Gaming consoles you’ve never heard of

When talking about video gaming consoles, most probably, there are only three things in your mind: Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. These gaming consoles have had a total of billions in sales over the years.

Actually, they aren’t the only companies making video games consoles. In fact, there are lots of them that were good, but for some reason, completely flopped and did not reach into the mainstream.

Sometimes, it’s because of crappy marketing, poor company management, or too expensive, and sometimes it’s because of one of the company’s executives’ relations to the mafia.

Philips CD-i (1991)

Image source: https://www.retrogamer.net/profiles/hardware/philips-cd-i/

In the ’90s, the Philips CD-i was quietly revolutionary but quickly lost its fame to bigger, better consoles after a few years.

In fact, the Philips CD-i was the first video game console to support games on CDs, but its marketing has directed it to a more of a movie entertainment platform rather than a video game console.  Strangely though, the CD-i is also the only non-Nintendo console to ever exclusively feature Nintendo games, like Mario, Legend of Zelda, and Link: The Faces of Evil.

Panasonic 3DO (1993)

3DO’s business model is different compared to other gaming consoles.  It could be made by any company(mostly Panasonic) that licensed the design from the parent 3DO company. In this way, the 3DO was kind of a CD player, in that they weren’t made by just one manufacturer.

The system specs depend on which company was manufacturing it, the 3DO would vary slightly. But it’s very expensive compared to other consoles. Together with its push to be a multimedia player instead of a gaming console doomed it to failure.

Game.com (1997)

Pronounced as “game-com” was sort of an early offshoot to the Nintendo DS. “Game-com” is a portable and the first gaming console that came with a touchscreen and a stylus pen. 

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Game_com.jpg

Moreover, it had some Pocket PC-like features, like its built-in calculator, calendar, and email address book. And as the name suggests, it can connect to the internet. But the internet feature was only to send an email or look at a text-only version of a website. Quiet advanced during that time though.

Despite that it is innovative,  Game.com was not successful, mostly due to its price. They then decided to turn their focus towards other consumer electronics, like Furbies. (Just seeing the name alone is enough to give me chills.)

Nokia N-Gage (2003)

It is a combined phone with a handheld gaming device. However, it turns out to be a terribly designed device that can’t really do gaming. That’s what happened with N-Gage.

https://www.phonearena.com/news/how-engaging-was-nokia-n-gage-odd-phone-mondays_id134032

One of its biggest problems is its poor user experience. You have to remove the device’s battery in order to switch games. Moreover, the awkward location of the speaker will make the user hold the edge of the phone against their ear, which, as was noted in Fortune magazine, made it look like they were speaking into a taco.

Gizmondo (2005)

The Gizmondo was a portable gaming console that’s known for its ability to track users through GPS. It is the pioneer of augmented-reality games, such as Pokemon-Go. 

Their most popular game “Colors,” would have allowed players to guard real-life locations in their neighborhoods from rival players, much like the Gym system in Pokémon Go.

Despite its innovation, Gizmondo failed due to the unusual ties of the people who made it to the mafias. Its CEO, Stefan Eriksson, became the center of a media firestorm after crashing a Ferrari Enzo at nearly 200 miles-per-hour, which led to US authorities discovering Erikkson had ties to the Swedish mafia (Seriously, the story is insane.) 

Sadly, Gizmondo went bankrupt and folded within a year of releasing the console in very limited amounts, selling fewer than 25,000 units and vanishing into the unknown.

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