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Ten Unreleased Video Game Consoles 5

adeelarshad82 writes "It's been almost four decades now since the first video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, made waves in electronic entertainment. With such a long and varied history of video game systems behind us, it should be no surprise that more than a few consoles were planned but never made it to market. Even though concepts like Odyssey 3, Phantom and others were marketable, unfortunately they never made it into production."
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Ten Unreleased Video Game Consoles

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  • by Shrike82 ( 1471633 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @06:56AM (#36151334)
    Really fascinating to see some of the designs games companies considered. The Ultravision Video Arcade System in particular has that amazing retro look to it (yes I'm aware that it's nearly 30 years old and is actually retro). It looks like something you'd discover in Fallout 3, lost in the back rooms of an abandoned factory.
  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @07:02AM (#36151374) Journal

    The most "recent" of the consoles-that-never-were in TFA is the Phantom. The reasons behind its failure are too many and varied to list here (and probably too well known to be worthwhile). Certainly, Infinium Labs did absolutely everything it could to appear incredibly dodgy and untrustworthy. Even if it hadn't been for that, it was clear that they were designing a product that their target market (regular console and PC gamers) were not interested in.

    However, I wondered at the time and still wonder now whether there wasn't actually a market for a Phantom-style console - just not in the general consumer market. I mean, the thing was designed to be built with cheap PC components and to run what were essentially PC games, distributed digitally. Back then, of course, there wasn't the kind of broadband penetration in homes that has enabled Steam to get as big as it has in the interim. Even without that problem, the prospect of a cheap, but non-upgrable and fully locked down, box capable of playing current PC games (but probably not future ones given the way that PC gaming specs evolve over time) was a pretty poor pitch to make to Joe Public.

    Where they might have had more success, I suspect, is in trying to push the console to the hospitality sector, airlines and other corporate customers. I can imagine that hotels might have liked the idea of a simple, cheap games console that could have been stuck in a sealed cabinet and allowed visitors to play games in their room (possibly on a pay-for-play basis) without any messy physical media sitting around to be stolen. A lot of airlines already use (crappy) in-flight games systems, but the Phantom sounded as though it had the potential to do somethng significantly better. Certainly, with the hardware they were talking about at the time, a single machine would have been able to run "simple" games for a large number of passengers. There were plenty of other venues where machine like that might have been useful.

    In the model I have in my mind, the Phantom wouldn't have been competing with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo - it would have been opening up a new market, albeit not a particularly public-facing one.

    Oh well, it's probably all just pointless speculation - in all likelihood there was never actually a product to market to these industries anyway. But sometimes it's fun to speculate on what might have been.

    On a side note, the first console listed in TFA - the Sega Neptune - has gained a strange sort of posthumous recognition. A "moefied" anthropomorphic version of it is the main character in the Japanese RPG "Hyperdimenson Neptunia". It's just a pity that the game in question is without a doubt the single worst title I have ever (however briefly) inflicted upon my PS3 (to the extent I found myself feeling sorry for a piece of Sony hardware).

  • [] John 64 and Mel Gibson Safari 3. Thank Marty Poom for the PC versions!
  • What the industry needs right now is a console that could go head-on with the most popular consoles... Aside from that, they should also consider that most of today's games have been built to be played on Wii, Xbox, PS3, 3DS etc... I think that's one reason why they don't just put a brilliant console idea into production...

Money can't buy love, but it improves your bargaining position. -- Christopher Marlowe