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Domestic | Feature

Feature: The 10 Worst-Selling Consoles of All Time (page 2 of 2)

5. Virtual Boy

Not quite a portable, definitely not a handheld, Nintendo released the Virtual Boy a few months after Sega's Saturn in the summer of 1995 (a bad time for hardware launches). Priced at a pricey $180 dollars, the red monochrome system was met with a lukewarm reception despite its pseudo-3D graphics and continued price drops. Nintendo rushed the Virtual Boy to market in light of longer-than-expected N64 delays resulting in a poor selection of games and third-party support. Hence, only 770,000 units were ever sold, and the Virtual Boy was discontinued after just one year. It would be Nintendo's only commercial hardware flop but at the additional expense of losing the creator of the venerable Game Boy line and Metroid franchise. That man Gunpei Yokoi who also designed the Virtual Boy, was kindly asked to leave after the debacle.

Key games: None, really

4. CD-i

If there was one machine that didn't know what it was, it was Philip's CD-i. Released in 1991 and heavily promoted via infomercials, the system was similar to the Sega CD in that it played 16-bit video CDs but was marketed as an all encompassing "interactive" player that included educational software, music, and self-improvement titles in addition to a limited number of video games. The arrival of cheaper, more powerful consoles in the mid 90s effectively sealed its fate, but miraculously, Philips life-supported the system until 1998 when it was finally discontinued. The CD-i would only sell a paltry 570,000 units.

Key games: Zelda: The Wand of Gannon, Dragon's Lair, Myst

3. Atari Jaguar

The Jaguar was Atari's last-ditch effort to deliver a financially successful video game console. The system was released in November 1993 as a 64-bit machine when in reality it was a 32-bit system (only the graphics card had 64-bit capabilities). Launching at a $250 price point, Jaguar was marketed under the slogan "Do the Math." Let's take Atari up on that mathematical challenge: Atari's final console sold a measly 250,000 units in just over a year on the market. Sure the system had the ultra-cool Tempest 2000, but just about every other game was garbage. Is it a coincidence that the number three console on our list had the worst game controller ever invented by man? We think not.

Key games: Aliens vs. Predator, Tempest 2000, Iron Soldier

2. Sega 32X

The 32X was the epitome of Sega's hardware failure. Launched in November 1994, this second Genesis add-on left gamers even more confused in light of the previously released Sega CD. Just how many 16-bit attachments did one need? All in all, if you were one of the unlucky souls who completely bought into Sega's add-on frenzy, you would have spent a whopping $650 dollars for something that weighed about us much as a small dog. The real problem, however, was that Sega of America (which developed the 32X) had no idea the Saturn was being developed in Japan until it was too late. As a result, the 32X was half-heartily supported for only a few months selling an unthinkably low 200,000 units.

Key games: Virtua Racing Deluxe, Knuckles Chaotix, Doom

1. Apple Pippen

Apple and successful Japanese toy maker Bandai teamed up in 1995 to delivery a next-gen video game console and their lack of experience showed. The system launched at a pricey $599, making it more expensive albeit less powerful than the competition (kinda hard to sell something on that value proposition). The platform failed to gain any traction, had an appallingly limited roster of games, and only sold 42,000 units before being discontinued in 1997. Combine its ridiculously low sales in addition to making PC World's "Worst Tech Products of All-time," and the Pippin easily tops our list of the most under-performing, high-profile consoles ever.

Key games: none

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