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Thread: What if the Nintendo 64 had been CD-based?

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    Strawberry (Level 2)
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    Default What if the Nintendo 64 had been CD-based?

    It's a question I'm sure has been on thousands of retrogamers' minds. Let's say that the Nintendo 64 had been a CD-based console. Nothing else has changed about the system, it still has the same processor, controller, etc. It still launches on September 29, 1996, into the same console market. How does this change the outcome of the console race in its generation? What are the effects on later generations?

    In reality, the PS1 sold 102.49 million units, the Nintendo 64, 32.93 million, and the Sega Saturn 9.26 million.

    I think it would have greatly benefited Nintendo; Sony would have still been successful but not market-dominant, and the Saturn would have still failed. The optical drive probably would have necessitated a launch price of $299, matching the PlayStation's launch price, thus making the N64 more expensive than the PlayStation or Saturn for a time. Both of those consoles were at $199 by September 1996. Stuff like Final Fantasy would have stuck with Nintendo, in fact, there would have been A LOT more third party games coming to N64. Also, imagine Super Mario 64 with more levels, even more expansive Zelda games, Perfect Dark perfected, all thanks to the 700 MB CDs. Plus games at $40-50 like PlayStation instead of $60-80.

    Sony had a year's head start over Nintendo and loads of third-party support. I feel like the PlayStation would have still been very successful against a CD-based N64. My guess is that both PS1 and N64 would have ended up selling 65-75 million units, being superseded by new consoles around 2001 but still getting games until 2003-2004. If anything, things would have been even more difficult for Sega, and they probably would have canned the Saturn in 1998 like they did in real life. Microsoft would have still probably entered the console market with moderate success. Nintendo, seeing that piracy wasn't the system-killer they made it out to be, would probably go with DVD's for the GameCube, and indeed their future consoles would probably be more similar to others on the market, with them differentiating themselves primarily through their unique IPs. Would wii have seen the motion controls of the Wii? Not really sure.
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    ServBot (Level 11) Niku-Sama's Avatar
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    i think if the use of CDs came with a different controller i could see Sony and Nintendo selling roughly the same amount of units.
    the more people io talk to over the years the more people i find had an issue with the controller.

    sure that didnt stop a lot of people from buying the thing but it was definitely a part of its sales i'm sure.

    I didnt buy a N64 new because of the controller, and when i got my playstation it was the first dual shock bundle that was available

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    Greg2600's Avatar
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    I'll say no...

    Back then, the general aesthetics of N64 screamed TOY. You had multi-colored, large controllers, as well as consoles, and the games remained as carts. It cost more in general than the PS1 or SAT, both of which came off more as gaming/entertainment choices. At the time, there was hardly any discussion about the medium of choice. That being said, PS1's often broke down or CD's got scratched. This was never an issue on the N64, being fully solid state. Granted kids mangled the analog stick plenty, but for the most part the N64 was solid.

    Anyway, my point is that from a consumer's standpoint, I do not believe the CD would have done much differently for the 64. It's possible that certain 3rd party games that utilized lots of FMV and/or CDDA on their PC offerings could have done the same on this console. IF they wished to. The N64 was a vastly different system to program on, and games did not port as easily as they might have on Saturn or PlayStation. So I'm not sure the cartridge ever made that much of a difference? EA had no problems putting Madden games out, after all. I personally don't think the CD/cart made a big difference. Also, N would have insisted on exceptional copy protection, even if they agreed to use a CD, which was a big reason they didn't.
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    Insert Coin (Level 0)
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    It would not matter because the

    0. PSX released via 1993 and even before that teams was working on games for the hardware while in dev.

    Yes the "CD64" would have probably outshine SONY only for the Nintendo name. Remember SONY also did two things.

    1. Gave free marketing to anybody making SONY games.
    2. Had use of 3d designers, who was mostly about story telling and movies.


    Think your a game dev, and your saying "People will keep on buying Nintendo only games but Sony will give me free marketing and my team was already set for this CD-SNES thing"

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