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Thread: Sega's SVP processor: Should they have used this instead of the 32X?

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    Default Sega's SVP processor: Should they have used this instead of the 32X?

    The 32X seems to have been a bad idea, requiring a whole add-on to a system that was mere months from being superceded. It tried to offer a premium 32-bit experience on the Genesis, a sort of "half-step" between the stock Genny and the Saturn. Instead, people ignored it in favor of the upcoming Saturn. Those who bought into it at launch were out $160 for an add-on where a good percentage of the games were half-assed Genesis ports.

    But the Sega Virtua Processor (SVP) could provide a premium experience without having to buy any extra hardware. Nintendo made great use of enhancement chips, and games with Super FX chips inside could give the 32X a run for its money. They pushed these enhanced games and found great success with them. The Genesis wasn't designed to make use of enhancement chips as well as the SNES was, but it would have been something to provide that "half-step between 16-bit and 32-bit gen experience" that Nintendo was doing well. While the only game with the SVP, Virtua Racing, was 100 bucks at launch, if they'd made more SVP's prices probably would have come down and $80 games would have been a possibility. In addition, games with the SVP chip would have to be something a cut above standard Genesis fare to sell at the higher prices, whereas the 32X games didn't have to prove themselves in such a way. I don't think Sega would have done as well as Nintendo going down the enhancement chip route, but I think 10-15 good SVP games in 1994-1995 would have helped Sega compete with Nintendo's Super FX games while avoiding the 32X debacle, positioning the Saturn as Sega's one true 32-bit system.
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    I dunno-Nintendo had what, 8 Super FX based games? Aside from Star Fox and Super Mario World 2, did the other games really get much of an audience?

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    32X should have never existed



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    Quote Originally Posted by YoshiM View Post
    I dunno-Nintendo had what, 8 Super FX based games? Aside from Star Fox and Super Mario World 2, did the other games really get much of an audience?
    Doom for the SNES was a SuperFX2 game. Not an SNES exclusive of course but definitely a major audience. The core issue at the time with the 32X was simply that consumers (at least real gamers) already knew the Saturn was coming. Today that wouldn't matter because people are willing to spend more than the 32X cost back then on limited edition statues.

    The XBOX One X and PS4 Pro are proof a modern 32X would work. But back then a console generation was a much bigger deal. This kind of thing happened to Sega again with the Dreamcast as consumers waited for the PS2, despite the Dreamcast having arguably the best launch lineup of all time.

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    I wonder if a special chip put into Genesis cartridges along the lines of the 32X's hardware would work since the cartridge port might not be able to power those chipsets. Consider that the 32X needed almost the same power requirements as the actual Genesis console. They probably struggled just to get the SVP working on a stock Genesis without drawing too much power and burning out the console's motherboards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArcadePerfect View Post
    Doom for the SNES was a SuperFX2 game. Not an SNES exclusive of course but definitely a major audience. The core issue at the time with the 32X was simply that consumers (at least real gamers) already knew the Saturn was coming. Today that wouldn't matter because people are willing to spend more than the 32X cost back then on limited edition statues.

    The XBOX One X and PS4 Pro are proof a modern 32X would work. But back then a console generation was a much bigger deal. This kind of thing happened to Sega again with the Dreamcast as consumers waited for the PS2, despite the Dreamcast having arguably the best launch lineup of all time.
    WelcomeToTheNextLevel had thought that Sega might have had a better chance competing with Nintendo's Super FX enhanced games. That's why I asked if there was an audience for those titles on the SNES to see if there actually WAS competition. I could see if Nintendo were cranking out these cartridges but they really didn't so there really wasn't any competition.

    I saw the 32X as what Intel did with their Overdrive chip for 486 machines: give close to "next level" performance for those that don't want to drop the cash on a new system. It was the "budget gamer upgrade". The real problem was no developer really made use of the 32X's abilities. Most titles, if memory served, were ports of titles you could get on Genesis without much enhancement. If it had better "proper" support, things might have been a little different. Based on the retail climate and sheer competition, it probably wpuldn't have made much of a difference.

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    SNES had a number of enhancement chips, beyond the SuperFX series. They had the DSP series, SA-1, Cx4, ST series and others. These provided additional RAM, processing (as well as speed), etc., all of which allowed developers to program games to do things, often in 3D, that the SNES and its slow CPU could not. Yes they cost money to include, but Nintendo itself often put these chipped games out, and ate that cost easily. From what I've read over the years, SEGA did not wish to spend the money on the chips. I believe Nintendo was actually helping pay for some of those chip games even on 3rd party games.
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