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Which black sheep console had it worse, Wii U or Sega Saturn?

Which doomed system had it worse?


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Jubenhimer

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Among the myriad of failed consoles, none are more fascinating than that of Nintendo's Wii U and Sega's Saturn. It may not seem like it at first, but these two systems have a lot more in common than you might think. They're both bloated, over-complicated machines that developers and gamers couldn't understand. They both succeed groundbreaking success stories for their platform holders (Genesis and Wii), they both suffered from poor third party support and constant game droughts, terrible marketing, and were overall non-existent in the public eye. And both were abandoned rather quickly by their platform holders once the realities became apparent.

But between the two systems, which actually had the worst of it? Wii U or Sega Saturn? Honestly in retrospect, I think the Saturn had it far rougher. With the Wii U, you can at least tell Nintendo tried. Even when the writing was on the wall, they still trudged forward and tried to make it work. The Wii U's main problem was simply that Nintendo betted on the wrong horse. A dual screened home-console running Power PC in 2013 just simply wasn't a product people particularly wanted or asked for, as well as not being unique enough from the Wii to stand out and be seen as an actual successor. Plus, many of its best games live on through sequels and ports on the Nintendo Switch, so it's not like it was a complete waste of effort.

The Saturn on the other hand was the culmination of years of problems brewing within Sega. Overreliance on Arcade ports, hostile relations between Sega of America and Sega Corporate, Throwing new hardware on the market back-to-back within the span of 3 years, abandoning those contraptions shortly afterward, and panic moves to try and drum up business such as the Saturn's surprise launch. I'd say the Saturn's failure is more pathetic, as they lost to an industry newcomer with very little prior experience with the gaming industry in Sony and their PlayStation.
 

DonkeyPunchJr

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I’m thinking Wii U. That system is endlessly fascinating to me with just how badly they fucked up everything.

It’s like they couldn’t say no to anything. One person wanted to make Wii HD, one person wanted to bring the dual-screen DS concept to console, one person wanted a gaming tablet, one person just wanted a no bullshit HD console. And they said yes to all of it. And they insisted it have backwards compatibility and all fit inside the Wii “3 DVD cases” form factor and consume 45 watts max.

It’s like the “Homer Simpson car” of gaming consoles. Unsurprisingly it did none of those things particularly well. And it was over priced. And the name/marketing was confusing - I have multiple friends with Wii who, when I told them
I got Wii U, asked me if that was like an add on for Wii or what. They had commercials that told you to “upgrade to a Wii U” which doesn’t make it clear that it’s a completely new stand alone console.

And then you had the games. Most of the games used the touchscreen in trivial ways that didn’t really enhance the experience much, e.g. maps and inventory management. Some of them didn’t use it at all (e.g. Donkey Kong Country). Some of them were actually made worse because tablet controls were forced into it (Star Fox). Plus they had that awesome looking Zelda tech demo that never got made into a full game (and rumor has it that the final Wii U GPU spec was downgraded by 50%, and the tech demo was targeting the pre-downgraded spec)

And unsurprisingly, third party devs had zero interest in the thing. Anybody who gave a shit about any of the big 3rd party franchises was playing them on 360 or PS3. All Wii U got was a handful of late ports that in some cases actually ran worse than on 360/PS3.

Saturn launched after a series of strategic blunders by Sega. Whereas Nintendo was at the top of their game only to release their worst-selling console as a follow up to their best-selling one and squandering their dominant position. Every single thing about that console was a baffling mistake.
 
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Rodolink

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Nintendo started cleaning up their SDKs to make development more accessible with the WiiU so its not accurate what you say there that it was hard to develop for, anyone could make a Unity shit game and publish.
I think worst sin for WiiU was a promise half done, (wireless tablet mode working at only 10ft its playing with people's expectations) felt like a concept half done.
And its sad because it had high quality games.
 
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Captain Toad

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The Saturn surprise launch was complete stupidity. I actually got one on launch day, just by accidently running into one in the mall. None of my friends believed me, and the Internet wasn't what is now, so no one could check.

But, at least people knew the Saturn was the new Sega console. There are people who still believe the Wii U was just an expensive peripheral for the Wii.
 

cireza

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Both great consoles.

They're both bloated, over-complicated machines that developers and gamers couldn't understand.
I don't think that the Wii U was particularly difficult to develop for.

they both suffered from poor third party support and constant game droughts
Saturn had a very good third party support, so this is wrong as well.
 

Warnen

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Saturn had shit support in the US while had some games that still stand up in Japan. It was simply the best 2d console this side of the neo geo. It’s a shame most of the killer shooters platformers and fighters never made it outside of Japan. The secondary market have priced these gems out of most people hands now and the majority of them are playable no where else.


