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MacGyver's Corner - The Atari Times

MacGyver's Corner

From May 1996!
by Rafi Guroian

May 2, 1996
In this column my aim is to give an insider's view of the gaming business (if you don't know, I work for a major retail Video Game store chain as a Sales Associate) focusing primarily on the Jag's situation, but also to bring you up-to-date on what is happening elsewhere... Perhaps I'll also give a few quick reviews, but I'm sure somebody else has a column covering this subject...

Anyway, here we go. As of the time I write this, the Jag has just recently come off of a major sale where Babbage's and Electronics Boutique were selling the systems for $49.99 each! Sales were responsive, but not incredible. However, Jaguars were in more demand than the companies had anticipated and they sold out very quickly. On average, each store sold approximately 5 units and 3 games in the week or so span of the sale. In addition, Babbage's has implemented a "SuperSale" where a LOT of their merchandise can be found from 10%-50% off. About half of the Jaguar games have been marked down 25% including Defender 2000 (for $44.99), Ultra Vortek (for $39.99 I think), White Men Can't Jump w/Team Tap (for $21.99) and Alien vs Predator (for $39.99 I think) among others.

In terms of the CD unit, the sales have been VERY slow with the 3DO now selling for $199. CD games are still trickling out, but not selling very much. The only slightly hot CD games that are selling seem to be Baldies, Primal Rage, and Battlemorph.

In terms of new software, expect Fight For Life on cart to be out hopefully by the time this reaches you. Other titles are to follow in May 1996. One such is Iron Solder II on CD which should do very well.

In other news, the Saturn Core Unit has dropped in price from $299.99 to $249.99 and the Virtua Fighter pack-in has dropped from $349.99 to $289.99. In Japan all Saturns being produced are now under a new architecture where a few mystery ports have been removed to provide a sleeker, smaller Saturn unit. This unit is selling in Japan for approximately $200. Although Sega of America denies this unit coming to America, all production has been entirely re-routed to be devoted to this new system, so it seems likely that the Saturn will re-enter the US retail market with it's new sleek look and price about the time the Nintendo 64 hits.

On the Sony front, the PlayStation continues to sell Core and Ridge Racer systems for $299.99 and $345.99 respectively. In addition to the Ridge Racer system, sources are pointing to the likelihood of a new Japanese pack-in system devoted to the fighting genre. It is unclear how many games would be packed in, but it is set to hit store shelves with Tekken 2 as a pack-in when the game becomes available. Again, as of now this is only in Japan, but a US release also seems likely when the Nintendo 64 hits and perhaps with a shaven price to compete.

Which brings us to Nintendo. How inevitable. Anyway, Nintendo has delayed the Nintendo 64 in Japan until late June, and the US version until September 30. Their reason is not enough software, which I tend to believe (for once, which is amazing considering it's coming from Nintendo). It has become the thought among all retailers that it is not necessarily the hardware that makes a system successful, but the software. This is demonstrated with the Jaguar, the PlayStation, and the Saturn. The Jag's bane has been the software availability. In the case of the PSX, it has had amazing software which has basically done everything but blow Sega's Saturn out of the water. The Saturn is lacking in software where the PSX is lacking (slightly) in hardware power, and the PSX is winning. Nintendo realizes this and does not want to introduce a system with 2-4 completed games. They would like something more like 10. However, a rumor is also circulating that Nintendo has assembled and PACKAGED about 100 systems, but the rest are on hold because of a chip shortage that Silicon Graphics is behind in producing. Many people believe this is a major contributor to the delays the system has been plagued with. Another rumor is going around that Nintendo plans to drop the price of their system to $200 and absorb the costs much as Sony and Sega did, but carts would cost between $65 and $105 to make up for it. This would simply be insurance that Sega and Sony could not get a firm griphold on the Nintendo 64's sales.

Time will simply have to tell.

In MORE news...

The retail world is being left in limbo as to the status of Panasonic's M2 chip which was supposed to be a MAJOR contender with the Nintendo 64. A street date was originally set for this summer, but it has been pushed back indefinitely and nobody knows how much the thing will cost. We are estimating between $150 and $250 for the add-on chip to existing 3DO's and a new system with the M2 built in would have a 4-speed CD drive (first ever in home video games) and would run for $350-$400.

Sega's 32X has been officially discontinued and the last game has been made. Stores will begin phasing this system out very soon. Genesis is all but gone as well. This system may not see another Christmas in some stores.

On the SNES front, Nintendo is pulling a GameBoy and breathing life into a system that seemed to be dying. They have just released an all-new pack-in bundle for Killer Instinct called the Killer Combo, I believe. The Virtual Boy is on its last leg with only 1 or 2 well-selling games out for it... Price has dropped CONSIDERABLY, so you may want to pick one up for a souvenir. The GameBoy is in the same situation right now as well, with no major titles set for release on it any longer...

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