Published on January 27, 2013 at 11:00 PM | by Philippe Baghdassarian1
Why Sonic Failed and Mario Won
Before I begin I want to say that I’m a bit of a Sega fanboy. I’ve owned every single console Sega has ever made except the Sega Master System since I was too young at the time it came out.
The fact that Mario won and Sonic failed is unfortunately not debatable, the numbers speaks for themselves. The big question is why? So, let’s look at a few points.
When fast paced is too fast paced
As a kid I loved the fast paced gameplay Sonic gave me. When I visited friends and played Mario it just looked so boring, I wanted to run like a crazy mofo and finish the whole stage within a minute. For someone that grew up with it I guess that’s fine. But what about people who grew up playing Mario? I’ve had many friends look at me playing Sonic 2 and tell me “it was just too fast paced and they didn’t understand what was happening”. Mario, on the other hand, is more casual and everyone can play it, young or old. Accessibility is an important part of a video game and Sonic might be out of reach for people who are used to the Nintendo gameplay style.
Staying True to their brand
Sega always tried to “update” Sonic by making him hipper and cooler. After all, that was their market, Sonic has always been cooler than Mario but why change a winning formula? In my opinion, that was a really bad marketing call and one of the main reasons for Sonic games performing poorly in the last few years.
Sega retiring from Console manufacturing Market
After the Saturn Sega had a hard time to keep up with the Market. It’s no secret that the Sega Saturn was not a hit outside of Japan. The console was quickly over-powered by the Playstation which sold 100,000 consoles in its first week, whereas the Saturn only sold 80,000 consoles in its first three months.
After the Saturn, Sega attempted to leap forward with the Dreamcast but the popularity of the Nintendo 64 already had the console struggling at launch. The Playstation 2 later completely killed the Dreamcast and Sega unfortunately had to retire from the console market.
Why does that matter to Sonic? Sega obviously lost a lot of money on the Dreamcast and Saturn and were unable to produce high quality Sonic titles for quite a while.
Some recomforting thoughts
Sonic has been performing better recently, Sonic Colors and Generations both received good scores from critics and players alike. So, as they say, the battle might have been won, but the war is not over.