39 Facts About Sega Saturn


Sega Saturn is a home video game console developed by Sega and released on November 22, 1994, in Japan, May 11, 1995, in North America, and July 8, 1995, in Europe.

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Development of the Saturn began in 1992, the same year Sega's groundbreaking 3D Model 1 arcade hardware debuted.

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The Sega Saturn was designed around a new CPU from the Japanese electronics company Hitachi.

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Sega Saturn added another video display processor in early 1994 to better compete with Sony's forthcoming PlayStation.

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Sega Saturn was initially successful in Japan but failed to sell in large numbers in the United States, where it was hindered by a surprise May 1995 launch, four months before its scheduled release date.

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Sega Saturn's management has been criticized for its decisions during the system's development and discontinuation.

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Development of the Saturn was supervised by Hideki Sato, Sega's director and deputy general manager of research and development.

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The name "Sega Saturn" was initially only the codename during development.

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In 1993, Sega restructured its internal studios in preparation for the Saturn's launch.

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In January 1994, Sega Saturn began to develop an add-on for the Genesis, the 32X, to serve as a less expensive entry into the 32-bit era.

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Meanwhile, Sega released the 32X on November 21, 1994, in North America, December 3, 1994, in Japan, and January 1995 in PAL territories, and was sold at less than half of the Saturn's launch price.

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Kalinske revealed that, due to "high consumer demand", Sega had already shipped 30, 000 Saturns to Toys "R" Us, Babbage's, Electronics Boutique, and Software Etc.

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Namco, a longtime arcade competitor with Sega Saturn, unveiled the Namco System 11 arcade board, based on raw PlayStation hardware.

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Sega Saturn underestimated the continued popularity of the Genesis, and did not have the inventory to meet demand.

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Sega Saturn announced that David Rosen and Nakayama had resigned from their positions as chairman and co-chairman of Sega Saturn of America, though both remained with the company.

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Stolar was not supportive of the Sega Saturn, feeling it was poorly designed, and publicly announced at E3 1997 that "the Sega Saturn is not our future".

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Shortly before announcing its financial losses, Sega announced that it was discontinuing the Saturn in North America to prepare for the launch of its successor.

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Only 12 Sega Saturn games were released in North America in 1998, compared to 119 in 1996.

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Between June 1996 and August 1998, the Sega Saturn sold a further 1, 103, 468 consoles and 29, 685, 781 games in Japan, giving the Sega Saturn a Japanese attach rate of 16.

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Rumors about the upcoming Dreamcast—spread mainly by Sega itself—were leaked to the public before the last Saturn games were released.

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Worldwide Sega Saturn sales include at least the following amounts in each territory: 5.

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Sega Saturn had technically impressive hardware at the time of its release, but its complexity made harnessing this power difficult for developers accustomed to conventional programming.

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Sega Saturn's design elicited mixed commentary among game developers and journalists.

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Ken Humphries of Time Warner Interactive remarked that compared to the PlayStation, the Sega Saturn was worse at generating polygons but better at sprites.

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Sega responded to complaints about the difficulty of programming for the Saturn by writing new graphics libraries which were claimed to make development easier.

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For example, Steven L Kent stated: "Although Nintendo and Sony had true 3D game machines, Sega had a 2D console that did a good job with 3D objects but wasn't optimized for 3D environments.

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Sega Saturn controllers came in various color schemes to match different models of the console.

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Sega Saturn released several versions of arcade sticks as peripherals, including the Virtua Stick, the Virtua Stick Pro, the Mission Analog Stick, and the Twin Stick.

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Sega Saturn created a light gun peripheral, the Virtua Gun, for shooting games such as Virtua Cop and The Guardian, and the Arcade Racer, a wheel for racing games.

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The Sega Saturn was designed to support up to 12 players on a single console, by using two multitaps.

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In 1995, Sega announced a variant of the Saturn featuring a built-in NetLink modem under the code name "Sega Pluto", but it was never released.

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Sega developed an arcade board based on the Saturn's hardware, the Sega ST-V, intended as an affordable alternative to Sega's Model 2 arcade board and as a testing ground for upcoming Saturn software.

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Highly rated Sega Saturn exclusives include Panzer Dragoon Saga, Dragon Force, Guardian Heroes, Nights, Panzer Dragoon II Zwei, and Shining Force III.

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However, Sega released fewer than 20, 000 retail copies in North America in what IGN's Levi Buchanan characterized as an example of the Saturn's "ignominious send-off" in the region.

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Later ports of Sega Saturn games including Guardian Heroes, Nights, and Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers continued to garner positive reviews.

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In 2015, The Guardians Keith Stuart wrote that "the Sega Saturn has perhaps the strongest line-up of 2D shooters and fighting games in console history".

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Retro Gamers Damien McFerran wrote: "Even today, despite the widespread availability of sequels and re-releases on other formats, the Sega Saturn is still a worthwhile investment for those who appreciate the unique gameplay styles of the companies that supported it.

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Sega Saturn commented on the many Japan-exclusive Saturn releases, which he connected with a subsequent boom in the game import market.

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Sega Saturn'sffield portrayed Sega's mistakes with the Saturn as emblematic of the broader then-decline of the Japanese gaming industry: "They thought they were invincible, and that structure and hierarchy were necessary for their survival, but more flexibility, and a greater participation with the West could have saved them.

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