The video game industry has given us a lot of consoles throughout the years, and despite nowadays is really weird to see a console become a commercial failure, in the past there were so many consoles that tried to be something incredible but they died while trying.
Consumers and gamers automatically know when a console is going to be a hit and they also know when something is going to be a total flop. We are going to travel throughout the years and rank the 10 consoles that failed considerably so grab something to eat and drink because we are going to start now.
10. Sega Dreamcast – 1998
It is hard to think that the Sega Dreamcast was a flop when it is considered a console way too ahead of its time, but sadly, it was a flop. The Sega Dreamcast was one of the first consoles that played games with a CD, had amazing capabilities, and was the first one to feature online gameplay.
The reason why it wasn’t as accepted and popular as the others was because it was way too ahead of its time; people didn’t understand the features and was the last Sega console ever released until now. Definitely, a misunderstood masterpiece.
9. Atari Lynx – 1989
The Atari Lynx, surprisingly, had diehard fans, but they can´t deny that this hand-held console was a flop since it was released.
The Atari Lynx faced several challenges that contributed to its impending doom: it was expensive; it retailed at $179.95 (about $420 in 2023), it was bulky, it lacked quality games, and, most importantly, its direct competitor was the Nintendo’s Game Boy which had more quality games and a longer battery life.
Also, its marketing was extremely weak and failed to convey its capabilities, and all these factors made this console a total failure.
8. Atari Jaguar – 1993
The Atari Jaguar, released back in 1993, struggled a lot to various factors; its complex hardware made game development extremely challenging even for experts, limited third-party support and lack of a strong and good game library limited its appeal to consumers and gamers.
A high price tag ($250 back in the day), and poor marketing were two of the main reasons why the Atari Jaguar wasn’t a success. Also, the release of competing consoles from both Sega and Sony were critical for the Atari Jaguar because they were far better than this console. These issues led to its failure and discontinuation.
7. N-Cage – 2003
The Nokia N-Cage was a weird thing, but it is easy to see why this project was approved by Nokia back in the day. It looked like a smartphone for video games, to be fair, it was originally made to serve as a phone and to play games at the same time
But everything fell down due to its lack of good titles, limited support from developers, bad graphics, and the multiplayer experience required players to remove the battery. What a crazy thing, right? Also, the emergence of gaming-focused cellphones at the time contributed to the failure of the N-Cage.
6. Wii U – 2012
Sure, it is hard to see the Wii U as a flop when you have games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8, and Super Mario 3D World. But remember that it sold far less than the Nintendo Wii, that can be considered as an utter failure.
Sure, its features are great but it sold less than the previous console, the game library was good but limited, the third-party support was slow, and the hardware wasn’t as good as the other consoles. The GamePad controller was innovative, but it was enough to save the Wii U from failure.
5. Virtual Boy – 1995
The Virtual Boy was Nintendo’s first attempt at bringing virtual reality to the gaming world, and despite being a really good idea, it failed for several reasons. With a price tag of $175.95, it was too expensive for the public back in the day, the monochromatic red graphics caused true discomfort which limited gaming sessions.
Like the Dreamcast, it was ahead of its time, but sadly the technology couldn’t meet players’ expectations, leading to its failure and discontinuation. But the good thing is that the Virtual Boy’s games can be played through an emulator on VR devices.
4. Ouya – 2013
The most recent video game console on the list. This Android-based console faced several challenges contributing to its failure despite its initial Kickstarter success.
Initially, it struggled to attract a strong developer resulting in a lack of good games, the hardware limitations affected the games, the controller was awkward, and the competition itself made the Ouya less appealing than before. Furthermore, just like the others, the poor marketing presence also affected the console; only 200.000 consoles were sold and later, in 2017, Ouya was discontinued.
As sad as it sounds, Ouya was destined to fail.
3. 3DO Interactive Multiplayer – 1993
The 3D0 Interactive Multiplayer wasn’t a console per se, it was actually a set of specifications combined… It is hard to explain.
It was manufactured by Panasonic and later by Sanyo and Goldstar (now LG) and it was highly promoted by gaming magazines and even by Time Magazine, but the lack of strong first-party games, exorbitant price tag, and over-saturated console market and that the PlayStation and Sega Saturn offered better games were some of the reasons why this console failed so quickly
Also, the games the 3D0 released were extremely terrible.
2. Atari 5200 – 1982
Yeah, Atari gave us the Atari 2600 which was great, it was a success when it was released, but its follow-up was a total disaster.
The Atari 5200, released in 1982, promised us good graphics and better controller, and yeah, the graphics were a little bit better, but the game library consisted of updated versions of the same titles, the controller lacked of durability, stiff competitors, and also the video game crash of 1983 also impacted negatively on the 5200’s sales; this was just bad luck.
All of these things led to this console’s commercial failure and its discontinuations two years later in 1984.
- Phillips CD-i – 1990
The Compact Disk-Interactive, or CD-i, is often considered the worst video game console of all time. Lack of extensive game library, confusing identity, awkwardly designed controller, and it attempt to be a multimedia platform instead a gaming system; the CD-i, was destined to fail. Even Bill Gates admitted being worried about this console.
The weird thing is that the CD-i, lasted for 8 years before being discontinued; that was a lot of time for a console like this one. Oh, almost forgot: it was initially priced around $1000 (around $2150 in 2023), too much money.