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Sega Genesis and NEC TurboGrafX were around even until Sonic came out.

Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
(In the US, forgot to put that in the title) It's something to think about, how different would the industry be if Sonic the Hedgehog 1 didn't get announced and released especially in regards to Segas role? At the time NEC Home Electronics and Sega Enterprises were pretty close, and while the announcement of Sonic the Hedgehog increased the gap they were still close. But then the game released, resulting in Turbo sales falling off a cliff, and NEC as consequence stopped reporting numbers. Before that, they were selling on the strength of games like Bonks Adventure, TV sports football, and Legendary Axe ! and II, they also had the CD-ROM addon ahead of Sega, but no one was going to pay $400 for it.

Orange Gazette April 21st, 1990

Introducing Bonk. Expected to be one of the best selling games ever which is funny in hindsight.

May have been possible if the TurboGrafX didn't end up coming to a complete halt, it did sell well at first and was bundled with the deck, but that ended once the company collapsed after Sonic..

Belleville News May 12th 1990

So here we have the following sales standings:

  • Sega Genesis 400,000 units
  • NEC TurboGrafx-16 300,000 units

Pretty even, and this trend would continue until the end of the year, both consoles were slow burners that were just starting to pickup.

I know some of you are noticing the glaring Giraffe in the room that is NEC offering an optional $400 CD attachment, but some retailers did give you a $100 rebate so you could get it for $300 after rebate. Which is still too much iom, especially with the lineup they had back then, but both those issues are why the CD didn't take off in the US like it did in Japan.


Province Jan 30th, 1991

Sonic is unveiled at CES and would be covered by the press for months. This is when Genesis sales start picking up, but not really sprinting yet.


Lexington Herald April 25th 1991

Now our standings have updated and not long before Sonics launch:

  • Sega Genesis 1.2 million units
  • NEC TurbografX-16 750,000 units

The Sonic effect was already taking hold but the two weren't too far apart yet still. Bonks Revenge the sequel to Bonk. was basically the same game to the reviewers (and even uses the same boss music as the first game) and only provided a small uptick at best, the libraries were still not good enough for either console for many analysts, who still had not seen a compelling reason for many consumers to migrate to 16-bit yet.


Record Sun October 28th 1991

So we are post-Sonic release and the results have been terrible for NEC. We also have saw the launch of the Super Nintendo in the US starting strong. The standings are the following:

  • Sega Genesis 2.3 million units
  • NEC TurbografX-16 750,000 units reported with no updates
  • Nintendo Super Nintendo 500,000 units
Nintendo in a few months sold almost a years worth of Turbo and Genesis sales, NEC has started pulling back support, Sega has managed to jump from 1.2 million earlier in the year to 2.3 million now, and the holiday season hasn't even begun yet.


Let's see where everyone is in January 1992 post holiday sales.

San Francisco Examiner Jan 10th 1992

Sega dominated the US gaming industry. Poor NEC is fading into irrelevance.


So for all the Sonic fans and haters out there, Sonic The Hedgehog was not only important to making Sega a serious competitor, which led to the rise of the Sega Genesis as the new dominant console in the US (Until 1996), but it was also instrumental in increasing the amount and speed at which the Genesis or Mega Drive sold.

Poor NEC was also jumped on by Sonic and poor Bonk was forgotten. Turbo sales basically evaporated due to Sonic, the Super Nintendo didn't help things either, but NEC was basically out the race before the anticipated holiday season in 1991.


<>


But I want to look at the libraries of both consoles before Sonic, so people will know why NEC was doing as well as they were before even the announcement of Sonic at CES started poisoning the companies prospects.

Major Sega titles before Sonic
  • Space Harrier II
  • Thunder Force II
  • Thunder Force II
  • Strider
  • John Madden Football
  • PGA Tour Gold
  • Castle of Illusion with Mickey Mouse
  • Michael Jackson's Moon Walker
  • Arnold Palmer Golf
  • Ghostbusters
  • Rambo III
  • Phantasy Star II
  • After Burner II
  • Revenge of Shinobi
  • Shadow Dancer Secret of Shinobi
  • MUSHA
  • Populous

Major NEC titles before Sonic
  • Bonks Adventure
  • Keith Courage
  • Street Fighter 1
  • Alien Crush
  • Legendary Axe 1 and 2
  • Klax
  • Space Harrier
  • Bloody Wolf
  • Bonks Revenge
  • Splatter House
  • Neutopia
  • JJ and Jeff
  • Super Star Soldier
  • R-Type
  • Bravoman
  • Devils Crush
  • Turbo Golf
  • TV Sports Football
  • Double Dungeons
  • Galaga 90
  • Blazing Lazers
  • China Warrior

Looking at the interests of the average American consumer of the time, these choices are pretty much a toss, it comes down to the presentation. I will say Sega had a sports advantage but it wasn't really driving sales (yet) at the time for the Genesis.

Things became more in Segas favor by a wide margin once Sonic the Hedgehog came out, that changed everything. Hate it or love it we would not have had the same Sega without it, they may have went in a totally different direction in its absence. Nintendo may not have reacted to Sega at all without that game, even their trajectory would have changed in some way. But in such a case NEC may have actually had a chance.
 
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Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
Yeah, but the PC Engine had basically zero presence in Europe, becoming less desirable from a developer perspective.
This was its fatal flaw, even if it managed to keep up better with Megadrive, it would have lost anyway.
I don't want to throw Europe under the bus, but US was the focus of consoles back then, or Japan. Turbo basically would have made up in Japan what Sega got in Europe, in a hypothetical situation where Sonic didn't exist, it would be on par with the competition without it. Europe gains would be beneficial, but not having them wouldn't really hurt NEC if they held on to the US by being competitive.
 
I was young (6 years old in 1990), but I'd never heard of TurboGrafx until I started getting magazines in the late 90s. Did Sega have a lot better distribution in stores?
 

Patrick S.

Amiga Forever
I don't want to throw Europe under the bus, but US was the focus of consoles back then, or Japan. Turbo basically would have made up in Japan what Sega got in Europe, in a hypothetical situation where Sonic didn't exist, it would be on par with the competition without it. Europe gains would be beneficial, but not having them wouldn't really hurt NEC if they held on to the US by being competitive.
I think the first time I saw a console was when I was like 10 years old and I saw an NES hooked up to a TV and running Mario, in an electronics store in Spain.

