By 17 September 2010 | Categories: feature articles


Producing a top selling console can be a hit and miss affair, and while you are up today, you might just be down tomorrow. Just ask some of the manufacturers aboard our list of worst selling consoles ever.  

Nintendo Virtual Boy5th Place - Nintendo Virtual Boy

Although Nintendo are known for creating hot pieces of tech (think Wii and DS) ad well respected gaming titles (such as Super Mario Galaxy 2), the company has its own dud in its archives.

The Virtual boy was released on 21 July 1995 in Japan and 14 August 1995 in the US at a pricetag of about $180. It actually produced 3D graphics utilising a red monochrome display system, making it the first console to integrate 3D graphics and not Nintendo's latest portable gaming creation the 3DS. The console still didn't catch on even after the Japanese manufacturer implemented price reductions.   

The console was discontinued on 22 December 1995 in Japan and 2 March 1996 in the States after selling 770 000 units.

Sega 32X4th Place - Sega 32X

The Sega 32X system was an add-on to the Sega Mega Drive (EU)/Genesis (US) gaming console which was released in 1994.

Although users plugged it into the game cartridge slot of the Genesis/ Mega Drive, it also required its own separate power supply as well as a cable linking it to the Genesis/ Mega Drive.

Sega also released a small number of CD-ROM games (Sega Mega-CD 32X and Sega CD 32X in the States) for the 32X add-on, which required the 32X add-on as well as Sega CD add-ons. These didn't catch on as there was a high cost associated with purchasing all the needed add-ons.

The console's sales were halted in September of 1995 after selling over 665 000 units.

Philips CD-i3rd Place - Philips CD-i

Philips' Compact Disk-Interactive or CD-i was released on 3 December 1991. It had some multimedia functionality in that it could play audio disks as well as video disks, although the latter required the optional Digital Video Card add-on for MPEG-1 decoding. As a result Philips chose to market it as a multimedia device, rebranding it as a game console in 1994 after slow sales.

This decision came too late however after the Sega Saturn and Sony's mighty PlayStation were released in 1995. The CD-i was discontinued in 1996 after selling 570 000 units.

Atari Jaguar2nd Place - Atari Jaguar

Launched on 18 November 1993 the Jaguar was marketed by Atari as a 64-bit gaming system, but in effect only had two 32-bit processors working in parallel and the console also had an overly complex controller that housed over 15 buttons.

Atari assured the public that the console would be well supported by over twenty third party game developers that would provide an assortment of titles. This didn't turn out to be the case as it was difficult to program titles for the Jaguar without adequate development tools, which Atari failed to provide.

The system was discontinued in 1996 after less than 250 000 units sold.

Apple Pippen1st Place - Apple Pippin

Apple might be one of the hottest tech companies in the world but it did drop a gaming console stinker back in the day. One of PC World's 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time, the Pippin was made by Apple and Bandai and was released in 1995 in Japan and 1996 in the US.

It came up against more powerful and established console competition in the form of the Sega Saturn, Sony PlayStation and the Nintendo 64, but cost nearly twice as much at $599 on launch. As a result not even half (42 000) of the 100 000 that was manufactured were sold.


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