We never had any of that 'blast processing' marketing business here by the way, it was pitched as an arcade at home and it really felt it.  The games were amazing even though we were playing it at 50hz unwittingly.  Flip side of that though was that no-one ever felt the SNES was slow.

A 50hz SNES and a 50hz MD don't feel worlds apart in speed.  Sonic obviously was fast but none of us felt the SNES was slow.  It just looked and sounded better.  Side note - jump to present day and I genuinely feel the MD is the better more capable machine.  But Nintendo made the right call on the graphics, it looked way better every timer it was presented and that definitely pushed it ahead in our minds.  There was a playground rumour that it was actually 17bit lol.  

There was a clear battle of course - but it felt like over SEGA scored the first goal, then Nintendo came and scored, followed by another SEGA goal and then a very expected Nintendo follow up.  The Saturn seemed to get a decent launch here but again people were waiting for the Nintendo equaliser - and PlayStation won before that arrived.

What kept the battle alive in the 16 bit days were the magazines.  It was the mascots.  As a SEGA fan, I felt like the MegaDrive had better games and especially when Sonic 2 was a big deal, so I kept hoping SEGA would come back with more masterpieces and that's what would make it a better machine.  It was not as heated as people say it was in the US.  I think SEGA of America had excellent sales and marketing teams, as well as very strong leadership.  I haven't read the console wars book but it's on my list.

Myself at that age was computer game mad and I remember the pre-NES SEGA adverts (commercials) on TV but they didn't stir anything in me - see for yourself:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYKgFCW-f78

This is my personal recollection - I was too young for Atari so we missed that first generation altogether, though I suppose the home computers were about on par.

Also, I never saw any import games or consoles - I was never aware of any Japanese or American differences until the internet arrived (not even the US SNES).

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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2018, 04:12:16 PM »

Yeah I also don't have any memory of "blast processing", not before internet. Apparently it's a made-up term for the faster DMA hardware in the Megadrive. DMA is basically hardware that copies large amount of data from one place to another much faster than the CPU would be able to do. Video game systems often use this to copy graphic data to the video RAM every frame so that it can display any changes on the TV. The Famicom has DMA hardware setup for copying sprite data every frame, so I guess that's sprite blast processing. Smiley

Although the Super Famicom is slower than the Megadrive and PC Engine in many ways (probably partly because of the scrapped Famicom backwards-compatibility plans which is why it uses an 8-bit external data bus), I guess it's not really noticeable by the consumers as games should be programmed to avoid slowdown as much as possible. It is however a limiting factor for the developers as they can't do too much fancy stuff. Some games do slow down really bad though.
It does have tons of other features though, so its generally the more powerful system of the 16-bit era. Especially when it comes to colours which is one reason the games looks better on it I think.
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Retrospectives
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« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2018, 10:58:10 AM »

L_E_T

Yeah, I imagine from what I read and see in YouTube and similar website that BBC Micro and Sinclair etc had a very strong and healthy computer market whereas the NES was first licensed to sell from Mattell? I know as well many pocket LCD games were branded under Grandstand.

Wow, yeah I have seen some ads from certain Sweden and American magazine and also in YouTube and certainly they had very aggressive advertisement I feel more aimed to "cooler kids" and youth. I know about one particular UK magazine I actually read in Japan as a youth, it had everything from Street Fighter II figures to many other thing. I think this was during PS1 era.

P

Yeah, my feeling is in Scandinavia regarding 16-bit era is that Nintendo had a very strong hold due to the popularity of NES, so in many way parents bought SNES maybe already had children who had a NES etc. I mean, as a parent I would probably do exact that. But yeah, I feel SEGA came strong into the 16-bit market too. I remember seeing some very "cocky" magazine from Sega Power (Name?) Whereas Sonic actually k*lls Mario.  Shocked Guess that would be a bit morbid over here, to say the least hahaha.
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