Not a single one of my friends here in Germany had a console. We all had Commodore Amigas, and C64s and C128s before that.

I remember I saw Mario and thought: "hey, this looks kinda... shit!". The next time I saw a console was at the house of a friend, who had an SNES. When he told me the price of the copy of "Secret of Mana" he was playing, I nearly died from shock. Those games cost like four times the price of an Amiga game!

My first real console was a Sega Mega Drive, which I got because of Mortal Kombat 2 and Virtua Racing.
 
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Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
Turbografx 16/PC Engine wasn't big in NA.
Thought this was known?
That's not what the thread is about.

I was young (6 years old in 1990), but I'd never heard of TurboGrafx until I started getting magazines in the late 90s. Did Sega have a lot better distribution in stores?

NEC was primarily targeting busy metropolitan centers.

I think the first time I saw a console was when I was like 10 years old and I saw an NES hooked up to a TV and running Mario, in an electronics store in Spain.

Not a single one of my friends here in Germany had a console. We all had Commodore Amigas, and C64s and C128s before that.

I remember I saw Mario and thought: "hey, this looks kinda... shit!". The next time I saw a console was at the house of a friend, who had an SNES. When he told me the price of the copy of "Secret of Mana" he was playing, I nearly died from shock. Those games cost like four times the price of an Amiga game!

My first real console was a Sega Mega Drive, which I got because of Mortal Kombat 2 and Virtua Racing.

Yeah, Europe was Micro computer town outside the England/UK which was stilled owned by Micros buy consoles made further in-roads compared to other Europe countries back then.

Much later on Sega would do a better job, but it wouldn't be until Sony where we saw significant console adoption there with PS1
 

Patrick S.

Amiga Forever
it wouldn't be until Sony where we saw significant console adoption there with PS1
Yeah, same with me. If I remember correctly, I didn't even buy any other Mega Drive games other than the two I mentioned, because I didn't really care at all about consoles until the PS1 came around. The hype for Final Fantasy VII was what first got me interested in the PS1, and then when I saw stuff like Tekken, Ridge Racer, Toshinden, WipeOut... I just had to have one.
 
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nkarafo

Member
In Europe Sega was very big even before Sonic. Even the Master System was just as big or bigger than the NES, since the PAL NES was delayed a lot, especially in my country where we didn't even have an official Nintendo supplier until 1991. The PC-Engine/TG-16 was non-existent. Basically Sega didn't have any competition early on. Until the late 80's it was either a Sega console or any of the home computers.
 

ShirAhava

Plays with kids toys, in the adult gaming world
When I first got into gaming it was all about Sega Genesis, Nintendo(NES) was dated and uncool (SNES wasn't out yet)

I only saw TurboGrafX either in gaming mags or on tv shows I remember a LOT of product placement of kids mentioning or playing T-16 in the very early 90s

it was kinda like "oh yeah that exists well back to genesis"

In late 1990 when Sega had Mickey Mouse AND Michael Jackson (just a year before he released his Dangerous album no less)
it was a wrap for NEC in the west they had nothing to compete with that level of hype


By the time Sonic came around it was a death blow all hope was lost for NEC
 
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Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
In Europe Sega was very big even before Sonic. Even the Master System was just as big or bigger than the NES,
Slight hyperbole since the sales were relatively very low compared to Japan and America and took sales to reach them. I wouldn't say they were "very" big in Europe. I know a lot of people say that but that.

But you're right that NEC didn't really bother much to improve sales there.

NEC should have made it more of a point to bring a stronger presence to the west
NEC had a $26 million marketing campaign in NA compared to $15 for Sega so I think they were trying, at least at first. They did neglect Europe, but at the same time they had Japan on lock with Sega didn't do so well in.

In late 1990 when Sega had Mickey Mouse AND Michael Jackson (just a year before he released his Dangerous album no less)
it was a wrap for NEC in the west they had nothing to compete with that level of hype
Those didn't impact Genesis sales the way you think they did.

Sega and NEC were really slow burners that only started picking up in mid 1990 and were basically selling even (in the US) until 1991. I too believed back then that the Michael Jackson game was going to sell million of copies on the Genesis.

However, turns out it didn't even sell 1 million. I guess it wasn't much of a draw to American consumers as me and several analysts thought.
 

SkylineRKR

Member
Sega was reasonably big before Sonic in Europe. I knew them, and knew lots of owners who discarded the NES for the MD. Sonic came out and it just fired up further. Megadrive came out almost a full year before Sonic did. Popular games were Altered Beast, Moonwalker, SoR and Shinobi.

The Master System was also around, but in my memory it surfaced more after the Megadrive was released and gained traction. I never saw much MS1's, though we rented a few during a kid party. But the smaller MS2 with Alex Kidd built in was hugely popular because it was cheap and looked better than the NES.
 

Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
Bonk >>>> Sonic imo. Wish NEC or someone had continued the IP.

Sonic was awesome too tho with fresh gameplay mechanics compared to typical platformers.
They did, it was Hudsons IP (though NEC name was on it, technically the TG16 was Hudsons console) they moved it to the Super Nintendo.

Hudson also made a recent game for mobile years ago in 2006 before Konami killed the brand in 2012. Technically, Konami owns the IP right now so that means don't expect any new games lol.
 

Quasicat

Member
My cousin had a GamePro subscription and there were tons of ads for the TurboDuo with Gate/Lord of Thunder and I got so excited that I went out and picked one up which also included the Huecard versions of Bonk and Bonk’s Revenge. I also got into the YS series which was a lot like Zelda, but using the space of the CD was even better. At the time, I couldn’t understand why games were really hard to find in rural Ohio, but there was a shop about 40 minutes away that sold them. I would have loved to see more brought to the US, but it’s an amazing system for the games we did get.
 

RoboFu

One of the green rats
I had a TG16 before I had a genesis. The severe lack of proper adventure games on both made me shun them for a year or 2
 
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I remember this time vividly. Sonic almost made me buy a Genesis after I held out "so long" (like a year and a half) to buy a SNES. Simply the logo with the white background and the voiceover saying Sega made me want it.
 
As an owner of both systems in the early 90s. The TG-16 couldn’t keep up graphically. Even in 92 when my bro came home with one the system was pretty much dying in NA (the hardware was already 5 years old at that point) games were on the cheap and there wasn’t all that big of a selection at the local EB (Tampa area).