Saturn got fucked
 
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mcjmetroid

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Hmm tough one.

The Saturn was at least a massive success in Japan.
WiiU wasn't a success in any shape or form in any country.

The WiiU also had a much shittier name, but Saturn had the worst PR marketing stunt of all time ( the Saturnday fiasco)

Both systems were Ill conceived. Saturn wasn't ready for 3D just like the WiiU wasn't ready to be a hybrid like they clearly wanted.

Both systems has potential but I think Nintendo squandered the WiiU more. It was like they actively came up with a system that wouldn't sell, gave it a shit name and didn't market it properly.

I'm never sure how they convinced anyone to develop for it.
 

kunonabi

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People actually appreciate the Saturn even if didnt sell well. Wii u was demonized and ridiculed by the media from the get-go and never given a chance. The Saturn at least had some appeal to enthusiasts for the excellent import lineup.
 
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Jubenhimer

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I don't think that the Wii U was particularly difficult to develop for.
Nintendo started cleaning up their SDKs to make development more accessible with the WiiU so its not accurate what you say there that it was hard to develop for, anyone could make a Unity shit game and publish.
It's not that the Wii U was difficult to develop for. Rather, the concept of the system was needlessly over-designed, and very difficult to explain to people. With something like the Wii Remote, it was very simple. Swing it like a Tennis Racket, Point it like a gun, tilt it like a wheel. With the Switch, you can play at home, or on the go. You can play single player, or two player by sharing the controllers.

But the Wii U? Well you can play on the gamepad, but you can't leave the house. You can play multiplayer, but you need to keep your old Wii Remotes and Nunchucks. Asymetrical gameplay, one person plays on the gamepad, everyone else on the TV. Wii U didn't have that easy to grasp factor that systems like the Wii or Switch have, and that's a large part of its failure.

Saturn had a very good third party support, so this is wrong as well.
Saturn's third party support was good if you liked Niche games from obscure Japanese developers. But if you want bigger deal stuff, you'd buy something else, like a PlayStation. A good majority of major publishers bounced off the Saturn rather quickly, leaving only Sega and a handful of smaller third parties like Working Designs to pick up the slack. If you wanted Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Tony Hawk, or the full Tomb Raider trillogy, you weren't going to buy a Saturn.
 
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ShirAhava

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The Saturn is the biggest tragedy in video game history other than the crash

The timeline where the Saturn/2D games are allowed to thrive and succeed along with 3D games
and are treated with the same respect is the good timeline

We are not in the good timeline

Why and how the modern video game industry is so unbalanced today can be traced back to the 32-bit era mentality/Saturn
 

Sub Boss

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Well, Nintendo is in a better position than SEGA is now, plus most of their Wii U games have sold millions after being ported to Switch, Nintendo developers and partners also gained a lot experience working on Wii U before moving to Switch
 
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Enjay

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Wii U had it worse. Sega'a pure incompetence with the saturn was much worse than nintendo's with the wii u at the time and it made them deserve to fail the way they way it did.
 

SF Kosmo

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Hmm tough one.

The Saturn was at least a massive success in Japan.
WiiU wasn't a success in any shape or form in any country.
I wouldn't call it a massive success. I had some success largely thanks to Sakura Taisen and Virtua Fighter but it struggled to keep that momentum going.
 
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cireza

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If you wanted Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Tony Hawk, or the full Tomb Raider trillogy, you weren't going to buy a Saturn.
During the years that the Saturn and PS1 shared, all the Western games were also available on Saturn. Most of the games you list were released in 98/99, when it was already clear that the consoles was not going to be supported, as the DC is a 98 release in Japan, 99 in the West. Tony Hawk was actually released in Dreamcast. Metal Gear is a 99 game in the West etc... But overall, third party support dropped on Dreamcast, not on Saturn.

So this is the typical case of people shitting on Saturn by listing games that were released after it ended its life.

Saturn was overall okay, it is the Dreamcast that killed Sega by the way.
 
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Jubenhimer

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During the years that the Saturn and PS1 shared, all the Western games were also available on Saturn. Most of the games you list were released in 98/99, when it was already clear that the consoles was not going to be supported, as the DC is a 98 release in Japan, 99 in the West.
The couple years of the Saturn showed promise, but after around 1996, most major publishers began backing away from it. It's the same for the Wii U, Launch and the first year looked good, but afterwards... Nothing. Also, a lot of 3D multiplatform games on the Saturn looked and ran worse than their PlayStation counterparts, despite being a technically more powerful machine. Again, just like how early Wii U ports of PS3/360 games were inferior to those versions, despite being more powerful.

