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How Successful was the Lynx?


JaguarVision
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In terms of profit and sales of course.

 

I've looked back and old articles with Atari briefings mentioning to shareholders increases many times during the 7800 days and also from 89-1991 in regards to the lynx. But never any real numbers outside a rouge magazine that claimed it was at 3 million around the Lynx II launch.

 

 

I heard that they did do some business-wire etc. publishing with more detailed results but those seem to all be behind paywalls at Newslibrary and if you are familiar with that site the words you put in the search box can completely change the results so that would be a decent amount of wasted money going witchhunting.

 

 

So does anybody have any information of how successful the lynx was? I had seen a article long ago that the Lynx was doing well in Europe and during a trip there I saw a few individuals with Lynx machines. (heard the 7800 did well there to due tot he Atari PC brand) but again no numbers.

 

It's interesting because I've seen so many europeans talking about the Lynx and the XE-GS and I heard a decent amount from eastern U.S. gamers, you would think that Atari would have thrown out some numbers if it was meeting their expectations as they kept saying at the financial briefings. (What happened to XE-GS after it sold out its intial 100k+ shipment? Why is that the only Atari Number we got since the 7800 launch till the Jaguar manufactured units? That's weird a company would go all those years talking about increases and meeting objectives with zero numbers.)

 

Some times I think Atari was its own worst enemy.

Edited by JaguarVision
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I see that wikipedia quotes around 3 million units sold for the lynx, which would seem to make it about 12x more succesful in terms of units sold than the atari jaguar. On the other hand, the lynx was likely quite expensive to manufacture in that time period and I know atari had to cut the price to compete with the gameboy, so it probably wasn't making all that much if any profit on lynx console sales. A typical strategy for old (and current) console manfuactureres was to take a loss on the hardware and make the money through game development licenses sold to third party developers. However if you look at the lynx (and jag) it doesn't seem like there was that much 3rd party support, so atari couldn't have been making up their hardware losses with this economic model. In short, I can't see that the lynx was that much of a moneymaker for atari, although 3 million units sold doesn't seem half as bad as many other offbeat consoles from the 90s.

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Successful enough I think where if it were put out by a more financially stable company, there might have been an actual Lynx 2. Of course, even Sega didn't bother with a true Game Gear sequel, so who knows? It was really a tough market for anyone not named Nintendo. Only Sony had real success in the space outside of Nintendo, and that ended up being a one time phenomena thanks, in part, to a declining market/need.

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It seems to be very difficult to come across reliable sales numbers. This book claims Atari sold fewer than 500,000 units: https://books.google.com/books?id=0vc2DAAAQBAJ&lpg=PA82&dq=atari%20lynx%20sales&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=atari%20lynx%20sales&f=false

 

I can't vouch for that, but I do think the author at least sounds a little more knowledgeable than most of the other sources I've seen, and I think it's logical to assume that with such a quick demise, sales weren't great. I mean if Atari really sold 3 million units, I can't see why they'd have redesigned the hardware, dropped the price to $99 and then dropped out of the market quickly thereafter.

 

Never automatically trust anything on Wikipedia. They reference an article in Retro Gamer magazine for the 3 million figure, but unless someone here happens to have that issue, we don't know what it actually says, and we don't know what whoever said that meant. There were NIB Lynx II's available *everywhere* for a really, really long time after the system's demise, so I think it's possible that Atari produced 3 million, sold 500,000, then dumped the other 2.5 million through whatever channels they could. You can still find NIB systems *today* pretty easily. When I bought mine in 2003, you couldn't throw a rock on the internet without hitting one. If you did a web search for "Atari", about the first four pages of results would have been somebody selling new Atari Lynxes.

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Wikipedia also cites an AP article which says half a million/500k had been sold in 1990. That'd mean selling no more for the rest of it's lifespan. I'd trust the AP over that book any day.

 

http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1991/Sega-Woos-Game-Boy-Lynx-Users-With-32-Color-Hand-Held-Video-System/id-a1288531efff2f9504f70dbcd9f8b6cc

 

Though that means to reach 3 million, it would have meant it kept that pace through til 1995, which also seems unlikely.

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Wikipedia also cites an AP article which says half a million/500k had been sold in 1990.

 

It says Atari "estimates" it sold half a million in 1990.

 

These were the days when manufacturers would count "shipped" units as "sold" units (and in effect they were; they were sold to stores). Nobody could really know in the early days of something's release how well it was really selling to consumers. You would think Atari would have a better handle on it by the end of 1990, but it would still be possible (and in their interests) to put the best possible spin on things. If they'd shipped 500,000, then by gum that's the number they're gonna tell everybody they'd sold. How do they know if those units are just sitting on shelves?

 

The evidence is that there were a lot of units sitting on shelves after 1995. Maybe all of those were actually produced in 1995 and sales suddenly dried up, but I doubt it. I just checked mine for kicks to see if I could find a date on it somewhere but I couldn't - maybe tomorrow I'll dig out my box and manual to see if there's a date on either.