There is a very-extremely-noticeable lack of parallax scrolling and it makes me very sad.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
At the beginning of the systems launch, both T-16 and Genesis had crap games. And very limited too. It's not like modern day launches where you got 10-15 launch games where most are familiar tried and true sequels. And also all the BC games that work too.

I think Genesis launch was Altered Beast pack in, Thunderforce 2, Space Harrier 2, Super Thunderblade, Tommy Lasorda Baseball, Arnold Palmer Golf, Last Battle. Maybe some others I missed. Not exactly great games. Best game was probably TF2.

T-16 was pack in Keith Courage. That pinball game, Legendary Axe, China Warrior, and I think Rtype. Also, maybe some more I missed. Also mostly crap games. Best game probably Legendary Axe.

Right from the start, Genesis games skewed to more familiar arcade games and also the games always skewed to more dark/realistic art. T-16 was always bright and bubbly stuff. And a few years in, the sports games were leagues better than T-16. I dont think T-16 had any solid sports games at all involving pro teams, GM/coaching options etc.... It was junk like TV Sports or big head basketball. T-16 seemed geared more to family fun cartoony games, while Genesis was meant for gamers who wanted arcade games at home or college dudes smack talking playing Madden or NHL or Sega Sports on the couch.

Amazingly, some of the early sports games actually came from the same Japanese game. But when they were adjusted for T-16/Genesis versions, T-16 kept the cartoony visuals, while the Sega version seemed tidied up with more realistic players or all city names (no real players or logos yet). So you could see the Genesis version inching up to when console sports games in the early 90s finally got pro league licenses. T-16 never got there. Didn't even make an attempt.
 
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DaGwaphics

Member
Had a blast with Genesis, the first console I owned, played many hours of Sonic, SF. They knew how to market to tweens that's for sure, had some of the zaniest commercials of the time.
 
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Ozzie666

Member
Turbo GF really punched above it's weight that in between 8 and 16 bit systems. I really never remember it pushing the Genesis at all, but pushing the Master System in North America a bit. Besides Electronic Arts backing the Genesis more than any other console, was maybe more important. I don't recall EA supporting NEC at all. I enjoyed both, but the NEC was like the Xbox Series S. Just not the complete experience.
 
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S0ULZB0URNE

Member
I had a TG16 before I had a genesis. The severe lack of proper adventure games on but made me shunned them both for a year or 2
Off the top of my head....
The Dungeon Explorers and the Neutopia games come to mind,were good and great(Neutopia is gamings best Zelda clone)
I'm sure I am forgetting some TG16 games...
 
Major Sega titles before Sonic
  • Space Harrier II
  • Thunder Force II
  • Thunder Force II
  • Strider
  • John Madden Football
  • PGA Tour Gold
  • Castle of Illusion with Mickey Mouse
  • Michael Jackson's Moon Walker
  • Arnold Palmer Golf
  • Ghostbusters
  • Rambo III
  • Phantasy Star II
  • After Burner II
  • Revenge of Shinobi
  • Shadow Dancer Secret of Shinobi
  • MUSHA
  • Populous

Major NEC titles before Sonic
  • Bonks Adventure
  • Keith Courage
  • Street Fighter 1
  • Alien Crush
  • Legendary Axe 1 and 2
  • Klax
  • Space Harrier
  • Bloody Wolf
  • Bonks Revenge
  • Splatter House
  • Neutopia
  • JJ and Jeff
  • Super Star Soldier
  • R-Type
  • Bravoman
  • Devils Crush
  • Turbo Golf
  • TV Sports Football
  • Double Dungeons
  • Galaga 90
  • Blazing Lazers
  • China Warrior
I got a TG-16 a few months after its released (with Christmas money)...

Not long after a friend got a Genesis we got to compare the lineup and it took no time for me to sell the machine as the Library on the Genesis was much better, especially before Sonis/the SNES came out in 1991.

Games like Phantasy Star II, Revenge of Shinobi, Ghouls n' Ghost, Mokey Mouse, Strider, Golden Axe and even Altered Beast to some degree were legendary back then, they made me switch.

When titles like Thunder Force III and Gaiares came out even Blazing Lazers and R-Type did not seem that appealing (Blazing Lazers and TF III are probably my fav shooters of all time).

Now, with the passage of time I think that the TG-16 probably deserved more credit than it did, especially after the Duo was released, but it was too little too late.
 

RoboFu

One of the green rats
Off the top of my head....
The Dungeon Explorers and the Neutopia games come to mind,were good and great(Neutopia is gamings best Zelda clone)
I'm sure I am forgetting some TG16 games...
Neutopia yes but not dungeon explorer it was basically a giant let style arcade game but with a linear very light story.


Coming off the adventure filled nes the TG16 had very little over its NA lifespan.
 

Foilz

Member
Once the TurboGrafx express (portable) was released and you could use your actual home console games to play it should have been game over for all other consoles. The turbo express was awesome. I was Playing splatter house and alien crush in the car while my brother was playing Tetris on that nasty ass Gameboy screen.
 
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SmokedMeat

Gamer™
At the beginning of the systems launch, both T-16 and Genesis had crap games. And very limited too. It's not like modern day launches where you got 10-15 launch games where most are familiar tried and true sequels. And also all the BC games that work too.

I think Genesis launch was Altered Beast pack in, Thunderforce 2, Space Harrier 2, Super Thunderblade, Tommy Lasorda Baseball, Arnold Palmer Golf, Last Battle. Maybe some others I missed. Not exactly great games. Best game was probably TF2.
.

Ghouls n Ghosts and Revenge of Shinobi we’re my favorite games in the early days, and remain among my all time favorites.

Otherwise I agree, the lineup was pretty lackluster, and it reflected in the sales.

I didn’t get a Turbo until after Bonk released so I don’t remember the launch lineup aside from Legendary Axe.
 

DaGwaphics

Member
Once the TurboGrafx express (portable) was released and you could use your actual home console games to play it should have been game over for all other consoles. The turbo express was awesome. I was Playing splatter house and alien crush in the car while my brother was playing Tetris on that nasty ass Gameboy screen.

One image comes to mind for all the more advanced portables that released around that time.



12 or 13 hours on two AAs is what put Gameboy out in front by a mile. Especially when the competition was using 6 to get a few hours.
 

