Released May 11’th, 1995 – Sega Saturn
Released May 11’th 1995 in North America. The Sega Saturn
Sadly, the Sega Saturn fell flat. In part because of its forced early release date thanks to the upcoming release of the Sony PlayStation that same year. Originally, the Saturn was intended for a release around the fall season that year. September 2’nd of that year was intended to be known as “Saturnday”. Sega of America’s CEO had announced this in March 1995. However, they wanted the edge over the PlayStation. Forcing the release to May 11’th with only six launch titles to choose from.
From a special keynote speech, the company announced that 30,000 units were sent to select retailers for immediate release. Angering some other retailers who opted to drop Sega from its shelves altogether. Including the ranks of KB Toys and Walmart. While some of the launch games were considered to be the best on the system including Daytona USA and Panzer Dragoon, sales couldn’t be kept up with just these. Moreover, the loss of support from other retailers harmed sales significantly.
The Sega Saturn went on to sell less than the PlayStation launch numbers in the five months of lead time it had. Selling less than 100,000 units in this time.
In the end, the Saturn sold roughly 400,000 units. The Sony PlayStation went on to sell over 800,000. Making it yet another failure for Sega after the 32X. Which was released with little support from Sega or its third parties.
Still, the Sega Saturn had some absolutely great games. Including Burning Rangers, Panzer Dragoon, Sonic R and Radiant SilverGun.
Unfortunately, we can’t go back in time to change Sega’s mind. Releasing the Saturn on the intended date in September may have saved them. But we’ll never know.