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 Post subject: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:20 pm 


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I've seen many classic Namco arcade games throughout my life, in the arcades from the '80s onwards and in comps like Namco Museum, I was even lucky enough to play a walk-in theatre Galaxian 3 in the early '90s, that was fricken mind-blowing back then! I remember seeing their obscure 3D Xevious spin-off 'Solvolou' in an arcade back in the day and marveling at how ahead of everything else it seemed. They were always at the cutting edge of hardware innovation (full screen in-game scaling and rotation in Legend of Valkyrie, Assault, Ordyne etc, first fully polygonal racing game 'Winning Run' four years before Virtua Racing...the list goes on) but don't seem to get as much acknowledgement for it as you'd think. Most people seem to remember them for oldies like Pac-Man and Pole Position and then go on to rave about how amazing Sega's mid-eighties to '90s arcade machines were.

Seems a shame Namco never got into home consoles, they might be a mainstream name on the level of Nintendo now. What triggered me thinking this today was playing Legend of Valkyrie on Namco Museum Vol 5 and marveling at the large scope of it's RPG-ness, plus awesome soundtrack and full screen scaling effects, and feeling it was all kinda wasted on a stand-up coin-muncher in 1989. (I might be wrong, maybe it was a huge, famous hit in Japan?) There's hours of gameplay in it , it was much better suited to a home machine (previous to it's home ports on the inferior PC Engine hardware, and eventual 'museum' inclusion) and Namco should have made that machine! Or failing that, they should have done it on the Neo Geo, which was probably the only machine that could have got near pulling it off at the time.
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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:24 am 



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An allegiance to Sony perhaps stopped them making one themselves.

They signed on for system10 or 11, whatever the PS1 hardware was in the arcades straight off the bat. Sega were their arcade foes so it made sense.

Personally, although I like Namco a lot. I don't think i'd like them to have their own console and exclusive library to it. I'd rather they brought it to us like they are now, on PS and Xbox's.
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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:58 am 


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Namco didn't have their own system, but they did have a home division and made games (original and ports) for home consoles and MSX.


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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:41 am 


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A "Namco-only" system, with the hardware to power their all time greats would be fantastic. Something that would allow all the classics to run as they were intended. Yummy.

In reality tho', if they made a console it would've proabably been Neo-Geo territory expensive. Super expensive means low customer install base. That means low sales, which in theory at least should make getting third party support for the system a challenge. IF they got some great third party games on there, maybe that could really have increased it's value but without it, it would turn into a money pit (for the customer and Namco alike) and in the end it still would make more sense for Namco to port their games to other systems.

For a console to succeed -nay, survive- it needs to be affordable enough that people buy it (but not necessarily "cheap"), have a good library of games (and upcoming ones) and reason for it to exist and for customers to pick it instead of the other ones. The power and ingenuity of the hardware is surprisingly non-important sometimes (but too crappy and cheap is no good either. It's all about that sweet-spot).

Edit: Not sure why I thought this thread was about Konami instaed of Namco. I was either tired or not paying enough attention. :oops:
Corrected but my thoughts remain the same.
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Last edited by Ji-L87 on Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:31 pm 



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It's apparently very hard to make money on hardware. It's expensive to develop and Namco, like most big name developers, are not really a big company.

There is a reason why Sony and Microsoft are the only companies that were able to enter this market and challenge Nintendo. They can afford to take a hit on hardware and both have the infrastructure to publish and distribute software.

And, since the PS2 days, Namco didn't even develop their own hardware. They used arcade versions of the PS2, Xbox and Dreamcast. More recently, they moved over to PC hardware, like everyone else.


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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:33 pm 


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Correct. They lose money on console sales but make it up everywhere else. Iirc Nintendo is pretty adamant about not losing money on hardware so that's why their stuff is typically underpowered but Nintendo almost always get the "fun" factor right.
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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:56 am 


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I remember reading that Namco did had plans for a disc-based console back in the late 80's, but nothing came out of it.

BrianC wrote:
Namco didn't have their own system, but they did have a home division and made games (original and ports) for home consoles and MSX.


That would be the Namcot subsidiary.