SkylineRKR

Member
OG Gameboy used 4. But yes, it lasted much longer than the Game Gear. However, the best accessory I ever bought for the GB was the accu pak. I took it with me on vacations, and played the Gameboy at the beach etc. Ultimately this is what counted. I also had a game gear at some point, and it just wasn't portable. It could barely hold on 6 batteries, and the accu was a nightmare. I mostly played it when wired which defeated its purpose.

Gameboy might've looked worse, it was still good enough for me. The likes of Zelda, Ninja Gaiden shadow and Warioland were perfect. Its just that later games started to become too ambitious and suffered as a result.
 
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01011001

Member
Once the TurboGrafx express (portable) was released and you could use your actual home console games to play it should have been game over for all other consoles. The turbo express was awesome. I was Playing splatter house and alien crush in the car while my brother was playing Tetris on that nasty ass Gameboy screen.

yeah well, but that thing was really chunky, used more batteries and still lasted not even half as long with them, it didn't have Mario or Zelda and it cost 3x as much...

so nah, it never stood a chance
 
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cireza

Member
In Europe Sega was very big even before Sonic.
This. SEGA had a huge presence in Europe, Master System was a budget console and a ton of people had it. This was before Sonic appeared, but even after, Master System was still very strong.

It received many Sonic games. As a kid back then, I could hardly realize that Sonic Chaos was not as pretty as the MegaDrive game, and I was super happy with this game. I had Mortal Kombat II on the console, the Wonder Boy in Monster World port, Chuck Rock, Disney games, Asterix etc... Tons of great games. SEGA were even funding games and ports exclusively for this market, which eventually carried over to South America.
 

01011001

Member
This. SEGA had a huge presence in Europe

as a German that's always so weird to hear, because I think over here it wasn't like in the rest of Europe.

in Germany Nintendo outsold Sega almost 2:1, I rarely came across a Master System as a kid, I never even touched one until years after it was discontinued

the Mega Drive was more popular tho and more people actually had it, but the SNES still dwarfed it in popularity and store presence
 

DaGwaphics

Member
OG Gameboy used 4. But yes, it lasted much longer than the Game Gear. However, the best accessory I ever bought for the GB was the accu pak. I took it with me on vacations, and played the Gameboy at the beach etc. Ultimately this is what counted. I also had a game gear at some point, and it just wasn't portable. It could barely hold on 6 batteries, and the accu was a nightmare. I mostly played it when wired which defeated its purpose.

Gameboy might've looked worse, it was still good enough for me. The likes of Zelda, Ninja Gaiden shadow and Warioland were perfect. Its just that later games started to become too ambitious and suffered as a result.

I briefly had a Gameboy Color, I didn't realize the OG was different. Nintendo understood what was most important for a portable system.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Ghouls n Ghosts and Revenge of Shinobi we’re my favorite games in the early days, and remain among my all time favorites.

Otherwise I agree, the lineup was pretty lackluster, and it reflected in the sales.

I didn’t get a Turbo until after Bonk released so I don’t remember the launch lineup aside from Legendary Axe.
In that early batch of year one games, I think Revenge of Shinobi was the best game. That intro has to be one of the best of all time (at least in the 16 bit era).

Amazingly I think it was only a 4-meg cart too. Considering how good the graphics and audio were it didnt seem possible as games typically needed 8 megs or more to clearly stand out. And those games didnt come out till maybe 2 year later. Phantasy Star II at 6 megs was solid too.
 
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I dunno man; considering that consoles weren't selling in the volumes back then that they do today, I wouldn't call a 500K difference "relatively even"; that's a pretty big lead. 100K might be more so "relatively even", but it's outside of the margin of error.

I'd consider PS3 & 360 LTD something closer to relatively even. 87 million vs 90-something million, that's a 3% difference at most, which is within the margin of error.

Back to the Genesis/Megadrive & Turbographx comparison tho; while you can see they both gained some marketshare getting closer to Sonic's release, the growth factor was much more in Genesis/Megadrive's favor. Turbographx went from "just" 300K to 750K, a 150% increase. Genesis/Megadrive went from 400K to 1.2 million, a 300% increase. And by that point the difference between both systems in absolute numbers was larger than all of what Turbographx had sold in the U.S up to then.

So it's pretty easy to see where momentum was swinging (between those two systems in NA market) and interestingly, this was before Sonic's release. But the Sonic bump was definitely real, and that adversely affected SNES's early sales seemingly. So, prior to Sonic, the only factors that could explain why the gap for Genesis was already expanding and pulling away from Turbographx either had to be down to a diverging library of games (partially true; sports games were benefiting the Genesis from even early on), or the ad campaign.

Also, IIRC the American side handling Turbographx were already starting to wind down even before 1992, I think the Super Famicom's release in Japan in 1990 basically eating into PC-Engine's momentum (even tho PC-Engine finished 2nd in Japan, it was a very distant 2nd and the vast majority of what it managed was prior to Super Famicom's release) played heavily into the winddown for America and then Turbo Technologies Inc. was started basically to sell off as much unsold stock of consoles & games at profit as possible, and they kept that going until 1994/1995 IIRC.

That all said, PC-Engine in particular's a great system especially with PC-Engine CD and SuperGraphX games thrown in the mix. There's a lot to the library I still have to play through some day.

I don't want to throw Europe under the bus, but US was the focus of consoles back then, or Japan. Turbo basically would have made up in Japan what Sega got in Europe, in a hypothetical situation where Sonic didn't exist, it would be on par with the competition without it. Europe gains would be beneficial, but not having them wouldn't really hurt NEC if they held on to the US by being competitive.

Are you sure about that? Again, PC-Engine's market in Japan basically dried up shortly after Super Famicom came out, the bulk of its Japanese sales were prior to that system's release. So I don't know how many extra units Japan would've accounted for to make up for Europe in that hypothetical example.

And back in America, even pre-Sonic you can see the sales gap between the two systems growing in clear favor for Genesis, so it wasn't just Sonic that was pulling more attention to Sega prior to Sonic's release. At the very least, TurboGraphX-16 would've need a much bigger presence of sports games, licensed games, and early dibs on arcade hits like SF2 or Mortal Kombat in order to start reversing the sales trend that was already forming and pull ahead of Genesis.

