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Thread: How long a system got games into its successor's life

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    Default How long a system got games into its successor's life

    To many, including myself, a system is "dead" or "not current" once it's gotten its last licensed retail game. I say "licensed retail" because if you include homebrews, etc the Atari 2600 is still "current". Anyway, it reasons to believe that a successful system would be supported after its successor was released, but one of the longest in that regard was the Nintendo Wii, a system that was half-dead on the Wii U's arrival. I thought "the Wii may be the only system, at least launched post-Crash, where the last game came out a longer period of time after the successor came out than the successor came out to the original system." The last game for the Wii came out on November 5, 2019, 6.97 years (2,543 days) after the Wii U came out. But the Wii U came out just 6.00 years (2,191 days) after the Wii. That's a ratio of 1.16 to 1 or 116%. I would expect a typical successful console's ratio to be about 0.3 or 30%, i.e. if it came out at time 0 and a successor came out at time 10, the last game would be at time 13. Maybe 0.5 for some of the more recent consoles.

    Anyway, let's crunch the numbers. A negative number means the system didn't make it to its successor's life, i.e. -20% means that the system only made it 80% of the way to the successor's launch. The dates are: launch -> successor launch -> last game. If only a month is available, the middle date of that month is used (i.e. the 15th for a 28-30 day month and the 16th for a 31-day month) and July 2 is used in the case that only a year is available, that being the midpoint of the year, unless evidence points to a certain part of the year. USA release dates are used.

    Atari 2600: Sept. 11, 1977 -> Nov. 3, 1982 -> Mar. 1991. 5.15 years (1,879 days) from release to successor release. 8.37 years (3,099 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 164.9% (approximate).
    Atari 5200: Nov. 3, 1982 -> May 1986 -> 1986/87*. 3.53 years (1,290 days) from release to successor release. 0.63 years (230 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 17.8% (estimated, could be -10.4% to 46.1%)
    NES: Oct. 18, 1985* -> Aug. 23, 1991 -> Dec. 10, 1994. 5.85 years (2,135 days) from release to successor release. 3.30 years (1,205 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 56.4%.
    Sega Master System: Sept. 1986 -> Aug. 14, 1989 -> Oct. 25, 1991. 2.92 years (1,064 days) from release to successor release. 2.20 years (802 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 75.4%.
    Atari 7800*: May 1986 -> Nov. 23, 1993 -> late 1990. 7.53 years (2,748 days) from release to successor release. -3.15 years (-1,149 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: -41.8%

    https://www.randomterrain.com/atari-...tory-1991.html
    *For the 5200, I used Jan. 1, 1987 as the last game as there's disagreement over whether it was released in 1986 or 1987. The game, Gremlins, doesn't show up on sales charts until 1987 but it's often listed as coming out in 1986 so it's probably late 1986 or early 1987.
    *NES was launched nationwide by September 1986 but the earliest available date in the USA was Oct. 18, 1985.
    *Atari 7800's successor considered the Jaguar, not Lynx, as Lynx was a portable system. Atari intended to release a home console sooner (the Panther) but delays with that project combined with more rapid development of the Jaguar caused the Panther to be canceled. The last game, Midnight Mutants, is listed as Oct. 1, 1990 (3/4 of the way through 1990) as there were several 1990-released games but Midnight Mutants was the last.

    I'll finish the rest later.
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    Banana (Level 7) gbpxl's Avatar
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    that was probably the most confusing post I have ever read on this forum
    "It is an obscenity that we stigmatize so many young Americans with a criminal record for smoking marijuana, but not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our entire economy." - Bernie Sanders

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    that was probably the most confusing post I have ever read on this forum
    Let me try to de-mystify it. There are three critical dates here for each console. The release date, the successor's release date, and the date the last game came out.

    For instance, the NES. It came out October 18, 1985. Its successor, the SNES, came out August 23, 1991. The NES got its last game, Wario's Woods, on December 10, 1994.
    I looked at the period of time between the release of the console and the release of its successor, as well as the period of time between the release of the successor and the last game on the original console. Those periods of time, for the NES, are October 18, 1985 - August 23, 1991 and August 23, 1991 - December 10, 1994.

