Over the last 30-40 years there have been hundreds of game consoles released, some that did well and some that did not….but what about the ones that never had a chance. There have been many game consoles cancelled mid development, pulled off the shelves weeks or months after release or announced and then never got past the planning stages and this is just a few of my favorites from a long list.
Sega Neptune – After the costly and problematic Sega 32x add-on for the Megadrive was released, Sega began work on creating a standalone version of the 32x which also played Megadrive games (which is what the 32x should have been in the first place), but by the time the prototype was finished the Sega Saturn was ready, so the project was scrapped
Super Nintendo CD – A fairly interesting console add-on that can be credited with creating much of todays industry. During the SNES’s life, Nintendo asked 2 companies to create CD add-ons for the console to compete with the Sega CD add-on for the Sega Megadrive – the companies were Sony and Phillips…although both deals failed, Sony and Phillips used the technology they had developed to create their own consoles – the Phillips CD-i (a failure) and the Sony Playstation (one of the big 3 today).
Gizmondo – Not so much cancelled as half finished, the Gizmondo was released in 2005 by Tiger Telematics and was to be a powerful handheld capable of playing games, movies, music and have mobile phone functions such as SMS, MMS and WAP via removable Sim Card.
2 versions of the console were released in the UK, USA and Sweden – a standard one for around $400USD and a Ad-enabled version for around $229USD, the ad-enabled version called ‘Smart-Adds’ (intentionally misspelled to confuse consumers) would display a maximum of 3 adds per day at random intervals from the home screen, downloaded via the GPRS connection. Unbelievably the Smart-Adds service was never activated meaning that consumers could pay for the cheaper unit and it was exactly the same as the more expensive unit. The Gizmondo sold only 25,000 consoles worldwide and only 8 of the 14 planned games ever saw release giving it the label of worst selling console in history.
I actually have one of these in my collection and the graphics are quite good for the time, I have a prototype game called Jump (a parkour type game) which is particularly impressive. There were plans for a Gizmondo 2 announced in 2008, but the release was constantly pushed back and all but cancelled by the end of that year, and considering the company website has gone offline, and the Co-Founder has been arrested and convicted of fraud, I doubt we will see another Gizmondo.
Panasonic Jungle – The latest victim of poor business decisions is the Panasonic Jungle announced in October of 2010, the console was to be a portable laptop-like device capable of playing MMO’s (Massive Multiplayer Online games) on the go, but was cancelled by the company in March 2011 ‘due to changes in the market’ (I would say due to the Nintendo 3DS and PSP Vita).
*Images from Wikipedia