A New Reality: An alternate Console wars

Putting the N in unite
Nintendo and Silicon Graphics confirm "Project Reality"; New disk-based console in development
As sourced by the New York Times

Yesterday on August 23rd, 1993, Silicon Graphics Incorporated has confirmed that they are collaborating with Japanese video game giant Nintendo to create a new console set to release sometime in 1995 [1]. The new system would incorporate 64-bit technology provided by SGI's subsidiary, MIPS Technologies, as well as a disk drive and other hardware provided by electronics company Philips. Philips originally collaborated with Nintendo to create a CD-based addon for the popular Super Nintendo Entertainment System that, so far, has yet to be released, as well as the ill-fated CD-I Multiplayer system [2]. Minoru Arakawa, Founder and president of Nintendo of America stated "The project is a work in progress. However, I'm determined to believe that our efforts with these two companies will be worth the time and trouble." As of now, not much information is otherwise known as Nintendo, SGI, and Philips refuse to answer further questions regarding the matter, but more information may be available as time proceeds.
[1] - Aside from the disk-based hardware this is essentially OTL. Nintendo wanted to release "Project Reality" in '95 but had to delay it for technical reasons. Of course, this project eventually become the well-remembered Nintendo 64.

[2] For the POD, let's just say that the CD-I does "a little bit worse than OTL." Worse enough for Philips to abandon the system earlier (only by mid to late '94 so if you're worried about those funny Nintendo CD-I games turned memes being butterflied, don't. They're pretty much here to stay). Anyway, Philips scraps the CD-I and partners with Nintendo, again, but this time to made a CD-based version of OTL's, N64.

So after almost a year since my last timeline pretty much got abandoned, I decided to make a new one. This time about an alternate N64 and it's effects on the video game industry and maybe even beyond. This timeline was primarily influenced by Narissa's At Your Service and Confortius' Beyond the Genesis, though other timelines such as RySenkari's and Nivek's work in the Player Two Start series have played some influence (some ideas or events you may recognize from all of the aforementioned TLs may be in this as well, if you actually know their work, that is) . Speaking of which, I don't necessarily want to make this project as extensive as their's (as much as I want to) due to a lesser amount of both resources, talent, and motivation. Because of that, this TL more or less serves as a thought exercise/fun little project to do. I may take suggestions and ideas, but probably only when I need help for alternate game ideas the further this timeline progresses, though don't expect every idea to be taken to consideration. Nevertheless, I hope whoever reads this enjoys what I have to write and hopefully I can have better luck with this than my last project.
 
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Feeling Blue
September 1st, 1993

Hayao Nakayama was not happy.

A little more than a week ago Nintendo announced they have partnered with SGI to create a 64-bit system by 1995, a system that he's worried could destroy what competition it had, including his own company. Sega.

Nintendo was not the first company to be offered SGI's 64-bit technology. In fact, Sega themselves were the company's first choice. While Sega of America head Tom Kalinske and SOA's research and development head Joe Miller's interest was peaked with their offerings, Nakayama himself was not and he shot down the deal. Around the same time, Electronics giant Sony had offered to collaborate Sega after they lost their contract for Nintendo to develop a CD addon for the SNES to Philips. Again, Tom was excited, Hayao was not, The deal went nowhere. Same story, different day. Now he was starting to worry that both decisions were going to bite him back. Hard.

There were some ideas that he considered that could pick up some steam for the company against the two. One of which included another addon for the Mega Drive (called the Genesis in North America) that can render 32-bit graphics. However the more he thought about it, the less appealing these ideas were. The Mega Drive had been out in Japan since 1988 and the west since 1989; almost half of a decade! Not to mention that the Mega Drive itself isn't all that popular in Japan as opposed to the West and it doesn't seem like anything could change that. While the system still had some teeth, Nakayama knew that there isn't that much time left for it. He eventually decided that from now on, All technological resources would be diverted to their next console. [1]

He then decided to call up Kalinske, stating his thoughts and brainstorming what to do next. While Kalinske was still very supportive of continued support for the Genesis, he too realized that Perhaps it is best to divert resources to the new system. Luckily for them, there was one company that had lent it's support for the device. That company's name was Hitachi.

[1] This of course means that the infamous 32X is well and truly butterflied, though many of it's games will find a new home in the shape of the "new console."
 
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though other timelines such as RySenkari's and Nivek's work have played some influence
Thanks for the mention and nice you mentioned Beyond the Genesis, i liked that TL, a shame just died

That company's name was Hitachi.
The more things change the more they stay the same.

Amazing to buddy, very nice start and thanks to the POD, YouTube poop is safe
(only by mid to late '94 so if you're worried about those funny Nintendo CD-I games turned memes being butterflied, don't. They're pretty much here to stay).
 
Setting the Stones
1993-1996 marked as an interesting time for the console industry. While the current generation with the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis was still going strong during this era, it also marked companies setting the stones for the next generation. This was most significant with the transition from 2D to 3D gaming and the development and release of three consoles; the Sega Saturn, the Ultra Nintendo Entertainment System, and the Sony Playstation [1].

