Q: Why The Sega Saturn Never Really Took Off In The West

A: Because this ad, and this console, never appeared outside Japan. Many people blame the Dreamcast for Sega's exit from the console market, but that's a harsh point for both the console and the company. Really, it was the Saturn that marked the beginning of the end.

The market share the Saturn ceded to Nintendo and Sony, and the money blown on developing such a complicated system, is what really put Sega on the ropes.

But oh, how things could have been different. This ad is so damn effective it's making me want to go out and buy a Saturn right now. If I'd seen it in 1995, in that hot shade of white (a model only ever released in Japan), I may well have lost my shit entirely.

[via Magnetbeam]


    I'm pretty sure it was released in Australia.

      I think Luke is referring to this particular (white) console.
      I'm pretty sure we only had the black one in Australia.

      I'm pretty sure he never says 'the Saturn was not released in the west'... Rather, he says it didn't 'take off'... Two completely different propositions last time I checked...

    I think he means the white model in particular. We only got black in Australia.

      Actually, he means the poster itself, not the console...

        Well, both: "Because this ad, and this console, never appeared outside Japan."

    There is also the point that if I remember correctly many retailers didn't give care much about stocking the Saturn and it's software down here. . .

    Is it strange that when I first saw this article on the front page the first thing I thought was Segata Sanshiro?

      The Saturn and then the Dreamcast were handled by a separate company in Australia and not Sega directly IIRC, so the general Sega mismanagement of the systems was taken to comical extremes here. :(

      Saturn was initially pretty easy to get. I bought mine from Kmart and they stocked quite a few games right beside the PS1! Sadly as time moved on that shifted, Big W and Kmart started to stock just PS1 and moved away from the Saturn.

    I loved my Saturn! Story of Thor 2 was great, and nights was amazing for its time.

    The reason the Saturn never took off in the west is due to the fault of Bernard Stoller. End of story.

      Can you please elobrate on this. . . who is Bernard Stoller?

    From a developer's point of view, the failure was because of the complex hardware which implied a slowly developed SDK, which made games a bitch to develop for. On the plus side, emulators came out for every other system of that age, a decade ahead of the Saturn.

    "Why The Sega Saturn Never Really Took Off In The West" is not a question.

    It wasnt just the Saturn you had the Sega -CD and 32X that completly eroded any sucsess that the Mega-Drive had, then you had the Dreamcast that was cracked in its first year, and I mean proper cracked like not even modchipped or a custom firmware, you could literly just download a game and run it on an unmodded console.

    I think Saturn failed simply because, when you saw them side by side in the stores, PSX's games just looked better. The fact that it had better marketing and was presented as a console for "adults" was the decider.

    I always throught Sega just failed on some pretty simply things and that was colour! SImple I knwo but I always sntad by this in every PSX v Sega argument I ever had. I actually preferred the Saturn due to WorldWideSoccer, Nights, Virtua Fighter, Last Bronx, Tomb Raider, and the legendary Daytona USA (I clocked 15.64 seconds on the Daytona lap), anyone remember Burning Rangers?

    I always thought PSX has the flashy colours, better looking explosions etc etc and Sony used this in their marketing well, something Sega just didn't seem to grasp. Humans like pretty things, shiny things, explosiony things.

    I actually imported the special edition Nights controller with the analogue stick in those colours in the picture above. Using that for Nights and ManxTT superbike was a lot of fun.

    I remember being at the Epcot centre in the Sega bit and they had a Saturn hooked up to the internets with email access and basic web browsing, Sega really were ahead of their time, some amazing ideas, but they plain sucked at making a system easy to develop for, something AM2 on seemed to know how to do and putting those idea into mass market practice. I miss Sega machines ;(

    It was the PS1. In
    The western markets the PS1 was dominating the Ging industry and even In the asian countrys the PS1 was performing better then the Sega.

    And then the games. Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, Oddworld, Gran Turismo, Dino Crisis. It was the Gaming Console for the people and to this day Sony still have the most entertaining games around.

    I was expecting to read "because of this ad, it's so simple and bland it had no effect on anyone"

    My saturn's cd drive died the other day. :(

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