What Fourth Generation Video Game Console Is Considered One Of The Industries Biggest Failures?
Answer: The LaserActive
Imagine, if you will, a video game system that costs $1,500, comes with no games, requires $500-1,000 add-ons to even play the games that aren’t included, and the only good titles for the system are games from other game consoles that you can play via the previously mentioned expensive add-ons. In other words, you’d need to invest roughly $2,500 just to play a game from another console on your new money-pit.
That was exactly how consumers, rightfully, viewed Pioneer’s foray into the console market–as a bizarre money pit. The system was absolutely enormous, cost $970 at launch in 1993 (the prices in the previous paragraph were adjusted for inflation), didn’t come with a single game, and, bizarrely, required expensive licensed modules from the likes of SEGA and NEC to even play games. Further, these add-on modules cost as much as the other consoles themselves.
Despite Pioneer’s insistence that the future of gaming was bulky video-disc games where the action was all pre-recorded video created with live actors, the system and the concept never caught on. The system sold approximately 10,000 units worldwide and was regarded as the largest commercial failure of the fourth generation of consoles and, quite possibly, one of the biggest console failures in video game history.
Image courtesy of Museum of Video Games.