The Saturn began its development around late-1992, but actual development of the system went into full force by late-1993 when Nakayama chose to concentrate more resources into the system. There were many ideas that were considered for the system, though some never got off the ground. For example, there was some consideration to add a second SH-2 chip into the system as a way to counter the power of Sega's competitors' products, but the idea proved fruitless when during development, it was discovered that this idea would only make it more difficult for developers to make games for the system, potentially hindering future releases. It was ultimately decided that the system would keep it's singular SH-2 chip running about 30 Megahertz, keeping the system developer friendly but also letting it be strong enough to run 3D games. One unique feature regarding the system would be the inclusion of a cartridge slot built to support future addons. However, the Saturn would not be backwards compatible with the Genesis nor the Sega CD, which caused some issues with western individuals who did not want to buy a system that wouldn't play games with their old one, but this criticism would ultimately not matter once the system released.

The UNES began development between late 1993 and early 1994, with its launch planned to be sometime in late-1995. While the system did receive considerable support for development from Philips, among others, the UNES wouldn't be released until mid-1996 due to technical roadblocks and other issues down the road. Similar to the Saturn, the UNES would not be backwards compatible with previous systems and would feature an addon slot for future projects. Unlike the Saturn, however, the UNES would support a full 64-bit chip developed by MIPS Technologies (SGI's subsidiary) and four controller slots instead of 2. Despite the system's hype and promise, the SNES still received considerable support all the way up to the UNES' launch, with titles such as the Donkey Kong Country trilogy, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, and the sequel to their 3D magnum opus, Star Fox [2]. There were also a few setbacks within the company during these years, most infamously the Virtual Boy; a 32-bit system styled as a virtual reality-supportive successor to the Game Boy. Despite the hype, the Virtual Boy was ultimately a failure due to the lack of a sizable library and graphics that actually gave users headaches and eye strain the longer they played. It was bad enough that the system played a pivotal role in Gunpei Yokoi (an influential individual within the Nintendo company and an architect of it's success) to leave the company in the same year the UNES launched. However, There was still lots of hope for their system, hope that was eventually be worth it.

While the Saturn and the UNES had considerable leverage throughout development, there was a third company hoping to make stray within the gaming industry itself: Sony. Sony wasn't exactly new to gaming as they helped manufacture the MSX, a popular computer in Japan with a large quantity of games. They also had their own game publishing firm in the form of Sony Imagesoft, although this company was never exactly successful regarding the industry. However, their main drive to the industry was their failed collaboration with Nintendo. Both companies originally collaborated to create a CD addon to the SNES as a response to the TurboGrafx-CD and the Sega CD. While the project originally got on well, conflicts regarding Sony's contract with Nintendo and later Nintendo's decision to partner with Philips to create the addon ultimately led to the deal falling apart, leaving Sony bitter about their current situation. Under the influence of Ken Kutaragi, Sony attempted to create a new console of their own (but not before offering the system to Sega, which SOJ denied). While various third parties such as 3DO, NEC, and even Atari, among others attempted to battle against the juggernauts that were Nintendo and Sega and failed, Sony wanted to succeed; and despite the issues down the road, they were, in a way, successful.

[1] Yeah, it is a very cliche name, but "Nintendo 64" and "Nintendo Ultra 64" aren't really names I would consider when naming a new console either.

[2] OTL, this game was essentially complete, but was never released until the SNES mini due to the then-upcoming release of the N64. But here, thanks to the butterfly effect (and mainly because I want to) it is released originally as intended, leading to some consequences for the Star Fox series.
 
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Star Fox [3].
Nice star Fox 2 go released, yeah very big butterflies, specially when people wait the 3 for UNES

Another butterfly might be Nintendo localizing terranigma and tales of phantasia as they planned but dropped it in the americas

A shame N64 name got butterfly away.

Still the board is set, next gen
 
Oh wow, I’m glad I was able to help inspire this, there never can be too many gaming AHs, and I really can’t wait to see where you go with this, I’ll make sure to keep an eye and commentate :)
 
Oh wow, I’m glad I was able to help inspire this, there never can be too many gaming AHs, and I really can’t wait to see where you go with this, I’ll make sure to keep an eye and commentate :)
You should make another one too beta
 
Thanks for the mention and nice you mentioned Beyond the Genesis, i liked that TL, a shame just died


The more things change the more they stay the same.

Amazing to buddy, very nice start and thanks to the POD, YouTube poop is safe
Oh wow, I’m glad I was able to help inspire this, there never can be too many gaming AHs, and I really can’t wait to see where you go with this, I’ll make sure to keep an eye and commentate :)
I'm glad both of you enjoy this so far. However, I do have to bring up that there isn't really a set schedule I have for making updates (especially for the next week or two as I will have important events to participate during that time). With that said, I do hope you stick around for what its worth.
 
