Sega Saturn Jul 20, 2014 16:01:58 GMT
Post by The Laird on Jul 20, 2014 16:01:58 GMT
The Sega Saturn is a 32-bit fifth-generation video game console developed by Sega and released on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America and July 8, 1995 in Europe as the successor to the successful Sega Genesis. At the center of the Saturn is a dual-CPU architecture and a total of eight processors. Its games are in CD-ROM format, and its game library contains a number of arcade ports as well as original titles.
Development of the Saturn began in 1992, the same year Sega's groundbreaking 3D Model 1 arcade hardware debuted. The system adopted parallel processors before the end of 1993, and was designed around a new CPU specially commissioned by Sega from Japanese electronics company Hitachi. When Sega learned the full capabilities of the forthcoming Sony PlayStation console in early 1994, the company responded by incorporating an additional video display processor into the Saturn's design. Successful on launch in Japan due to the popularity of a port of the arcade game Virtua Fighter, the system debuted in the United States in a surprise launch four months before its scheduled release date, but failed to sell in large numbers. After the launch, Sega's upper management structure changed with the departures of chairman David Rosen and Sega of Japan CEO Hayao Nakayama from their roles in the American division, and Sega of America CEO Tom Kalinske from the company altogether. This led to the additions of Shoichiro Irimajiri and Bernie Stolar to Sega of America, who guided the Saturn to its discontinuation in 1998 in North America, three years after its release. Although the system is remembered for several well-regarded games, including Nights into Dreams..., the Panzer Dragoon series, and the Virtua Fighter series, the Saturn's complex system architecture resulted in the console receiving limited third-party support, which inhibited commercial success. The failure of Sega's development teams to create a game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, known in development as Sonic X-treme, has also been attributed as a factor in the console's poor performance.
After the launch of the Nintendo 64 by Nintendo in late 1996, the Saturn began losing market share rapidly in the United States, and company management began to publicly distance itself from the system. By March 1998 the Saturn had sold 9.5 million units worldwide, significantly fewer than the sales of its biggest rival, the PlayStation. The Saturn's installed base reached over 5 million units in Japan, over 2 million units in the United States, and over 970,000 units in Western Europe. It is considered a commercial failure, contributing heavily to the loss of US$309 million for Sega by 1998, and another $450 million during 1998. Reception to the Saturn is mixed based on the console's game library and complex internal hardware. Sega's management has also been criticized for its decision-making during the system's development and cancellation.
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