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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:08 am 


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Taito actually prototyped their own console, called the WOWOW back in the early 90s.
Image

You can read the Taito dev lead talking about it here. It would have let players "stream" Taito arcade games via satellite (think Satellaview). Early example of the 'games as a service' eh? Abandoned because downloading even small games would have taken forever.
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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:08 am 


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I'm guessing they wanted to use F1 or F2 hardware for WOWOW. It would've been better to go with CD than satellite. More than several minutes to download a small game is too long. Also, later Taito arcade games could end up exceeding the RAM (like what happened with Neo-Geo CD) meaning either pared down versions or none at all for certain titles. Metal Black is over 4 MB. The price of RAM at the time didn't help.
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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:08 pm 


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EmperorIng wrote:
Taito actually prototyped their own console, called the WOWOW back in the early 90s.
Image

You can read the Taito dev lead talking about it here. It would have let players "stream" Taito arcade games via satellite (think Satellaview). Early example of the 'games as a service' eh? Abandoned because downloading even small games would have taken forever.


Neat bit of info, I had never heard of this before.
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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:10 pm 


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I found it. It's the NC-1. Masaya Nakamura talked about it in a book once.
http://www.ne.jp/asahi/cvs/odyssey/vide ... index.html


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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:14 pm 



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I read somewhere that Namco and Capcom based their arcade hardware on the Sharp X68000 home computer. Kinda like how the Namco 246 is a PS2 with more ram. If they were serious about making their own hardware, I'd assume they would have started with their coin-ops as they were actually in that business.

Either way, that ship has sailed. I think the PS5 will be the last dedicated console hardware generation. Future systems will be software platforms like Windows and Mac OS running on common hardware. Both Sony and Microsoft opted to use off the shelf 3rd party hardware this time. As a result, both the PS5 and Xbox Scarlett specs are identical.

If they can't differentiate with hardware, future console wars will be over software and peripherals. It's the beginning of the end for the dedicated console. With identical hardware, how long will it be before someone figures out how to play Microsoft Scarlett games on a PS5? Or a patch to play those games on a regular PC.

At that point, they will try to under-cut each other on price as a final death roll to retain control of the market. What could Namco possibly bring to the table at this point as a hardware manufacturer?


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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:26 pm 



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Steamflogger Boss wrote:
EmperorIng wrote:
Taito actually prototyped their own console, called the WOWOW back in the early 90s.
Image

You can read the Taito dev lead talking about it here. It would have let players "stream" Taito arcade games via satellite (think Satellaview). Early example of the 'games as a service' eh? Abandoned because downloading even small games would have taken forever.


Neat bit of info, I had never heard of this before.



I think Taito made the right call scraping that project. To say they had ideas that were well beyond the hardware capabilities of the day would be an understatement. Beaming games via satellite and hyper slow disc loading times would have made it suck (like the Neo Geo CD).

Plus, "arcade perfect ports" of Taito games would probably not have wowed people that much even in the 80's. Their coin-op graphics were hardly state of the art. It was easy to make reasonably accurate home ports of their games on everything from the C64 to the Snes.. And would bubble bobble have been any more fun if beamed from the sky?


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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:05 am 


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EmperorIng wrote:
Taito actually prototyped their own console, called the WOWOW back in the early 90s.
Image

You can read the Taito dev lead talking about it here. It would have let players "stream" Taito arcade games via satellite (think Satellaview). Early example of the 'games as a service' eh? Abandoned because downloading even small games would have taken forever.


Super interesting. What was the purpose of the CD-rom if the games were to be downloaded via satellite? To give it additional value as a general purpose cd-player?
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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:30 am 


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EmperorIng wrote:
Taito actually prototyped their own console, called the WOWOW back in the early 90s.
Image

You can read the Taito dev lead talking about it here. It would have let players "stream" Taito arcade games via satellite (think Satellaview). Early example of the 'games as a service' eh? Abandoned because downloading even small games would have taken forever.


Oh wow! Another version of Parasol Stars (that wasn't some European port based on visually analyzing the gameplay :P) would have been really interesting to see!


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 Post subject: Re: Why didn't Namco ever make a home console?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:08 pm 


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Jonny2x4 wrote:
I found it. It's the NC-1. Masaya Nakamura talked about it in a book once.
http://www.ne.jp/asahi/cvs/odyssey/vide ... index.html


Amazing. A 16-bit Namco console running games off disc could have surely been technically amazing, just imagine! It could have beat PC Engine and Mega Drive before they even got out the gates.
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