N64 x PS1 Sales War in America

I jumped into playstation early. I had wipeout, and battle arena Toshinden, and ridge racer, and espn X games to keep me busy for awhile.

I bought it all with fruits from my first job. Felt good!

It really wasn't until resident evil came out that playstation had its first real hit, and I had lots of questions from my friends about it at school.

That game changed a lot of momentum and isn't really brought up in these conversations.

Playstation was treading 3do territory (at least in mindshare) before then.

I think this era and the DS have given me some of my fondest times in gaming.
 
By reviewing the facts, what do you think happened to the N64 lose strength after a beautiful start and can't compete with the PS1 ?
N64 launched with Mario and PSX launched with this really shitty ESPN street luge/inline skating game. Once shit like Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Gran Turismo, Tekken, etc started coming out it was a wrap for Nintendo. You were blowing people's heads up on a PSX and Nintendo was just kiddy stuff. For my group of friends, the no blood in the SNES Mortal Kombat was a sore spotty but once the PSX went insane violence, everyone kinda abandoned Nintendo and it was a kiddy system.

My stepmom didn't know crap about video games but when she asked me what game system I wanted and I said N64, she was like, "umm, are you sure you don't want a Playstation?" It's a wrap for any system when even your stepmom thinks it's crap and that you're making a stupid choice for wanting it.
 
I think SNES won.

If the 32x didn't damage it enough, the Genesis was outright killed once Saturn hit the market in 1995. It still saw some games but by 1996 it was pretty much dead.

Nintendo had nothing new yet, and they kept supporting the SNES with Yoshi, KI (late 1995), Mario RPG, DKC3 and a few other rather big games until into 1997.

So the SNES must've sold far more than the Genesis from 1995 onward. I think, if it was 50/50 before that, the SNES must've won in the end.
 
I think SNES won.

Genesis was outright killed once Saturn hit the market in 1995. It still saw some games but by 1996 it was pretty much dead.

Nintendo had nothing new yet, and they kept supporting the SNES with Yoshi, KI (late 1995), Mario RPG, DKC3 and a few other rather big games until into 1997.

So the SNES must've sold far more than the Genesis from 1995 onward. I think, if it was 50/50 before that, the SNES must've won in the end.
In the USA, while the SNES did sell more during those years, the Genesis's rate-of-decline curve is eerily consistent with the SNES.

That is, the SNES + Genesis weren't significantly far apart saleswise in any given year post-1994.
 
There's a good reason why---given the inherent margin of error in old, ~1992-era sellthrough data, it's EXTREMELY hard to determine which 16-bit console actually won in the USA.

The Genesis / SNES were just too close sales-wise.


According to the sell-through numbers I have (1990-2000):

1) SNES > Genesis in Japan by a significant margin

2) SNES > Genesis in Europe, but only barely (Sega dominated in certain countries)

3) SNES ? Genesis in the USA....the sales are too close to definitively consider one console "better" outside of the margin of error
Pretty sure Megadrive outsold SNES in Europe.

We should petition NoA and SoA for their internal figures, I'm sure they have this data, this is not the dark ages, I would think they know every system sold in the US and shipped.
 
Yeah do you know anything about this? I'd never even heard of 'licenced' SNES consoles.
I don't; I don't think I've heard of "licensed" SNES consoles either. There are lots of licensed Genesis clones, but SNES? As far as I know there never have been any...

There's a good reason why---given the inherent margin of error in old, ~1992-era sellthrough data, it's EXTREMELY hard to determine which 16-bit console actually won in the USA.

The Genesis / SNES were just too close sales-wise.


According to the sell-through numbers I have (1990-2000):

1) SNES > Genesis in Japan by a significant margin

2) SNES > Genesis in Europe, but only barely (Sega dominated in certain countries)

3) SNES ? Genesis in the USA....the sales are too close to definitively consider one console "better" outside of the margin of error
Everything I've ever heard says that Sega won in Europe...
 
