Competition Between Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation

sega megadrive and playstation controller

Yesterday I ended up watching a video from YouTube. It dealt with some difficulties that Sega Saturn had and how it could compete against Sony PlayStation back in the 90s. The person that was interviewed was Hideki Sato. The interview took place in 2018. I will place a link to this video at the end of this blog post. So, just keep reading.

There were differences in hardware between these two gaming consoles. PlayStation was able to bring 3D environments to gamers while many Saturn games had 2D graphics that were based on graphics created with sprites. Although Sega tried to bring some developers that had some ability in designing 3D games they weren’t as successful. Sega did have games like Virtua Fighter and Virtua Racing that were also popular in arcades.

Sony had an opportunity to utilize hardware that they manufactured by themselves while Sega had to use contractors. Parts that were needed were different kinds of chips, processors and, for example, CD drives. Sega was more of a software and game development company. This was a matter that would be stressed to Sega by Sony several times. This was also the direction that Sega finally took later when also Dreamcast seemed to fail.

Sony also made it easier for other game developers to make games for their new console. We were then living the age of 1990s. Sony PlayStation was released in 1995 and so was also Sega Saturn. Sega relied on assembler code while Sony gave game developers a full SDK (“software development kit”) that they could develop their games with.

If you think that Saturn ended up selling 9 million units in its lifespan while PlayStation sold 102 million units it isn’t hard to figure that there were also much more games sold for PSX than there actually were for Saturn. As usually manufacturers have to sell consoles with a loss and make up with game sells. This was difficult for Sega and they made a strong loss in sales. They took a beating.

In the end of the 1980s when Sega’s last console, Mega Drive, or Genesis in USA, Sega had the most powerful gaming console in the markets. It competed mainly with Nintendo Entertainment System or NES for short. This console also sold nicely. It sold 31 million units while NES sold 62 million units. With all this information available Sega wasn’t done with manufacturing their own consoles. After all, still, Sony was unbeatable. Sony has remained a top console manufacturer since it released their first console PlayStation. Microsoft entered the competition when their Xbox was launched in the beginning of the 2000s. Xbox mainly competed with PS2 but also with GameCube and Dreamcast.

When it comes to who won the competition between these two gaming systems Sony PlayStation is a clear winner. Saturn still remains a popular console in minds of serious retro gamers. It has games that are unique and cannot be found on other retro consoles. This topic seems to be very interesting. At least it is that way in my mind.

You can find the video that inspired me to write this blog post here.

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