Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: United Kingdom
It failed for a number of reasons.
4). Software support
Frankly, it looked like a pile of crap, which was a shame, because it wasn't in comparison to what was around at the time. The CDTV looked pretty cool, the CD32 just looked cheap and terrible. Take a look at all the competition at the time, CD32 certainly was no catwalk model.
Coincided with the Sega Mega-CD, and frankly, if thats the machine you want to compete against, then you're not setting your sights too high! The Mega CD died a death, wasn't a standalone machine and next to the CD32 was rubbish. But, that didn't stop the Amiga press or Commodore bleating on about how much better it was than the Mega CD! Only just around the corner was Sonys first hardware effort, the CD32 was dead before it got going.
Had the CD32 been two years earlier, then it would have stood a bloody good chance of succeeding. It would have been significantly better specced than anything else on the market at the time, lots of developers were still very pro-Amiga and would have jumped at the chance to develop better looking and sounding software for the machine, and it would have been in a position to have such good sales and software that the launch of the Playstation would have harmed it but still have been financially viable to continue with
CD32 stuff. However, we know that the CD32 was too late, and other than the Akkiko chip (which I'm still to see produce anything, and if it was ever used, then 'wow', what a waste of time, because I've never seen the benefits). It seriously needed some fast ram as standard to help make it better, 2meg of chip ram was a serious space issue. At least 1meg of fast ram would have done wonders for the machine. Basically it was a less useful cutdown version of the A12oo. Had Commodore made it significantly more powerful than the A12oo, Amiga owners would more likely have owned both, but once you added a CD drive to your A12oo, there really was no logical reason to own a CD32.
Other than that, sticking with the same 8bit sound was a mistake, but the biggest mistake was upping the amount of displayable bitplanes, but not seriously increasing the power of the blitter to cope with the extra graphics.
During the late 80's and early 90's, Commodore got it so completly and utterly right. Screen Gems, Batman, Flights of Fantasy packs, all helped propel the Amiga to the top of most kids Xmas lists. Psygnosis were virtually built on the back of the Amiga. Pre-Playstation, 99% of their money was generated by Amiga software, and that money put them in great stead that Sony ended up buying them and they were one of the lead developers for Playstation.
Why the FUCK didn't Commodore have the sense to involve the likes of Psygnosis, Bitmap Brothers, right from the off? They didn't really need to worry about development tools like Sony did, because Psygnosis and the likes of them already had all the necessary tools to develop on Amiga, so the CD32 was already catered for. A machine in part lives and dies on the quality of its software. Simply rehashing existing titles with the added 'bonus' of an extra scrolling backdrop (wow!) isn't developing a killer title.
As mentioned, lots of manufacturers sell at a loss to promote the console. Commodore couldn't afford to do that, but the CD32 could have been significantly cheaper than it was. It should have been in every Amiga A5oo/A12oo owners homes as well as their Amigas because of it being so cheap.
In conclusion: Commodore only have themselves to blame. Ever since they didn't have a replacement for the Commodore 64 they were struggling. Amiga Inc came along at the right time, they were lucky, because they didn't have anything before they came along.
Then when its obvioust that the Amiga needs a serious kick up the arse to keep it fresh, they wait 2 years too long, and its successor isn't sufficiently improved to really make people go WOW like the original Amiga did. To be honest, the new Amiga should have at LEAST been the equal or less of the first Playstation. Seeing the first Playstation games at ECTS all those years ago, gave me the same feelings when I saw the Amiga for the first time.
The CD32 wasn't a terrible machine, it was actually ok, but unfortunately, its not good enough in the hardware wars to be simply 'ok', and it seems that Commodore never strived to be any better than that.