Here's the heaviest part of the N64/PSX war in the United States; from N64 launch onward :

GRAY=PSX
GREEN=N64
BLACK=SAT
(Click to make bigger)
Source NPD
Given that you put the Dreamcast on that, what about PS2? How was it selling? It'd be interesting to compare it to DC. I'm sure that the sales decline all of those systems show in 2001 is because of PS2 sales, but exactly how high were those PS2 sales?
 
It is hard to say for sure, though, given how sketchy European numbers are. I will admit that.
In the sell-through data that I have, SNES > Genesis in Europe.

I have found over the years that there is tons of misinformation when it comes to 16-bit sales reporting. Very frequently, inaccurate estimates / rumors will get taken as facts, shipped data gets mistaken as sell-through data, etc.

And there's always the fundamental issue of 20 year old data...the standards of retail tracking and estimate algorithms weren't sufficiently established, making large variances in data common. Even NPD won't guarantee USA video game sales accuracy pre-1996, and they've been tracking the video game sector since the 1980s.

Exactly pinpointing the true nature of USA / European / Japanese SNES / Genesis sales comparison is inherently difficult. Just because the sellthrough numbers I have seem to point at a European SNES advantage, doesn't mean my claims 100% represent the reality of the situation.
 
Given that you put the Dreamcast on that, what about PS2? How was it selling? It'd be interesting to compare it to DC. I'm sure that the sales decline all of those systems show in 2001 is because of PS2 sales, but exactly how high were those PS2 sales?
If you just took the PS2 sales from December 01 and December 02 in the US it'd put it ahead of the Dreamcast lifetime sales in the US. In those two months the PS2 sold 4.6m.
 
I'd love to see 8bit era sales data.
Yeah I would too but to do that (like in monthly format) we'd have to find NPD TRST data, back then it was tracked w toy sales (in the 80s).THe NPD seems to be ashamed of their data bf '95 as it wasnt so accurate, biased towards Sega (no Wal-mart).

It would need to be played with too for accuracy (which is like my love).

I've requested info on archived data and they seem to be so reluctant to make it available only universites seem to gain access to it and for reports/market analyses, outside that they are silent (from my experience).

I've contacted the professors who made a deal w the NPD and are sitting on the data but they've signed legal contracts to keep said data amongst themselves...it's ridiculous!

The NPD's reputation is at stake here so they keep it hidden.

If you are writing your dissertation or doing a market analyses you can request from the NPD (probaly) any data you want but you must be legit and prob involved in university studies.

...which I don't see why none of us hasnt attempted yet,as long as vidgames have been around and as long as there's been interest in the sales (over a decade now of NPD reporting just on the GAF)...
 
In the sell-through data that I have, SNES > Genesis in Europe.

I have found over the years that there is tons of misinformation when it comes to 16-bit sales reporting. Very frequently, inaccurate estimates / rumors will get taken as facts, shipped data gets mistaken as sell-through data, etc.

And there's always the fundamental issue of 20 year old data...the standards of retail tracking and estimate algorithms weren't sufficiently established, making large variances in data common. Even NPD won't guarantee USA video game sales accuracy pre-1996, and they've been tracking the video game sector since the 1980s.

Exactly pinpointing the true nature of USA / European / Japanese SNES / Genesis sales comparison is inherently difficult. Just because the sellthrough numbers I have seem to point at a European SNES advantage, doesn't mean my claims 100% represent the reality of the situation.
Yes/true but I believe it's possible. Check this out from NoA Financial Report. SNES sales, US only, not from NPD but NoA's own internals:


If you zoom in you can count the pixels and estimate sales (which I did/spent a lot of time BTW), here's what it looks like:

*each pixel is equal to 0.42m*

SNES LTD:
1991: 1.25m-1.47m
1992: 5.8m
1993: 9.4m-9.6m

by comparison:
N64 LTD:
1996: 1.7m-2.1m
1997: 7.3m
1998: 11.5m

(Notice N64 figures are higher than NPD figures)

...well that was fun :D
 
Yeah I would too but to do that (like in monthly format) we'd have to find NPD TRST data, back then it was tracked w toy sales (in the 80s).THe NPD seems to be ashamed of their data bf '95 as it wasnt so accurate, biased towards Sega (no Wal-mart).