That doesn't even get into the boosts (whether substantive or not) Genesis got from Sega CD and the controversy of games like Night Trap. TurboGraphX-16 also would've needed more Western 3P support, considering they had little Japanese 3P support and even Sega were only starting to get a decent bit more a couple years after Genesis's release (that is, without needing to reprogram and publish games themselves, like they did with Strider).
 
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SmokedMeat

Gamer™
In that early batch of year one games, I think Revenge of Shinobi was the best game. That intro has to be one of the best of all time (at least in the 16 bit era).

Amazingly I think it was only a 4-meg cart too. Considering how good the graphics and audio were it didnt seem possible as games typically needed 8 megs or more to clearly stand out. And those games didnt come out till maybe 2 year later. Phantasy Star II at 6 megs was solid too.

Oh yeah, I remember high Meg games being a marketing highlight. Strider was billed as the first 8-meg console game, and commanded a $75 price point in the US.

Phantasy Star 2 was amazing, and came with a strategy guide. They did the same with Sword of Vermillion, and I recall people complaining about it lol. So that was the end of that.
 
PC engine is the go to place if you are a shmup fans in 16 bit era, its shmup library even give mega drive a run for its money
 
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Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
As an owner of both systems in the early 90s. The TG-16 couldn’t keep up graphically. Even in 92 when my bro came home with one the system was pretty much dying in NA (the hardware was already 5 years old at that point) games were on the cheap and there wasn’t all that big of a selection at the local EB (Tampa area).

There is a very-extremely-noticeable lack of parallax scrolling and it makes me very sad.
Well in 1992 TG16 was pretty much dead, so the better looking later games barely came over. Only a handful or so eventually in 93-94 and some of those were imports.

12 or 13 hours on two AAs is what put Gameboy out in front by a mile. Especially when the competition was using 6 to get a few hours.

Funny how we ended up going backwards on that, Atari and Sega only had to wait another 25 years to when people don't mind low battery life if it meant color and better graphics/hardware capabilities.

I dunno man; considering that consoles weren't selling in the volumes back then that they do today, I wouldn't call a 500K difference "relatively even"; that's a pretty big lead.
Even back then the Tg16 and Genesis were unusually slow burners, consoles did actually sell generally at a much faster pace (you can see this with 7800 vs. SMS the gen before before the NES retailer monopoly destroyed both of their sales trajectories.). A 500k leap is easy to take back if done right.

But in this case that's irrelevant, since the reason for the 500k gap all of a sudden when they WERE selling even more equally before (which you skipped over) was because of the Sonic announcement, which completely changes the situation regardless. It's also the point of the thread, that Sonic killed NEC, In NA anyway.

90-something million
Microsoft never announced sales since the 360 was discontinued over a year after MS in general started dialing back on sales reports in 2015, so not sure where you got 90 million from, though could be right but we don't know. until they are a credible leak reveal's 360 numbers.

the growth factor was much more in Genesis/Megadrive's favor. Turbographx went from "just" 300K to 750K, a 150% increase. Genesis/Megadrive went from 400K to 1.2 million, a 300% increase. And by that point the difference between both systems in absolute numbers was larger than all of what Turbographx had sold in the U.S up to then.

So it's pretty easy to see where momentum was swinging (between those two systems in NA market) and interestingly, this was before Sonic's release.
I know it was before Sonics release, it was after the CES announcement of Sonic and the months of marketing for it after that the TG16 sales momentum slowed down, that was the point.

I dunno man; considering that consoles weren't selling in the volumes back then that they do today, I wouldn't call a 500K difference "relatively even"; that's a pretty big lead. 100K might be more so "relatively even", but it's outside of the margin of error.

I'd consider PS3 & 360 LTD something closer to relatively even. 87 million vs 90-something million, that's a 3% difference at most, which is within the margin of error.

Back to the Genesis/Megadrive & Turbographx comparison tho; while you can see they both gained some marketshare getting closer to Sonic's release, the growth factor was much more in Genesis/Megadrive's favor. Turbographx went from "just" 300K to 750K, a 150% increase. Genesis/Megadrive went from 400K to 1.2 million, a 300% increase. And by that point the difference between both systems in absolute numbers was larger than all of what Turbographx had sold in the U.S up to then.

So, prior to Sonic, the only factors that could explain why the gap for Genesis was already expanding and pulling away from Turbographx either had to be down to a diverging library of games (partially true; sports games were benefiting the Genesis from even early on), or the ad campaign.
No it was literally Sonic post-CES. The Genesis software sales figures also show this. There were no new blockbuster sellers that year until Sonic, both of the biggest selling games were cheap or were pack-ins and came out at or close to launch. The hype for Sonic before release after the CES coverage was massive. There's a reason why it sold so much better than the other pack-ins, not to mention the marketing promoting it was the proto-type for what would later become SoA's common marketing strategy for the Genesis for the next few years.

Also, IIRC the American side handling Turbographx were already starting to wind down even before 1992,
Yes, this was pointed out. Because of Sonic and the horrific holiday season the TG16 had, by Jan 1992 NEC was pretty much dead with $50 million brought in as shown in the last chart.

I think the Super Famicom's release in Japan in 1990 basically eating into PC-Engine's momentum.
In Japan the TG16 didn't have any momentum NEC and Hudson has messed up their advantage and weren't prepared, so the sales were stagnant when the SNES came out saved by CD games (and the CD drive prices dropping making the addon and the Duo (Japan had two versions) later drop in price. But by late 1991 the SNES was already catching up quick due to NEC's many ill-fated decisions, and by 1992 it wasn't even able to sell half a million a year anymore, the DUO's despite the modest popularity of the PC Engine CD addon, didn't sell as well expected standalone, and any chance of that happening was ruined by poor decisions by NEC and Hudson, then you had the SuperGrafx debacle, and finally the PCFX in 1994, during this time frame NEC was losing premium developers and was going to anyone to release games and were marketing some very strange titles while better ones were left fending for themselves. During this time the SNES was selling at a higher and higher rate every year in the millions.

One could make some parallels to Segas decisions later, NEC made a lot of mistakes and created a lot of its own problems that would require a lot more than a summary to fully understand.

Are you sure about that? Again, PC-Engine's market in Japan basically dried up shortly after Super Famicom came out, the bulk of its Japanese sales were prior to that system's release.
Europe didn't sell 5 million consoles during the time frame of the generations relevance so this point is moot. NEC already made up, more than made up Europe numbers.