 

I did forget how long the Lynx was on the market... for some reason I had it in my memory that they discontinued it in 1991. Obviously it lasting to 1995 changes my thinking a bit. It does seem pretty unlikely that they'd only sell 500,000 *total*, but I have a feeling Atari themselves don't really know how many they actually sold before discontinuing it in 1995, and then who knows how all those new units being sold through warehouse stores in the late 90's and early 00's ended up there.

 

I also have a feeling that they produced basically none in 1995, and not that many in 1993 or 94. So if 1990 was the most successful year (which is probably likely), then somewhere between 2 and 3 million actual sales would seem about right, with the remainder of unsold machines then dumped back out to anyone that'd have them at clearance wholesale prices.

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The Lynx was successful enough for true gamers to pick one up when they first came out. The fact you can still pick new ones up means that people like me who sold off their old one in the nineties can relive their childhood. Success shouldn't be measured in sales, it should measured in memories!

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My box and manual both list 1991 as the date everywhere, but I have a feeling those are more or less just copyright dates from when they changed the hardware. Is there any date code on any of the chips inside the machine that's easily accessible?

 

I actually purchased mine in 2001 (I found the receipt in the box) - I would be curious to know, and I think it relevant to the discussion, when my new unit was actually made. If it was before 1995, that'd mean it was sitting around for years while the system was still current, and then even more years after discontinuation. I think it's more than likely that all new Lynxes were counted in that 3 million sold number, including mine that wasn't actually purchased until 2001.

Edited by spacecadet
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The Lynx was successful enough for true gamers to pick one up when they first came out. The fact you can still pick new ones up means that people like me who sold off their old one in the nineties can relive their childhood. Success shouldn't be measured in sales, it should measured in memories!

 

Then I guess by that logic on a certain segment of AtariAge, the Jaguar was a blockbuster success rather than among the worst failures in console history.

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In terms of profit and sales of course.

 

I've looked back and old articles with Atari briefings mentioning to shareholders increases many times during the 7800 days and also from 89-1991 in regards to the lynx. But never any real numbers outside a rouge magazine that claimed it was at 3 million around the Lynx II launch.

 

I have an old article from Atari Advantage that boasted around 1992 about Atari having shipped their "1 millionth Lynx game".

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I'd call Lynx a critical success, but a commercial failure.

 

Not unlike PSVita, I'd say.

 

As a person who likes games, and has no financial stake in the company, that's perfectly fine with me.

 

Commercially successful machines (Wii, DS) get MORE games on them, but not necessarily better games.

 

I'd grade Jaguar as a critical failure and a commercial failure, too. :-(

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The RG 3 Million sold figure is heavily based around a suggested figure put to Atari UK manager, Darryl Still:

http://www.retrovideogamer.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=507:rvg-interviews-darryl-still&catid=91:auto-generate-from-title&Itemid=160

 

Regarding Press coverage :At the time, UK press were quoting Atari as having sold 75,000 Lynx units sold in the USA over the Xmas period of 1989/1990..

 

The next quote that appeared had Atari saying Market Research had shown US Lynx sales had passed 200,000..but no indication of where this supposed research had come from..

 

You could also find Atari UK staff like Bob Gleadow claiming Atari would sell 1 Million Lynx units in 12 months, for sure..

 

Atari UK Lynx sales forecasts for 150,000 units in year ahead, etc etc..

 

But confirmed, independently verified figures...

 

Good luck with that.

Edited by Lost Dragon
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It seems to be very difficult to come across reliable sales numbers. This book claims Atari sold fewer than 500,000 units: https://books.google.com/books?id=0vc2DAAAQBAJ&lpg=PA82&dq=atari%20lynx%20sales&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=atari%20lynx%20sales&f=false

 

I can't vouch for that, but I do think the author at least sounds a little more knowledgeable than most of the other sources I've seen, and I think it's logical to assume that with such a quick demise, sales weren't great. I mean if Atari really sold 3 million units, I can't see why they'd have redesigned the hardware, dropped the price to $99 and then dropped out of the market quickly thereafter.

 

Never automatically trust anything on Wikipedia. They reference an article in Retro Gamer magazine for the 3 million figure, but unless someone here happens to have that issue, we don't know what it actually says, and we don't know what whoever said that meant. There were NIB Lynx II's available *everywhere* for a really, really long time after the system's demise, so I think it's possible that Atari produced 3 million, sold 500,000, then dumped the other 2.5 million through whatever channels they could. You can still find NIB systems *today* pretty easily. When I bought mine in 2003, you couldn't throw a rock on the internet without hitting one. If you did a web search for "Atari", about the first four pages of results would have been somebody selling new Atari Lynxes.

There are also articles combining the gamegear and lynx suggesting both at least sold a million.

 

Also they didn't drop the Lynx until 1995 fo that's 6 years, the Lynx II came out in 1991. There own implications suggest the Lynx II was done so they could drop the price, fix issues with size, so they could catch up on the gameboy. The gameboy did it 3 times before the GBC and it was the leader so eh.