It would need to be played with too for accuracy (which is like my love).

I've requested info on archived data and they seem to be so reluctant to make it available only universites seem to gain access to it and for reports/market analyses, outside that they are silent (from my experience).

I've contacted the professors who made a deal w the NPD and are sitting on the data but they've signed legal contracts to keep said data amongst themselves...it's ridiculous!

The NPD's reputation is at stake here so they keep it hidden.

If you are writing your dissertation or doing a market analyses you can request from the NPD (probaly) any data you want but you must be legit and prob involved in university studies.

...which I don't see why none of us hasnt attempted yet,as long as vidgames have been around and as long as there's been interest in the sales (over a decade now of NPD reporting just on the GAF)...
Incorrect.

Nowadays, NPD tends to refuse "academic" requests, even if you're an official representative from a university or you are an academic professor.

Once in a while they may make exceptions (probably your experience with professors), but it certainly isn't the norm.

Source: An NPD representative I keep in contact with mentioned it in passing during one of our conversations. :p
 
Incorrect.

Nowadays, NPD tends to refuse "academic" requests, even if you're an official representative from a university or you are an academic professor.

Once in a while they may make exceptions (probably your experience with professors), but it certainly isn't the norm.

Source: An NPD representative I keep in contact with mentioned it in passing during one of our conversations. :p
I see.
Could you tell him/her they are the only source of 16-bit (and 8-bit) American sales data, and about how there is this (growing) interest in the figures from those early days...what would it take to access their archived data?
 
Remember that Goldeneye 64 was the best selling game in the US...the year after it launched. Incredible feat.
Yes, this is the monthly chart run for Goldeneye 1998:
3, 3, 2, 6, 6, 6, 7, 5, 4, 3, 5, 4

Here is the top 20 for dec-98 (consoles only).
Code:
1   1  Zelda: Ocarina of Time       Nintendo   N64
2   -  Star Wars: Rogue Squadron    Nintendo   N64
3   3  Crash Bandicoot: Warped      Sony       PS
4   5  Goldeneye 007                Nintendo   N64
5   2  WCW/NWO Revenge              THQ        N64
6   6  Tomb Raider 3                Eidos      PS
7   4  Metal Gear Solid             Konami     PS
8   -  Turok 2: Seeds of Evil       Acclaim    N64
9   9  Twisted Metal 3              989        PS
10  8  NASCAR '99                   EA         PS
11  12 Crash Bandicoot 2            Sony       PS
12  10 Madden '99                   EA         PS
13  -  A Bug's Life                 Sony       PS
14  -  Rugrats                      THQ        PS
15  -  Knockout Kings               EA         PS
16  20 Gran Turismo                 Sony       PS
17  11 NFL Gameday '99              989        PS
18  -  Frogger                      Hasbro     PS
19  19 Mario Kart 64                Nintendo   N64
20  -  Spyro the Dragon             Sony       PS
 
I lived through this short lived war:

N64 had a short string of hits and then nothing for months...

Meanwhile playstation had hit after hit after hit and almost half the price for each game compared to N64 cartridges.

And FF7 was a big deal. Even people that never played RPG's before bought in.

Crash, Spyro, Twisted Metal, Wipeout XL, Metal Gear Solid, Tomb Raider, Tekken... all at the height of their popularity and all were new (they seem kind of tired today)

Sony was on fire during this time.

Also a lot of people learned through FF7 that they hated random battles and quit early.
The linearity in the beginning of that game meant they never left Midgard and never saw the game open up.

I was there I remember the BILLBOARDS, The Pepsi ads, The Spice Girls shout outs, FF 7 was HUGE, it was pop culture.
 