By the time Genesis sales reached that number we were years into the next generation and the Mega Drive was an entry level bargain.

And back in America, even pre-Sonic you can see the sales gap between the two systems growing in clear favor for Genesis,
Because of Sonic, this is covered in the OP. The change started at CES. There wasn't any blockbuster selling games until after Sonic, even MS.Pac rode the Sonic wave, it came out a month after was cheap and one of the pack-in options and only sold a million copies, which again shows that Sonic was the driver who went on to sell millions in NA. The Genesis success and sudden adoption by consumers centered around this one game. Every big best selling title on the Genesis aside from Ms.Pac all came out after Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (1992) while the first game was still selling bucketloads. Mortal Kombat, Jurassic Park, Aladdin, Power Rangers, all came out in 1993 or later. Before Sonic the biggest software title was altered beast and it took it some time before it reached over 1 million copies. Sonic was the only series who had multimillion sellers as a pack-in title and standalone until Mortal Kombat in 1993.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Oh yeah, I remember high Meg games being a marketing highlight. Strider was billed as the first 8-meg console game, and commanded a $75 price point in the US.

Phantasy Star 2 was amazing, and came with a strategy guide. They did the same with Sword of Vermillion, and I recall people complaining about it lol. So that was the end of that.
Sword of Vermillion and PS2 were $120 cdn. Not sure about Strider. During that era, the standard price for Genesis and SNES games was $80 in Canada. Revenge of Shinobi was $100. I know because my bros and I chipped in and bought it. Most N64 games I think were $100.

Oddly, even though Genesis games were usually $80 to start, you'd get a slew of EA games which launched at $60 cdn.
 

ShirAhava

Plays with kids toys, in the adult gaming world
Those didn't impact Genesis sales the way you think they did.

Sega and NEC were really slow burners that only started picking up in mid 1990 and were basically selling even (in the US) until 1991. I too believed back then that the Michael Jackson game was going to sell million of copies on the Genesis.

However, turns out it didn't even sell 1 million. I guess it wasn't much of a draw to American consumers as me and several analysts thought.

I was speaking more about hype not sales even if we couldn't get a Genesis at the time we were at least excited for the system and got one eventually

NEC failed to do this it had almost zero hype in the west. people def bought Genesis for Sonic but the hype had been building up for a while
 
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DaGwaphics

Member
Funny how we ended up going backwards on that, Atari and Sega only had to wait another 25 years to when people don't mind low battery life if it meant color and better graphics/hardware capabilities.

I think the switch to rechargeable cells changed the picture quite a bit. You have to figure that a pair of AAs was like a $1 or something like that back in 89/90, not a lot but a factor when it's disposable. Tough to be a kid trying to enjoy your games and every few hours costs a few dollars. :messenger_grinning:

The rechargeable battery packs were bulky and expensive, especially on the 6 battery systems.
 

wondermega

Member
Hype for both consoles was pretty huge in Summer 89 if you were an enthusiast at the time, and it was a little harder to feel substantially more so for the Turbo since Sega seemed like they were making all the right moves following their 8-bit blunders in the States. I was pretty dead-set on grabbing a Genesis, personally, as the Turbo seemed less experienced a bit too much "how do you do fellow kids?" with their marketing campaign and everything around the presentation of their console.

I got to attend a pre-release promo event for the Turbo and got to see for myself a ton of the launch games, and I went from ho-hum to VERY impressed, even at 14 I realized it was mainly a failure of their marketing that was the issue as the actual products themselves were super slick. I still went for Genesis (Ghouls n Ghosts was just inevitable in my life) but happily traded systems with my friend for some months as we built up our respective libraries.

Turbo had a pretty neck-and-neck launch (as good as, perhaps even a bit better!) lineup with the Genesis, and to be honest that first year could have gone either way as both companies had a bit of trouble following up launch with steady must-have games. Again I might say that it did go to Turbo - but once Sega hit their groove, it was all over. Not so much because they were hitting it out of the park, but because NEC just started stumbling. You'd pick up an issue of EGM and they'd review like 6 or 7 NES games, 4 or 5 Genesis games, and mayyyybe 1 Turbo game if you were lucky.

An interesting thought experiment would be "what if Sonic appeared on TurboGrafx-16. and Bonk on Genesis, instead of the other way around?" Everything else being the same (marketing, etc). It's possible that things could have played out exactly the same way, but I doubt it. Bonk was cool (and technically very nice - and yes the game is quite fun) but Sonic definitely had that je ne sais quoi that made it a fair amount more intriguing.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Hype for both consoles was pretty huge in Summer 89 if you were an enthusiast at the time, and it was a little harder to feel substantially more so for the Turbo since Sega seemed like they were making all the right moves following their 8-bit blunders in the States. I was pretty dead-set on grabbing a Genesis, personally, as the Turbo seemed less experienced a bit too much "how do you do fellow kids?" with their marketing campaign and everything around the presentation of their console.

I got to attend a pre-release promo event for the Turbo and got to see for myself a ton of the launch games, and I went from ho-hum to VERY impressed, even at 14 I realized it was mainly a failure of their marketing that was the issue as the actual products themselves were super slick. I still went for Genesis (Ghouls n Ghosts was just inevitable in my life) but happily traded systems with my friend for some months as we built up our respective libraries.

Turbo had a pretty neck-and-neck launch (as good as, perhaps even a bit better!) lineup with the Genesis, and to be honest that first year could have gone either way as both companies had a bit of trouble following up launch with steady must-have games. Again I might say that it did go to Turbo - but once Sega hit their groove, it was all over. Not so much because they were hitting it out of the park, but because NEC just started stumbling. You'd pick up an issue of EGM and they'd review like 6 or 7 NES games, 4 or 5 Genesis games, and mayyyybe 1 Turbo game if you were lucky.

An interesting thought experiment would be "what if Sonic appeared on TurboGrafx-16. and Bonk on Genesis, instead of the other way around?" Everything else being the same (marketing, etc). It's possible that things could have played out exactly the same way, but I doubt it. Bonk was cool (and technically very nice - and yes the game is quite fun) but Sonic definitely had that je ne sais quoi that made it a fair amount more intriguing.
I cant speak for other regions in the world, but I'm pretty sure it wasnt even Sonic that put them over the top. Sonic came out in summer 1991. By that time, Genesis was already way ahead in US/Canada. At that time, some of us at school had it and zero people had a T-16.

