While there are a lot of things up for debate in the world of gaming, there are some things that every gamer can agree on. That’s saying a lot considering the industry we love has become one of the most polarizing entertainment mediums that humanity has ever known. Shakespeare, Twain and Orwell would be amazed at the controversy – both positive and negative – that has come from the games that release on our consoles and personal computers. However we’re not looking at the media uproar that surrounds the release of each new Grand Theft Auto or even the bickering that goes on between fans of rival consoles. Instead, we’re looking at some of the most absurdly stupid mistakes made in the history of this fascinating industry and how those decisions have shaped the world of gaming. You may be familiar with some of these decisions, while others might have eluded you up until now. Either way, there’s no denying that these choices listed below were the wrong ones.
Atari Opting Not to Partner with and Distribute the NES
Imagine what the landscape of the video game industry would look like today if Atari had taken Nintendo up on their offer and distributed the Nintendo Entertainment System in the west as their own instead of trying to go it alone with the 5200 and 7800 consoles. Depending on who you talk to, the whole deal for Atari to distribute the NES fell through because Atari was angry with Nintendo over a deal Nintendo has signed that gave Colecovision sole console rights to Donkey Kong. Nintendo was completely ready to have the biggest name in gaming (at the time) handle the NES, but Atari was too consumed with suing Colecovision. Nintendo eventually got fed up and went it alone with the NES. It turned out to be a great choice for Nintendo, but easily one of the stupidest decisions by Atari. The rest, as they say, is history.
MS Declining Sega’s Offer of Dreamcast Compatibility in the Xbox
Before we even get into what led up to this poor decision by Microsoft, let’s just think about what it could have done for the Xbox brand in Japan. It’s no secret that Microsoft has struggled in the east. Both the Xbox and Xbox 360 have had the distinction as sales stinkers in Japan. This is despite both MS and their supportive publishers attempts to garner a following with special editions and limited run console bundles that Westerners would jump at in a heartbeat. So what’s this Sega deal we’re talking about? Sega wanted to allow MS to include full backwards compatibility of all Dreamcast games in the original Xbox. Sega felt it would bolster sales of the MS console while simultaneously keeping the DC name alive. It would have also helped Xbox LIVE with games ready to play online. MS, however only wanted Xbox games to be playable online. We can only speculate on the damage this decision has caused MS in Japan, but it’s pretty safe to say that this stupid stubborn choice cost MS a lot of sales.
Sony Launching the PS3 at Such a High Price Point
Thank goodness this is one of those decisions that were able to be rectified unlike some of the other monumental screw-ups on this list. While the choice to launch the Playstation 3 at such a high price point hurt the console by driving consumers to cheaper alternatives offered by Microsoft and Nintendo, we can really fault Sony that much. Yes the price put the console out of reach for a lot of gamers, but the components inside the original lineup of SKUs were very expensive. The most expensive part of the console turned out to be one of the driving forces behind sales – the Blu ray drive. However, if Sony had made the decision to take a little bit more of a pinch on each console sold by launching at a lower price point, they could have easily recouped the losses in software royalties. They would have also won the next-gen movie media format war a lot faster. This would have resulted in studios jumping onboard the Blu ray train sooner, which would have meant more money in Sony’s corporate pockets too. Even though the situation has been fixed, we still wonder how much better off Sony would have been if they launched the console at a lower price point.