The SEGA Saturn Featured Fewer Game Titles Because Of What?
Answer: Quadrilateral Polygons
When viewed through the lens of history, the SEGA Saturn–a 32-bit fifth generation game console released in 1994–seemed destined for failure from the start. While multiple problems factored into the over all poor reception and adoption of the game system, including terrible marketing, failure to release popular titles outside of Japan, and poor hardware design choices that led to high production costs with little hope for hardware consolidation and revision, the biggest flaw in the Saturn game plan was the most fundamental.
While the entire industry was rendering polygonal characters and environmental objects with simple triangular components, SEGA decided to mix things up by rendering everything in quadrilaterals–four-sided figures. All the software and development tools game designers were using were set up for triangle-based polygons and many game developers–especially from the smaller development houses–were loathe to retool things for a single console system. So while the Saturn enjoyed an on-paper advantage thanks to extra video memory and the largely underutilized dual-CPU configuration, in reality Saturn owners enjoyed fewer (and often oddly-rendered) games because of SEGA’s design choice.
When the reign of fifth-generation consoles came to an end, the SEGA Saturn had sold only 9.5 million units–a poor showing compared to Nintendo’s 32.9 million N64 units and Sony’s 102 million PlayStation units. As a result of the Saturn’s commercial failure SEGA lost 267.9 million dollars in revenue and was forced to lay off 30% of its global workforce.
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