So even if the original Tomb Raider was available on the Saturn. Why would you want to play it on the Saturn?
 
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cireza

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Also, a lot of 3D multiplatform games on the Saturn looked and ran worse than their PlayStation counterparts
I disagree with this as well, and it was pretty much unknown to the public anyway. The problem was that Sony was pushing so hard with ads that people did not even know that Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Wipeout + 2097, Destruction Derby, Duke Nukem, Powerslave, all the EA games were actually available on Saturn. Saturn even had a Quake port that the PS1 did not have in 1997. UMK3 + MK Trilogy as well etc... And there are many fantastic SEGA Sports games.

These games perform perfectly well on Saturn, you don't see the difference. Some of them run better : the Lobotomy ports, Tomb Raider definitely has some advantages on Saturn (better water, you can see at a greater distance as well) etc... But these are things that came to light later. Back then, you simply did not see these details. Sony was taking all the attention through TV ads etc... But I was actually playing the same games on Saturn until 1997. Then SEGA shifted to Dreamcast, and some third parties said "nope" (mainly EA).

Going to @ DT MEDIA DT MEDIA on this, as he will most likely confirm everything I am saying :)
 
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Nozz-A-La

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The Saturn was fantastic. I had Tomb Raider on it before (I think) it was even released on PlayStation, what an incredible game that was. But for me nothing beat playing the Virtua games, especially Virtua Cop with the Virua gun (so many virtuas). Bring back gun games.
 
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cireza

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I had Tomb Raider on it before (I think) it was even released on PlayStation
Yes, pretty sure it was released on Saturn first (maybe by only a few weeks).

Saturn felt like a complete console overall. Wii U ended being extremely lacking, even though I love the console.
 
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MvCSpiderman

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Saturn still has many games that never left it, making a compelling case to buy one unlike the Wii U.

Also those saying Saturn helped kill Segas hardware, last I checked Wii U killed Nintendo's home console prospects. If it wasn't for American fanboys saving the N64 and Gamecube Nintendo would have dropped out that part of the market sooner.
 

Kokoloko85

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Sega Saturn outsold the N64 in Japan.
Wii U didnt do well anywhere.

Saturn arguably had the best fighting games and shooters of the generation. And amongst one of the best JRPG consoles after Snes and Playstation.

It had many classics like Virtua Fighter 2, Dark Saviour, Shining Force 3, Guardian Heroes, Grandia, Radiant Silver Gun, Heroes Panzer Dragoon Saga and Panzer Dragoon Zwei.
It had the best 2D fighters out of all 3 consoles ( PSX, N64 and Saturn ) it had the better version of the Street Fighter and VS Marvel games.

I like the Wii U but the Saturn was a way better console and one of my favourites. it just had a hard time dealing with 3D games which was new and competing with the Playstation 1
 
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MvCSpiderman

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Also dumb Sega were is my 4K remastered Megamix...

the saturn could have been a much better player in NA but the management at the time were idiots.
If there first year lineup is any indication I'm not sure they could have done much to do better in NA. Price would have been some help early on.

The couple years of the Saturn showed promise, but after around 1996, most major publishers began backing away from it. It's the same for the Wii U, Launch and the first year looked good, but afterwards... Nothing. Also, a lot of 3D multiplatform games on the Saturn looked and ran worse than their PlayStation counterparts, despite being a technically more powerful machine.

Saturn is not more powerful than the PlayStation, but the gap wasn't as big as people thought. You still wouldn't get a Crash 3 on it however.

Of course that gap perception was created by bad and rushed tools with Sega making similar mistakes as the Jaguar, but at least Sega made the tools themselves instead of some random contracted third party studio. But developers still had many development problems.

Even something as simple as the Saturn's video playback application making it a pain for cutscenes and FMV.
 

SkylineRKR

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Wii U came off the back of the hugely succesful Wii which was quite a colossal fail but was never loss making for Nintendo. Saturn single handedly killed Sega's chances to persist in the hardware business..
 

MvCSpiderman

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Sega Saturn outsold the N64 in Japan.
Wii U didnt do well anywhere.

Saturn arguably had the best fighting games and shooters of the generation. And amongst the best JRPG consoles after Snes and Playstation.

I love the Wii U but the Saturn was a way better console, it just had a hard time dealing with 3D games which was new and competing with the Playstation 1
Actually Saturn failed in japan gotta look at more than numbers, sales dried up quick after a few years and people were barely buying software. Sega was losing tons of money 1997 onward.