By 1991, Genesis already had some decent sports games, EA support, and for arcade fans games like Golden Axe, Super Monaco and many more Sega arcade games were ported. T-16 had third party arcade games and all kinds of weird games that the typical non-Japanese gamer probably didnt care about. T-16 never had licensed games which surely boosted the marketing and hype. Sports games, Michael Jackson, Mickey Mouse etc.... Genesis also had cool black packaging and fun tv ads. T-16 games were in rainbow coloured cardboard boxes and I dont remember seeing any T-16 ads. Genesis had ads everywhere.
 
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wondermega

Member
I cant speak for other regions in the world, but I'm pretty sure it wasnt even Sonic that put them over the top. Sonic came out in summer 1991. By that time, Genesis was already way ahead in US/Canada. At that time, some of us at school had it and zero people had a T-16.

By 1991, Genesis already had some decent sports games, EA support, and for arcade fans games like Golden Axe, Super Monaco and many more Sega arcade games were ported. T-16 had third party arcade games and all kinds of weird games that the typical non-Japanese gamer probably didnt care about. T-16 never had licensed games which surely boosted the marketing and hype. Sports games, Michael Jackson, Mickey Mouse etc....
Oh I hear you. It's not like Sonic came out and THEN it was over for the TG-16 - that clearly happened a fair amount of time before..
 

Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
I was speaking more about hype not sales even if we couldn't get a Genesis at the time we were at least excited for the system and got one eventually

NEC failed to do this it had almost zero hype in the west. people def bought Genesis for Sonic but the hype had been building up for a while

There was very little hype outside of anecdotal cases until Sonic appeared at CES. NEC actually had more "hyped" coverage before then because they were more aggressive in the marketing, at least in metropolitans.

Hype for both consoles was pretty huge in Summer 89 if you were an enthusiast at the time, and it was a little harder to feel substantially more so for the Turbo since Sega seemed like they were making all the right moves following their 8-bit blunders in the States. I was pretty dead-set on grabbing a Genesis, personally, as the Turbo seemed less experienced a bit too much "how do you do fellow kids?" with their marketing campaign and everything around the presentation of their console.

I got to attend a pre-release promo event for the Turbo and got to see for myself a ton of the launch games, and I went from ho-hum to VERY impressed, even at 14 I realized it was mainly a failure of their marketing that was the issue as the actual products themselves were super slick. I still went for Genesis (Ghouls n Ghosts was just inevitable in my life) but happily traded systems with my friend for some months as we built up our respective libraries.

Turbo had a pretty neck-and-neck launch (as good as, perhaps even a bit better!) lineup with the Genesis, and to be honest that first year could have gone either way as both companies had a bit of trouble following up launch with steady must-have games. Again I might say that it did go to Turbo - but once Sega hit their groove, it was all over. Not so much because they were hitting it out of the park, but because NEC just started stumbling. You'd pick up an issue of EGM and they'd review like 6 or 7 NES games, 4 or 5 Genesis games, and mayyyybe 1 Turbo game if you were lucky.

An interesting thought experiment would be "what if Sonic appeared on TurboGrafx-16. and Bonk on Genesis, instead of the other way around?" Everything else being the same (marketing, etc). It's possible that things could have played out exactly the same way, but I doubt it. Bonk was cool (and technically very nice - and yes the game is quite fun) but Sonic definitely had that je ne sais quoi that made it a fair amount more intriguing.

Not really, Bonk was popular, just not as popular as Sonic, and Sonic's reveal at CES before released basically set the grave for NEC month sin advance, and one of the reasons for that was Sega's change in marketing strategy with Sega of America attached to the title, this is something NEC wouldn't be able to do if they were to switch key IPs.

The situation with Sega of America was unique, and its success would cause some xenophobia to occur which would end up backfiring on Sega later. At the same time, the reverse was going on with NEC. Both Sega and NEC also failed to extent the life of their consoles in the regions they were most successful in.

I cant speak for other regions in the world, but I'm pretty sure it wasnt even Sonic that put them over the top. Sonic came out in summer 1991. By that time, Genesis was already way ahead in US/Canada.
This is actually false as shown in the OP. It was the announcement of Sonic, and then Sonic, the genesis best selling titles, also all came after Sonic third party or first party, with the exception of Altered Beast, which was an early pack-in title, which incidentally gained a boost because of Sonics CE announcement which helped the Genesis reach that million sales in the US.

The Genesis didn't really start selling "it it over for Nintendo" numbers until late 1992, after Sonic 2, and none of the Genesis biggest best selling games aside from Ms.Pacman which released one month after Sonic released until 1993 or later.

The Gen TG16 were selling evenly before CES. a 450k jump over NEC was gained months after that with praise worthy press coverage. The software sales also improved with the Genesis hardware selling more units due to Sonics popularity, which is why the biggest selling software for the genesis happened so late. Altered Beast aside.
 
Even back then the Tg16 and Genesis were unusually slow burners, consoles did actually sell generally at a much faster pace (you can see this with 7800 vs. SMS the gen before before the NES retailer monopoly destroyed both of their sales trajectories.). A 500k leap is easy to take back if done right.

But the 7800 & SMS were getting the bulk of their sales during the uptick back from the North American gaming crash, and I'm more than sure that if you look at the NES's NA sales curve you can see a trending trajectory for that system as well where starting sales are smaller than what they'd be at the midpoint of its lifecycle. Genesis & TG-16 also had direct competition in the NES, which still had a lot of strong momentum in its last years thanks to games like SMB3; systems like the 7800 and SMS had no such market competition (of that caliber) at the time of their active years on the market, that's probably why their sales went at a faster pace comparatively.

Theoretically you can say a 500K leap is "easy" to take back but in practice that didn't pan out and more importantly the trajectory for Genesis was picking up steam and the gap growing in its favor even before Sonic's release so you'd have to acknowledge there were other factors for the gap growing outside of just Sonic's release.

But in this case that's irrelevant, since the reason for the 500k gap all of a sudden when they WERE selling even more equally before (which you skipped over) was because of the Sonic announcement, which completely changes the situation regardless. It's also the point of the thread, that Sonic killed NEC, In NA anyway.