    In short, the period where the console was the most current in its series vs. the period where the successor had already come out but games were still coming out on the original console. In this case, the period the NES was most current vs. the period where the SNES was already out but the NES was still getting new games.

    Then I looked at how long each of those periods of time were. The former time period was about 5.85 years, or 2,135 days. The latter time period was about 3.30 years, or 1,205 days. That means the NES' lifespan included 5.85 years from its own release to the release of the successor console (SNES in this case), while it still got games for 3.30 years after the SNES launch.

    Then I divided the latter time period into the former. That's ~3.30 years (1,205 days) / ~5.85 years (2,135 days) or about 0.564. In percentage terms, 56.4%. That means that the NES' period of getting new games after the SNES launched was 56.4% as long as the period of time between the NES release and SNES release.

    The Master System's was 75.4% (meaning that it got new games for almost as long after the Genesis came out as before), the Atari 5200's was 17.8% (meaning that it didn't last long after the 7800 was released), and the 7800's was -41.8% (meaning that during the last 41.8% of the time between the 7800 release and Jaguar release, no new games were coming out on 7800). Anyway, I hope I made the idea more understandable for the readers.

    Also, I exclude systems that aren't really "successors", typically because a large amount of time passed between two systems for the same company. NES to SNES to N64 to GCN to Wii to Wii U to Switch, obvious line of successors. Atari 2600 to 5200 to 7800, obvious as well but Jaguar is stretching it, I included it nonetheless. Saturn and Dreamcast, despite the last game on Saturn coming out before the first on Dreamcast, are still successors. The Saturn, sadly, just wasn't successful enough in the USA to make it to the Dreamcast launch. Casio PV-1000 to Loopy, nope, because of the 12-year gap between them. Magnavox Odyssey to the dedicated console Odysseys to Odyssey 2, I didn't count them because they were of different types (dedicated consoles vs. traditional interchangeable media consoles). Finally, there's a lot of consoles that don't have a successor. The Fairchild Channel F, for instance, Fairchild's only console. Same goes for Turbo-Grafx 16, the PC-FX was not released in the USA. The Sega Dreamcast, end of the line for Sega.
    Last edited by WelcomeToTheNextLevel; 12-22-2019 at 12:41 AM.
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    Anyway, here's the continuation. See posts 1 and 3 for information.

    Sega Genesis: Aug. 14, 1989 -> May 11, 1995 -> Oct. 6, 1998. 5.74 years (2,096 days) from release to successor release. 3.41 years (1,244 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 59.4%.
    SNES: Aug. 23, 1991 -> Sept. 29, 1996 -> Oct. 6, 1998. 5.11 years (1,864 days) from release to successor release. 2.02 years (737 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 39.5%
    Sega Saturn: May 11, 1995 -> Sept. 9, 1999 -> Dec. 1998. 4.33 years (1,582 days) from release to successor release. -0.73 years (-267 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: -16.9%.
    PlayStation: Sept. 9, 1995 -> Oct. 26, 2000 -> Oct. 12, 2004. 5.13 years (1,874 days) from release to successor release. 3.96 years (1,447 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 77.2%.
    Nintendo 64: Sept. 29, 1996 -> Nov. 18, 2001 -> Aug. 20, 2002. 5.14 years (1,876 days) from release to successor release. 0.75 years (275 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 14.7%.
    PS2: Oct. 26, 2000 -> Nov. 17, 2006 -> Sept. 25, 2012. 6.06 years (2,213 days) from release to successor release. 5.86 years (2,139 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 96.7%.
    Xbox: Nov. 15, 2001 -> Nov. 22, 2005 -> Aug. 12, 2008. 4.02 years (1,468 days) from release to successor release. 2.72 years (994 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 67.7%.
    GameCube: Nov. 18, 2001 -> Nov. 19, 2006 -> Aug. 14, 2007. 5.00 years (1,827 days) from release to successor release. 0.73 years (268 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 14.7%.
    Xbox 360: Nov. 22, 2005 -> Nov. 22, 2013 -> Oct. 23, 2018. 8.00 years (2,922 days) from release to successor release. 4.92 years (1,796 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 61.5%.
    PS3: Nov. 17, 2006 -> Nov. 15, 2013 -> Sept. 28, 2018. 6.99 years (2,555 days) from release to successor release. 4.87 years (1,778 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 69.6%.
    Wii: Nov. 19, 2006 -> Nov. 18, 2012 -> Nov. 5, 2019*. 6.00 years (2,191 days) from release to successor release. 6.97 years (2,543 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 116.1% (could grow)
    Wii U: Nov. 18, 2012 -> Mar. 3, 2017 -> Dec. 25, 2019*. 4.29 years (1,566 days) from release to successor release. 2.81 years (1,027 days) from successor release to last game. Ratio: 65.6% (and counting)