FY94-95840.000840.000
FY95-961.660.0002.500.000
FY96-972.300.0004.800.000
FY97-98800.0005.600.000
FY98-99300.0005.900.000

Wii U did do well in Japan early on, and it took a longer time than expected for PS4 to outsell it , but it faced the same problem the Saturn did, interest died early.

Dreamcast and Gamecube also faced the same issue in Japan.
 
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MiguelItUp

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I feel like both suffered for different reasons. Wii U had some good and great games, but the console was a strange call. The Saturn had some good and great games, but Sega just made some really weird calls with the system.

In the long run I feel like Saturn had a better and larger library of greater games. Meanwhile the Wii U had less and was always made fun of, lmao.
 

MvCSpiderman

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The Saturn basically killed Sega as a platform holder. The Dreamcast never had a chance after that.
I'd argue If Sega never bothered trying to sell it in Japan, the Dreamcast would have been profitable. I didn't think the Saturn has as much impact on the Dreamcast as people think, they launched the Dreamcast in the red, so it's not really the Saturn's fault the DC failed it was Sega extending themselves too thin. Why try to push so hard in a territory you never did that well in? Stock sitting on shelves, millions lost.

Wii U came off the back of the hugely succesful Wii which was quite a colossal fail but was never loss making for Nintendo. Saturn single handedly killed Sega's chances to persist in the hardware business..
It was but then Nintendo decided to not drop the price of the Wii U further officially. That's why the Wii U didn't hurt Nintendo as bad as it could have.
 

ThaGuy

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Are we just going to forget the Dreamcast lol? But between the two I would say the Saturn. After that Sega just made bad decisions afterwards and eventually became what they are today.
 

Naked Lunch

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Saturn's Japanese library is one of the strongest in gaming history - it even had releases well into the Dreamcast's lifespan (stuff like Street Fighter Zero 3 which funny enough was superior to the DC port).
 
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Kokoloko85

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Actually Saturn failed in japan gotta look at more than numbers, sales dried up quick after a few years and people were barely buying software. Sega was losing tons of money 1997 onward.

FY94-95840.000840.000
FY95-961.660.0002.500.000
FY96-972.300.0004.800.000
FY97-98800.0005.600.000
FY98-99300.0005.900.000

Wii U did do well in Japan early on, and it took a longer time than expected for PS4 to outsell it , but it faced the same problem the Saturn did, interest died early.

Dreamcast and Gamecube also faced the same issue in Japan.
Yeah it ultimately failed big time.

Has a popular software legacy in Japan. Plus better hardware sales than the N64.

Yep all those consoles didnt do well.

Nintendo consoles havent done well since the Snes apart from the Wii. There handhelds on the other hand are a different story.

To me both consoles are cool, I love the Sega Saturn though for the games, some of my all time favourites
 
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Krappadizzle

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I think the Wii U had it worse. It was a genuinely good system, it just had terrible messaging and an awful release window. People were looking forward to a substantial upgrade over the old 360/PS3 and to find out that the Wii U was essentially about as strong as those systems felt underwhelming considering they didn't have any kind of must have titles. It then went on to put out some of Nintendo's best work in a LONG long time, but by then it was way too late.

I was a Sega kid growing up and when I found out about the Saturn, I just didn't care. The Playstation is all I wanted and it stayed that way for a long time. Saturn, to me, was trying to sell itself as the best 16-bit system AND 32-bit system at the same time and I never saw a game compelling enough to make me want one. Though, I do remember playing NiGHTS into Dreams at a kiosk and thought the sensation of flying was really cool and that controller was insane. But never cared about the system at all. Whereas with the Wii U, it wasn't too long before it started getting some absolute bad ass games, but by then, the PS4/Xbone had already taken it's milk money.
 
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InfiniteCombo

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Saturn arguably had the best fighting games and shooters of the generation.

I would say that the Saturn had, unquestionably, the better 2D fighting game library. It's objectively demonstrable.

When it comes to 3D fighters though... The situation is a bit more complicated. Yes, the Saturn had Virtua Fighter. But PlayStation had Tekken (which many people -- myself included -- considered much better than Virtua Fighter) and Soul Blade (which was a better version of Battle Arena Toshinden -- an initially PlayStation exclusive that ended up getting ported to the Saturn).
 
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Jun 28, 2013
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Sega is out the console market. Wii U was just a blimp of Nintendo being gimmick for gimmick’s sake.
 

Porcile

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Maybe only for the RPGs. I can't understand Japanese but most of it's libary is arcade style games often with English options screens if you are importing.

Lots of decent VNs too if you're into that sort of thing. Anyway, the RPGs are worth it alone.
 

Hoddi

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I think it has to be the Wii U. It didn't matter how good the games were because people plain refused to buy it. Almost every article and comment online was negative.
 
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