The Giant Killers: Video games and consoles that killed their companies

Which epic fail gaming products brought down entire corporations?

  • Every year, the video games industry gets flooded with products and it's no surprise a few rotten apples would crop up along the way.

    Some of these apples are bad enough they can bring down an entire tree.

    Here are some of the gaming's epic fails that saw the demise of their creators.

  • Sega – Sega Dreamcast

    Sega was once brushing shoulders with Nintendo and Sony in the video games console arena.

    But by the late 90s, Sega had lost a lot of its mojo and was banking on the Sega Dreamcast to change its fortunes. The machine was released before all the other sixth generation consoles such as the PlayStation 2 and miles ahead of its time.

    Despite gaining some traction in the Japanese and European market, it was criminally underrated in the US and bombed miserably. Sega, with its tail between its legs, ended up withdrawing from the console market completely.

    While Sega remains a strong software maker in the industry, its console division is well and truly dead.
  • Trilobyte – Uncle Henry’s Playhouse

    No matter how cheap the development costs were, selling 176 copies of a game worldwide would spell doom for any company.

    Incidentally, Uncle Henry’s Playhouse was the last game released by Tribobyte, the company that created one of the first CD-ROM game, The 7th Guest.
  • Acclaim – BMX XXX

    For once, sex didn’t sell.

    BMX XXX, published by Acclaim Entertainment, was rife with nudity but even that didn’t save it from poor sales. Maybe it’s because mums and dads don’t want to buy animated porn as Christmas gifts for their children.

    The failure of BMX XXX played a big role in Acclaim’s downfall in 2004.
  • Ion Storm – Daikatana

    Daikatana would go down in history as the game that not only killed Ion Storm but Doom creator, Jon Romero’s reputation as well.

    It was riddled with controversy at the beginning of its development. Romero had promised the world with his game, Daikatana. But internal conflict, numerous delays and a terrible marketing campaign doomed the game which ultimately failed to impress the critics and the consumers when it was released in 2001.

    One year later, Ion Storm’s Dallas head office closed down.
  • The 3DO Company – 3DO Interactive Multiplayer

    Have you made a decision that you later ended up kicking yourself for?

    Well, you haven't kicked nearly as hard as EA Games co-founder, Trip Hawkins. He left the publisher just before EA hit the big time to form 3DO.

    It was to be a console maker and created a CD-based games system called the 3DO Interactive. Sounds good… so what was the problem? The hefty price-tag.

    Released in 1993, it was priced at a whopping $US699. Sony PlayStation 3, eat your heart out.

    That and there weren’t many (if any) good titles exclusive to the format.

    Unsurprisingly, the 3DO console flopped. The company’s venture into being third-party developer also met an untimely demise.

    Hawkins now runs a mobile gaming company called Digital Chocolate.
  • Clover Studio – God Hand

    Clover Studio was full of promise. After all, some of the best Capcom developers including Shiniji Mikami, Hideki Kamiya and Atsushi Inaba, were involved with the company.

    While it made the critically acclaimed Okami, Clover’s next game, God Hand, received lukewarm reviews and didn’t sell well at all.

    Even the creators admitted they took a bit too much creative liberty with the game.

    While it was reported the company’s closure in 2007 was due to the departure of Mikami, Kamiya and Inaba, surely the commercial failure of God Hand would have contributed to their decision to leave.
  • Tiger Electronics – R-Zone and

    Tiger Entertainment’s first console was the R-Zone, an unsuccessful handheld with limited capabilities and an ugly design.

    The company’s follow-up, was intended to compete with the Nintendo Game Boy. posed little competition despite boasting a touchscreen years before the Nintendo DS was ever conceived. Too bad the touchscreen was shockingly hard to use and the handheld had a small library of games.

    Thanks to its two console fails, Tiger was eventually sold to Hasbro.
  • Auran Development – Fury

    Once one of the biggest game developers in Australia, Brisbane-based Auran Development was cut down by its failed MMO game, Fury.

    Poor reception and tepid sales figures for Fury, a game which Auran spent $15 million developing, sent the company into voluntary administration in 2007. Parts of the company are still operating but with 80 per cent of the staff gone, it is a hollow shell of its former self.
  • Atari – E.T. Extra-Terrestrial

    There is an urban myth the game E.T. Extra-Terrestrial killed Atari.

    I’m inclined to believe that.
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