    If it seems weird that the Genesis and SNES have the same release date for the last game, that's because they had the same last game: Frogger. A remake of a 1981 arcade game, becoming the last game on old consoles 17 years later.
    *The Wii and Wii U may see future releases.
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    Conclusions:

    -Most successful consoles lived on for about 60-80% additional time after their successor systems were launched, with the notable exception of Nintendo systems. Nintendo, in the past, were pretty quick about cutting bait on their old systems once a new one came out. Of the "successful" non-Nintendo consoles, 4 of the 7 were in this range and the Sega Genesis was extremely close at 59.4%, for a total of 5 (these being the aforementioned Genesis, the PS1, the Xbox, the Xbox 360 and the PS3). The PS2 was an outlier, and the Atari 2600 an extreme outlier, with its period of life after the 5200 launch (1982-1991) being two-thirds longer than its life before the 2600 launch!

    -Just Dance basically kept the Wii afloat. Aside from the 2600, it was the only console to have a longer life after its successor console (in this case, the Wii U) was released than before. However almost anyone with knowledge of video gaming will tell you that the six years the Wii was out before the Wii U launch were much more active years in the Wii's life than than the seven years between the Wii U's release and the final Wii game. For four of those years, it was literally Just Dance holding the Wii up. Disregard Just Dance (and Let's Sing, a very similar game) and the Wii's last game goes to November 20, 2015. 3.01 years (1,097 days) after the Wii U's release, a ratio of 50.1%, much more in line with Nintendo's most successful consoles, the NES and SNES.

    -The two systems that died before their successor was released both had short lives of 3-4 years. However, the Sega Master System's lifespan was short as well, being succeeded by the Genesis while its biggest competitor, the NES, was reaching its peak. However, the relatively short period of time between the Master System and Genesis releases combined with Sega's marketing of the system as a budget console during the earliest Genesis years meant that the Master System survived almost as long after the Genesis came out as it had before.

    -Just because games are coming out doesn't mean a lot of games, or good games, are coming out, or that the system is still in production. The original Xbox ceased production in August 2005 when Nvidia stopped making the GPU, but it still got new games for three years. There hasn't been a Wii built in over two years - six years if you don't count the Wii Mini - and yet a game came out last month. The Wii U has been out of production for basically three years and still gets eShop games. Similarly, systems can still be produced after their last game comes out. The PS1 was still being made until March 23, 2006. Its last game was nearly a year and a half old by that point. Nevertheless, most systems cease production within a year (either side) of their last game coming out.
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    The SNES release date listed as 8-23-91 is debateable... I remember reading in a magazine that it was something like August 14th or something like that... it was an old issue of EGM from August or September of 91. if I get really bored ill track down the article
    "It is an obscenity that we stigmatize so many young Americans with a criminal record for smoking marijuana, but not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our entire economy." - Bernie Sanders

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    well I couldnt find the article but essentially it looked like a newspaper article. i know it was earlier than the 23rd though. maybe some of the older forum members here can shed more light on this if they were there for the launch
    "It is an obscenity that we stigmatize so many young Americans with a criminal record for smoking marijuana, but not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our entire economy." - Bernie Sanders

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