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I had both consoles PS1 and N64. Didn't care for FF7 or MGS. Played a lot more res evil games, and silent hill. I got a N46, then I was like, man there are like no rpgs for N64. Though I had Zelda, Turok2, and a lot of other games, there was like no good rpgs for N64. Thats when I got a PS1, for legend of legaia, jade cocoon, thousand arms, parasite eve and lunar.
 
I owned the PS1 the entire generation, but I would buy an N64 on Black Friday. Rent all the games I wanted to play, then return the system after Christmas telling them that it was a X-mas gift I didn't want. Did that for 4 years in a row and was able to play/complete all the N64 games that were good.
I swapped with a friend. Let him borrow my PSX w/FF7 until he beat it, and he lent me N64 + Mario 64, Starfox, and Goldeneye.

That was enough to hold me over until near the end of the generation .
 
I was just a Nintendo guy for the longest time as many of us older gamers were, I reconnected with my cousin who was having a party (which turned out to be mostly older people) I hadn't seen him for a couple years and he had the Playstation, he had Crash Bandicoot and Twisted Metal 2, it must have been around 1996. I instantly took to both games and played Twisted Metal 2 most of the weekend, after his wife's guests left the first night we ended up getting drunk and the night finished with him doing drunk Crash Bandicoot impressions. For the time the games really looked amazing vs what I had played on the N64, it felt like a step up graphically speaking, I was hooked and ended up getting a Playstation later that year for Christmas.

Its actually pretty impressive how many great games would come out and really hooked me during that era, Final Fantasy VII, Star Ocean: The Second Story, Gran Turismo/ Gran Turismo 2, the Resident Evil series, Medal of Honor. Looking back at it I think it was just the approach they took that games didn't have to be aimed just at kids, an approach that crept up subtly without me even realizing the trend at the time. I still love Nintendo and most recently my Switch but where would we be without the diversity of multiple consoles and the different types of games each console brings... I tend to lean more towards Playstation and Nintendo vs Microsoft but own all 3 current gen consoles. Each company has their own strengths and I enjoy each brand for what they do best.
 
I remember working in retail at the time (K Mart) here in Australia. I was in charge of the electronics department and clearly remember during 96'-97' that we couldn't give away N64 games, yet PS1 memory cards sold like crazy, and FF7 sold an astonishing amount!
There were people coming in buying FF7 that had no idea what an RPG was, but purchased cause it was THE game to own. Amazing times they were... Funny thing is, I couldn't sell a copy of Symphony of the Night, no matter how hard I tried!
As for consoles, I can't recall selling many N64's, yet PS1's we couldn't keep in stock. They marketed the console beautifully, and had the library of games to back it up. Funny, times haven't changed much...
 
Anybody who thinks Crash Bandicoot is better than Mario is honestly deluding themselves. Wait, what year is it?
I think Crash Bandicoot and Spyro were better.

Come at me bro.

I remember working in retail at the time (K Mart) here in Australia. I was in charge of the electronics department and clearly remember during 96'-97' that we couldn't give away N64 games, yet PS1 memory cards sold like crazy, and FF7 sold an astonishing amount!
I remember not being able to buy a memory card for PS1 or PS2 in my local Electronics Boutique in England for nearly 3 months after Christmas. Baring in mind, I got both these consoles originally, for Christmas.

What I hated about the UK games market is that they took too many 'safe bets' so some branches of game retailers in the UK didn't even get copies of games like King's Field, Symphony of the Night, Tomba or many more.

I remember our local EB, got one copy of SOTN for their whole store and when I went to buy Klonoa, they sold all their copies in less than a week and were not getting any more in stock.
 
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IDK there but, at least in Spain, Nintendo 64 was far more cheaper than Playstation or Saturn in his initial launch.

N64 was launched at ~320€ (adjusting the prices to 2018) while Playstation was launched at ~590€ and Saturn was launched at ~790€ (bundled wth Virtua Fighter).

Of course carts were far more expensive and the "cheap line" of Nintendo 64 (Player's Choice) was ridiculous compared to the amount of dirty cheap Platinum games.
 
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