No, Sonic was only a factor into it, but even if the gap were smaller pre-Sonic announcement, the truth is they were never selling on par, as in a fully equal sales trajectory between the two. That might've existed for the first few months but Genesis's library saw arcade ports and sports games TG16 simply wasn't getting and that began the gap to grow in its favor which would build upon itself like a feedback loop at an exponential rate.

So early on that curve the growth in the gap wouldn't like much until it does. The systems were not 1:1 in NA sales even prior to Sonic's announcement, let alone its release, so when the game gets announced and then released, and you start to see a pullaway the way there was one for Genesis vs. TG16, you also have to understand the seeds for that pullaway of a lead were already being built up much, much earlier. Everything was feeding onto what came prior and for Genesis the release of Sonic was the trigger point.

Microsoft never announced sales since the 360 was discontinued over a year after MS in general started dialing back on sales reports in 2015, so not sure where you got 90 million from, though could be right but we don't know. until they are a credible leak reveal's 360 numbers.

No, the 90-something million was for PS3, because Sony actually did release their numbers. MS basically did with 360 what Sega did with the Genesis in the NA market; they stopped officially reporting numbers by early 1995 even though systems were still being sold, but in Sega's case it was because they were quickly pivoting to Saturn. For MS it was probably due to making a switch over to the XBO, but they were also having a very different shift in priorities for Xbox as a whole in those last years and up to XBO's release.

Point being though, sure you can claim we never got a true final count but that's Microsoft's fault for not providing those numbers. And now they don't provide Xbox sell-through numbers at all :/

I know it was before Sonics release, it was after the CES announcement of Sonic and the months of marketing for it after that the TG16 sales momentum slowed down, that was the point.

Not doubting that, just the claim that the systems were "about even" prior to Sonic's release or announcement. But really, you were saying in the OP they were "relatively even" even with a 500K gap, when that's factually not true when you look at it from a percentage POV because it would be well outside the margin of error given the total install base size for both consoles in NA at that point.

No it was literally Sonic post-CES. The Genesis software sales figures also show this. There were no new blockbuster sellers that year until Sonic, both of the biggest selling games were cheap or were pack-ins and came out at or close to launch. The hype for Sonic before release after the CES coverage was massive. There's a reason why it sold so much better than the other pack-ins, not to mention the marketing promoting it was the proto-type for what would later become SoA's common marketing strategy for the Genesis for the next few years.

Software sales aren't important for the hardware discussion here; there may not have been any Genesis games pre-Sonic that did numbers that big, but Genesis also had a lot more NA releases so it had a bigger variety of games still doing decent-ish numbers and each segment of the base buying the system were probably doing so for some of those specific games.

I liken it to how people sometimes try downplaying PS 1P software sales when say a game gets 10 million units sold and then people say "but PS4 has 116 million units, that's less than 10% of all owners!". Uh, well, sure. But the point is it's the variety in the total software catalogue why you may be getting those sales on the hardware side, even without a single "massive" game or just only a few of them 1P-wise. It's the exact same for Microsoft, in fact I'd say it's a more pronounced scenario in their case considering the sales range even their marquee 1P releases total nowadays, in relation to the actual number of consoles they are selling.

One could make some parallels to Segas decisions later, NEC made a lot of mistakes and created a lot of its own problems that would require a lot more than a summary to fully understand.

Yeah, there are some definite parallels. I think you will see this a lot with most hardware manufacturers of that era TBH, particularly those who are no longer making consoles today.

Europe didn't sell 5 million consoles during the time frame of the generations relevance so this point is moot. NEC already made up, more than made up Europe numbers.

Even supposing that, Genesis/MegaDrive still had markets like Brazil, and some smaller parts of Asia like South Korea; between those and some of the licensed variants I still don't see TG16/PC-Engine globally lining up with Genesis/MegaDrive numbers sans Sonic's existence.

By the time Genesis sales reached that number we were years into the next generation and the Mega Drive was an entry level bargain.

In Europe? Because MD Western Europe sales were around 9 million by end of 1996, and the Majesco Genesis/MegaDrive 3 (the $50 'bargain-bin' priced option) didn't release until 1997.

Whatever pricing the other MegaDrive models had in Europe up to that point would've been around or not much less than whatever SNES was priced at by those points in the same Western Europe territories.

Because of Sonic, this is covered in the OP. The change started at CES. There wasn't any blockbuster selling games until after Sonic, even MS.Pac rode the Sonic wave, it came out a month after was cheap and one of the pack-in options and only sold a million copies, which again shows that Sonic was the driver who went on to sell millions in NA. The Genesis success and sudden adoption by consumers centered around this one game. Every big best selling title on the Genesis aside from Ms.Pac all came out after Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (1992) while the first game was still selling bucketloads. Mortal Kombat, Jurassic Park, Aladdin, Power Rangers, all came out in 1993 or later. Before Sonic the biggest software title was altered beast and it took it some time before it reached over 1 million copies. Sonic was the only series who had multimillion sellers as a pack-in title and standalone until Mortal Kombat in 1993.

But you have to keep in mind that prior to Sonic the Genesis/MegaDrive was only on the market for about two years, still was competing (in a sense) with the NES, and was still in its early years, where hardware sales a traditionally slower than when you move up to the mid-life point. You're talking about software sales now but the topic should stay focused on the hardware sales between TG16 and Genesis.

Point being, again there was a gap already forming between the two systems prior to Sonic's release, even prior to its CES showing. The larger NA software variety for Genesis being the growing reason, that and the sports games. Sonic just helped catapult the exponential sales trajectory the Genesis was already building in the NA market prior to its existence. That benefiting games which followed? Great! That's what platform holders want to see happen.

The only thing I'm really in contention with you on ITT is the idea the two systems were "relatively even" in sales prior to Sonic's release when the own years and figures of them you provide show pretty notable gaps in Genesis's favor when you look at it percentage-wise (well beyond the margin of error, well beyond a 10% difference even), and the idea a 500K deficit for the TG16 could've been "relatively easily made up for" without Sonic's release, considering that a gap was already forming putting them in a deficit before Sonic's showing let alone release.

Basically, "relatively easily" would've required some masterstroke 3P licensing deals and 1P releases beyond what NEC/Hudson had on the market at that point (or had in the pipeline) to make up that gap, or pull ahead of Genesis in the NA territory. Especially knowing it'd also have to contend with the SNES.
 
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