No one knows failure better than Sega, so we put together this list of the 10 Biggest Sega Fails. For a while, it seemed like Sega couldn’t do anything right. Their consoles were coming out at the wrong time, their software libraries were weak, and their claims of “blast processing” were falling on deaf ears. They tried very hard to innovate in the way consoles and expansion devices were made, but a world that looked at video games as toys saw these innovations as money wasters. Eventually, Sega failed hard enough to drop out of the console race, and some poor decisions haunt them to this day. They are one of the best and most influential studios out there, but also one of the most unfortunate. These are the 10 Biggest Sega Fails.
Mountains of Modern Day Shovelware
Who here remembers Binary Domain? Or perhaps the Golden Axe remake? Or what about all those Marvel games? Anyone remember them? No? That’s because they were horrible! Sega seems to be trying to quickly cash in on any IP that it can get its hands on, and while it certainly had some hits, like Valkyria Chronicles and Bayonetta, it has had a lot more misses. These mountains of Sega published shovelware start off our list of the 10 Biggest Sega Fails.
The Six Button Genesis Controller
The six button controller for the Sega Genesis was a good idea for fighting games and any game that at least needed four face buttons. Unfortunately, this split up the Genesis fanbase into people who had a six button controller and people who didn’t, which meant that only portions of the Genesis’s library were playable. Since few developers wanted to risk their games not being played, few developed for a six button layout, which meant this controller was largely ignored by anyone but the hardcore fighting game crowd.
Putting Valkyria Chronicles on Handheld Consoles
Valkyria Chronicles was considered one of the best early PS3 titles, and one of Sega’s best titles overall. It had an amazing graphics system that made it look like a cross between an anime and a storybook. It had phenomenal strategic gameplay which kept people attempting S rank missions for hours. It even had a story that was powerful enough to make you cry when important characters died. Then it was put on the PSP, a handheld system that few people adopted at the time, and its fanbase shrunk.
Ignoring Downloadable Titles
Sega’s Naoya Tsurumi stated a couple years ago that the downloadable market was really blowing up for gaming. What did he say immediately afterward? That Sega’s future wouldn’t be in the downloadable market. Instead, Sega chose to focus on full AAA boxed releases only. We hate to break it to ya Sega, but throwaway Sonic titles aren’t going to make AAA bank.
Speaking of Sonic, there is no bigger misused IP in the gaming world than Sonic: The Hedgehog. Sonic was one of gaming’s big mascots back in the day, and what is he now? A werewolf? A knight in King Arthur’s court? A character in Arabian Knights? Or maybe he’s a race-car driver? Or a jet skateboard rider? Or maybe he does just about anything except RUN! The thing he is actually known for. If the Sonic team would stop trying to innovate and start just giving us the speed running Sonic we loved, then maybe we wouldn’t have to put the blue blur on our list of the 10 Biggest Sega Fails.
The Sega Nomad was an interesting handheld device that was unfortunately ahead of its time. It let you play console games from the previous generation on a handheld. This was an astounding advancement in backwards compatibility. Imagine if all your PS3 games could be played on the go when the PS4 came out. Unfortunately, the Nomad was big, clunky, drained batteries like crazy, and didn't play well with the 32x and the Sega CD. This garnered it only a two year life-span, taken off the market just before Nintendo's Game Boy Color came out and gained a stranglehold on portable gaming once more.
And now we get into the territory of Sega’s many failed consoles and console add-ons. When Nintendo was in the first planning stages for their new 64-bit console, Sega decided that they would take a different approach. Instead of putting out a new console they would develop an add-on for their current console that would up its processing power. It was a great idea, but once again developers were hesitant to develop for it, as not everyone owned a 32X, and if you were making a Sega title you probably wanted the entirety of the Sega fanbase to play it. As a result, the 32X’s software line-up was lacking and failed quite quickly because of it, having only a one year run.
The Sega CD was Sega’s response to quickly growing CD-ROM technology of the time. The Sega CD pre-dated the 32X but suffered many of the same problems. It had a small game line-up and because of it, few people purchased one. There were even fewer people who could play Sega CD and 32X combo games! It was also incredibly expensive, and when people were eventually faced with a choice between getting this CD add-on and a new console later in the Sega CD's lifespan, new consoles just seemed like a better value. The vast array of shitty FMV games didn't help either.
Let’s get one thing straight. We aren’t saying that the Sega Saturn is a bad console. The Sega Saturn actually had some pretty good games on it, and Sega worked really hard to throw their support behind it. Unfortunately, Sega fans were already jaded by the 32X and the Sega CD at this point. Not to mention the 32X and CD had such short lives that people were hesitant to upgrade to the Saturn. In the end, the Saturn's performance paled in comparison to the other consoles on the market, which set Sega up for their biggest fail yet.
The Dreamcast had it all. It had a great launch line-up and a strong library of games that followed. It had an interesting controller that did cool things with LCD based memory cards. It was online compatible and had some of the first really big online titles that the gaming world got addicted to. It had the definitive versions of tournament classics, like Marvel vs Capcom 2. It even had easily moddable games for things like custom soundtracks and character reskins. There was just one problem. It came out at the wrong time. The Dreamcast pre-empted every other console of its generation by quite a few years. As a result, when the PS2 was announced, fervor for the Dreamcast dropped like a stone. Soon, Sega felt they could not recover from the losses they were encountering and decided to pull out of the console race all together, making the Dreamcast, no matter how good it is, #1 in our list of the 10 Biggest Sega Fails.
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