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Atari Inc's (and later Corp's) Misadventures in Japan


empsolo
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Gaijilionaire, an American expat who lives in Japan and does videos about Japanese gaming History on youtube, just recently released a video on the history of both Atari's adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun. This video mostly focuses Atari Inc's two attempts to penetrate the Japanese market and the VCS' ill-fated Spring 1983 roll-out, a debut that happened mere weeks before the Famicom and SG-1000 hit the market in June of that year. Though, he did point out that, relatively speaking, that Atari Corp's launch of the Lynx in Japan was better received and was considered a bit of a success as opposed to Atari's earlier attempts market their gaming and computer systems there.

 

https://youtu.be/bOBdvErV2mg

 

I guess the fundamental question from the video is this: Was there ever a chance for Atari to try and secure the Japanese market? If so, when and how?

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Had they been trying to sell the 2600 in the late 70s there they would have had the programmable market to themselves, though the exorbitant price tag the 2800 had in 1983 suggests it would still have been pretty unpopular.

 

In the 70's, Atari couldn't even sell arcade games over to Japan which was why they sold their division to Namco.

 

They even tried to sell the original VCS through Epoch who ended up making their own console the Cassette Vision.

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...

 

I guess the fundamental question from the video is this: Was there ever a chance for Atari to try and secure the Japanese market? If so, when and how?

Another question is why? The Japanese yen was so week it wasn't worthwhile for American companies. It's why Atari couldn't even sell it's best technology it had in 1983. It had to sell it's cheapest. Even it's best technology was four years old in 1983. Did Atari not know what Nintendo had coming.

 

Maybe if they had licensed the VCS in the 1970s for local manufacturing, just like they licensed their arcade games. But even their arcade partner in Japan saw Atari as a competitor to their own machines.

 

Edit:

So they introduced a system that they knew was two generations old.

Edited by mr_me
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Another question is why? The Japanese yen was so week it wasn't worthwhile for American companies. It's why Atari couldn't even sell it's best technology it had in 1983. It had to sell it's cheapest. Even it's best technology was four years old in 1983. Did Atari not know what Nintendo had coming.

Except they did. We know that Atari knew about the Famicom in early 1983 and that the system was going to launch in Japan pretty soon. In fact, Nintendo had shared the specs with Atari in the months leading to the late spring launch.

 

 

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Edited by empsolo
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