I'm glad both of you enjoy this so far. However, I do have to bring up that there isn't really a set schedule I have for making updates (especially for the next week or two as I will have important events to participate during that time). With that said, I do hope you stick around for what its worth.
No problem them, this thread is back to hibernation, waiting next update buddy
 
Launching into Orbit (part 1)
On November 22nd, 1994, the Sega Saturn was officially released to the public for ¥44,800. While it wasn't the first 32-bit system nor was it the first of the fifth generation, it was the first of both to be considered commercially viable to the general market. The system mostly came with ports from previous systems and arcades as launch titles, though some original games were also avaliable. The list of titles include:

  • Space Harrier
  • Virtua Racing
  • Clockwork Knight, a 2.5D platformer about a toy soldier who most rescue a toy princess after she's been kidnapped [1]
  • Virtua Fighter
  • Panzer Dragoon, a rail shooter somewhat similar to Star Fox, but with dragons instead of spaceships [2]
While the list of titles for the Saturn could be considered subpar at best, the game Virtua Fighter proved a great attraction for players and the system sold exceptionally well. In fact, the Saturn sold about more than 200,000 units within it's first day, making it Sega's most successful console launch by far. By the end of the year, the Saturn sold 500,000 units, especially as new releases later trickled in. While the Playstation would serve as tough competition in Japan, the saturn was, so far, successful. This fact would later be solidified when the system released in the United States on May 13th, 1995, otherwise known to Sega fans as "Saturnday." [3]

[1] With the system having a less complex technical structure and more resources to use from without the 32X, Clockwork Knight was developed and released as a launch title as originally intended.

[2] Same story as above.

[3] For the same reasons as the two above games were released earlier, less development issues and no 32X means that the planned release of the Saturn is earlier than IOTL, so the whole retailer debacle when Sega released the system in May instead of September does not happen.
 
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Definitely got a lot going for it, this TL. I was expecting a crossover between Nintendo and Sony relating to the unreleased 64 Disk Drive, but this has the makings of “console wars but all the consoles are better than OTL” which I’m all for.


A shame N64 name got butterfly away.
Hopefully Goldeneye still gets released for UNES.
 
Definitely got a lot going for it, this TL. I was expecting a crossover between Nintendo and Sony relating to the unreleased 64 Disk Drive, but this has the makings of “console wars but all the consoles are better than OTL” which I’m all for.




Hopefully Goldeneye still gets released for UNES.
When I had thoughts about doing a video game timeline, I wanted it to be a multi-party one since they're some of the more fun ones. I didn't want to do the whole "Nintendo and Sony stick together" trope as that's one of the more common ideas of alternate game TLs. Plus there's already a 3-part timeline about that idea so there's that. As for Goldeneye, don't worry about it. In fact I have quite a few plans regarding Rare as a whole, so stay tuned for that.
 
Saturday was to be September, otl was because e3 buddy
I know, but I decided that the system should be released earlier than September since I felt September was too distant for an American release of the system. Plus I thought that with less troubled development, Sega would've planned to release it than with the OTL planned release date. Hence the system is planned for release in May instead of September, so the whole division between Sega and retailers does not happen.
 
I know, but I decided that the system should be released earlier than September since I felt September was too distant for an American release of the system. Plus I thought that with less troubled development, Sega would've planned to release it than with the OTL planned release date. Hence the system is planned for release in May instead of September, so the whole division between Sega and retailers does not happen.
Well them, hope they got enough third parties game on the pipeline.
 
Well them, hope they got enough third parties game on the pipeline.
Form what I can incur on Wikipedia, big titles like resident evil, ridge racer, and Tomb raider weren't ready until 96. The only big third party games I can see making the jump to Saturn this year is Ace Combat and The Need For Speed.
 
Form what I can incur on Wikipedia, big titles like resident evil, ridge racer, and Tomb raider weren't ready until 96. The only big third party games I can see making the jump to Saturn this year is Ace Combat and The Need For Speed.
Correct. While the Saturn's third party lineup would not start off strong, especially at launch, it will become larger and more attractive as time goes on, especially with some of TTL'S games.
 
Correct. While the Saturn's third party lineup would not start off strong, especially at launch, it will become larger and more attractive as time goes on, especially with some of TTL'S games.
Yeah but behind the scenes, the surprise launch did make third parties angry, seems here as not 32x and that date was fixed since day 1 might work, still we've in a era videogame could be made in months, the extra months would be vital to port or improve games at launch too
 
Correct. While the Saturn's third party lineup would not start off strong, especially at launch, it will become larger and more attractive as time goes on, especially with some of TTL'S games.
Yeah but behind the scenes, the surprise launch did make third parties angry, seems here as not 32x and that date was fixed since day 1 might work, still we've in a era videogame could be made in months, the extra months would be vital to port or improve games at launch too
Well my next question is this: which retailers got the Saturn on launch day. KB toys were so mad about it, they boycotted all sega merch until they went 3rd party.
 
Well my next question is this: which retailers got the Saturn on launch day. KB toys were so mad about it, they boycotted all sega merch until they went 3rd party.
I'm thinking pretty much all of the retailers that Sega made contracts with IOTL before the surprise launch, including KB Toys. The main difference here is that without there being a surprise launch, the Saturn actually got sold in these stores as scheduled.
 
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