Edited by JaguarVision
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I'd call Lynx a critical success, but a commercial failure.

 

Not unlike PSVita, I'd say.

 

As a person who likes games, and has no financial stake in the company, that's perfectly fine with me.

 

Commercially successful machines (Wii, DS) get MORE games on them, but not necessarily better games.

 

I'd grade Jaguar as a critical failure and a commercial failure, too. :-(

Flojomojo you can't call something a commercial failure if almost everything points to other wise. The Atari breifings talked about lynx profits multiple times, no real drops until the jaguar released. While that's only vague implication it was a profitable investment we have zero that it was a commercial failure.

 

People throw that term on things they know nothing about. Like how until the recent edit last year wiki was calling xegs dead at alcunh and a commercal failure when they sold out everything they shipped at launch.

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The fundamental problem is info comes from Atari corporate briefings without any context. It would be help if we could have some insight into the cost of the manufacturing and shipping as well as the actual sales figures. Without it we can't really gauge wether or not it was a success despite the pratlings of Atari's internal corporate propaganda.

 

 

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i always felt like the lynx was in third place in the gameboy,gamegear,lynx,tgexpress race i never had the game gear i dod go through a couple game boys they kept losing vertical lines thankfully within the warrany period i got my lynx 1 on clearance for $99 at "the good guys" unfortunatly when i got home it had came with a uk ac adapter so i took it back and they thought i was lying but how the hell did i get an atari adapter with these crazy probes on the front

 

i would like to know how many gameboys were returned with missing lines

 

its unfair to compare it to failures like the ngage and the neogeo pocket i think the lynx had more stores to sell in that have gone out of biz like the good guys,circuit city,kaybee,babbages,electronic botique,toy and model shops

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The fundamental problem is info comes from Atari corporate briefings without any context. It would be help if we could have some insight into the cost of the manufacturing and shipping as well as the actual sales figures. Without it we can't really gauge wether or not it was a success despite the pratlings of Atari's internal corporate propaganda.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Well it's fair to say before the jagaur the gaming division was likely only really driven by the 7800 and Lynx (and maybe the Xegs which apparently did pretty well, especially in europe but primarily the first two is more likely.) so we have some context.

 

but lack of figures is a bg issue. I saw 1 million on news library once as a "near goal" in 1990, and if it sold 500,000 by 1990, then its likely that was made when they were closer to 1 million.

 

Issue is i don't want to attempt wasting money for old articles trying desperately searching for a search term that brings up any articles that elaborate on that. It's amazing how they are charging for old articles like this.

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Sam Tramiel was quoted in an interview with ST Format Magazine as saying Atari would sell 2,000,000 Lynx units in 12 months..dominate the Hand Held market and kill off Nintendo..

 

So i doubt it was the success he wanted.

 

It's odd as it's easy to find Sam announcing worldwide ST sales figures approaching 500,000..

 

Later Atari UK Marketing Manager, Peter Staddon claiming UK ST user base to be over half a million, Atari having sold around 150,000 ST computers in the UK in 1990 and this allowing for 10% natural erosion as he put it..

 

But when it comes to Lynx..so much seems to be suggested figures Ex-Atari staff go along with.

 

Very hard to find independently verified figures for UK Lynx figures alone.

 

Apparently R.J Mical was used for the RG 3 Million figure as well..but his version of events over the Amiga has been called into question i believe, so is he a credible source?.

Edited by Lost Dragon
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Right because at the same time the gameboy' stated worldwide shipment to both Japan and the US was roughly 3 million units. In April 1989 alone, the Japanese gameboy sold all 300,000 units according to a guardian article from 2014. And according to A gizmondo article the Gameboy sold 1 million units by the end of the summer 1989 here in the US.

 

What I'm trying to say is that I find it incredulous that the lynx ran even with Game boy that first year and then fell off the face of the earth for 6 years.

 

 

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Right because at the same time the gameboy' stated worldwide shipment to both Japan and the US was roughly 3 million units. In April 1989 alone, the Japanese gameboy sold all 300,000 units according to a guardian article from 2014. And according to A gizmondo article the Gameboy sold 1 million units by the end of the summer 1989 here in the US.

 

What I'm trying to say is that I find it incredulous that the lynx ran even with Game boy that first year and then fell off the face of the earth for 6 years.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

What are you referring to?

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Flojomojo you can't call something a commercial failure if almost everything points to other wise. The Atari breifings talked about lynx profits multiple times, no real drops until the jaguar released. While that's only vague implication it was a profitable investment we have zero that it was a commercial failure.

 

People throw that term on things they know nothing about. Like how until the recent edit last year wiki was calling xegs dead at alcunh and a commercal failure when they sold out everything they shipped at launch.

Sources? I don't see any evidence that Lynx did as well as you seem to think. I recall it being price-dropped quite a lot. What Atari briefings, and how much profit? I doubt Vita was a money-loser but no one calls that a success. As for selling out at launch, that doesn't mean much without numbers. Who is to say the initial shipment was large?
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