Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Real Reason The Sega Saturn Completely Failed

While the Sega Saturn certainly yielded some classic games like NiGHTS Into Dreams, the console is widely regarded as one of gaming's biggest flops. Released in Japan in 1994, the console sold very poorly when it came to North America and was quickly replaced by the Sega Dreamcast a few years later. After all the love for the Sega Genesis, how did the Saturn bomb so spectacularly?

One word: PlayStation. To be more specific, Sega was so determined to compete with the original Sony PlayStation that the company ended up shooting itself in the foot. The original release date announced for the Sega Saturn was for the fall of 1995. However, in an attempt to beat PlayStation to market, Sony made the surprise announcement at May 1995's E3 that the console was already in stores and retailed for $399. This was a huge mistake for Sega.

Unfortunately for surprised consumers, only a limited number of North American stores got this first batch of Saturns. To make matters worse, Sony immediately announced the same day that the PlayStation would cost a full hundred dollars less than the Saturn. It was a major blow right out of the gate for the Saturn.

No Sonic, no deal

To make matters worse for the Sega Saturn, there just wasn't a good enough launch library to bolster sales or generate much interest in the console. As pointed out by Cnet's Don Reisenger, Sega had actually done too good of a job covering up the Saturn's true release date. Third party developers had no clue that the system was coming out much earlier than anticipated, so the system was severely lacking in diverse titles at launch.

Another factor that probably didn't help the Saturn's chances in North America was the lack of a new Sonic the Hedgehog game. That's not for lack of trying. However, the production on the next installment of the series, Sonic X-treme, was so troubled that the game was delayed numerous times before finally being cancelled. Instead, a port of the poorly-received Genesis title Sonic 3D Blast was released for the Saturn, which didn't exactly light up the sales charts. 

Some elements of Sonic X-treme were allegedly incorporated into a new project, Sonic Adventure. However, by the time that game was ready for release, the Saturn was well and truly dead, so Sonic Adventure instead made its debut on the Sega Dreamcast.