After the high sales of the Genesis video game console, Sega’s next standalone video game console, released on this day in history, was much less successful.
In the early 1990s, the Sega Genesis video game console went head-to-head with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System thanks to franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog and strong third-party support.
While the company released two add-ons for the Genesis, one adding a CD drive and another adding 32-bit technology for higher graphical capability, these were not extremely successful.
To compete with the upcoming Sony Playstation and Ultra 64 (later Nintendo 64), Sega developed the 32-bit Saturn console. It was released with a surprise early launch in May 11th, 1995 for $399.
The Saturn had CD-based games, with the ability to save game data on either a battery or a seperate add-on memory cartridge.
Despite many ports of Sega’s popular arcade titles such as Daytona USA, Virtua Fighter, and Virtua Cop, the sales of the system began to decline by 1997. Eventually, many future titles, including a 3D Sonic platformer, were canceled and the system was abandoned by 1998.
Sega later shifted its focus to the Sega Dreamcast system, which while more successful than the Saturn, eventually folded after a few years. Sega then adopted what they called a “platform agnostic” policy, and published games for previous competitors, like Sony and Nintendo.
Some gamers hold the Saturn in high regard to this day, for its many arcade ports, Sega exclusives like Nights into Dreams, RPGs and more—including some games only released in Japan.