What is the BetaMax of Video Games?

Please help me win an argument with my forum friend @kory because we are fighting (not really, but I'm saying it to get people riled up and to drive engagement) about what the Betamax of video games is.

I posit that [Betamax](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betamax) was:

  • - Technologically superior to its competing formats (the analog video was stored in 3-channel component rather than composite with VHS)
  • - Was ruthlessly promoted and defended as a platform by Sony
  • - A format loved by earlier adopters/nerds of its day (e.g. my Dad)
  • - Licensing fees became its downfall as the industry didn't want to pay Sony, and you can throw in something about the "Adult" industry not supporting it which may or may not be apocryphal
  • I'd suggest that the NEC PC-FX may be the Betamax of video games except for the fact that the Japanese adult games industry loved it!

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/IzaI7to.jpeg]

    Posting this, as instructed…

    Just gonna throw out “UMD” and check out for a while…will return later to see what engagement has ensued

    it's Mac gaming. I signed up for boy scouts because I wanted to go camping, but I soon discovered that it was basically just a pretext for nerds to have other nerds to play dungeons and dragons with. It was awful. I have a distinct memory of everyone arguing mac vs pc gaming and the scout master (grown man) lecturing everyone about how Macintosh would fail as a brand despite being a superior product by explaining to all of us (children) what happened to the Betamax format.

    Dead SONY format that was beaten by JVC…

    PSP UMD video

    [Reminder that JVC owns](https://forums.insertcredit.com/d/1771-not-thread-thread-space/16)

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    @“antillese”#p100977 Technologically superior to its competing formats

    vita

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    @“antillese”#p100977 Was ruthlessly promoted and defended as a platform by Sony

    vita

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    @“antillese”#p100977 A format loved by earlier adopters/nerds of its day

    this one's difficult. saturn/dreamcast? maybe it's the wiiu? stadia? the steam controller thingy?

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    @“antillese”#p100977 bureaucratic nonsense

    probably something sega

    verdict: tie between the vita and something sega did

    The first thing which jumped out at me was the Amiga! It was so far ahead of the competition for both PC and gaming, and was mismanaged into oblivion.

    Perhaps it was too successful to qualify…

    I idiotically want to suggest that if we’re talking about North America, it should be the Turbografx. I know the PC-Engine was extremely popular in Japan but so was Betamax, if I’m remembering correctly. The TG-16 was technologically superior to its early contemporaries but ended up losing out to the SNES and the Genesis.

    (I badly want to say it’s the PC-FX but I don’t think it’s the best fit. I also know it’s not Saturn because even though I love it with all my heart it was a platform with enough technical problems that I can’t say it was superior to the PS1)

    @“docky”#p100992 Oooooh! This is a good answer! Popular, but still weird and also pricey compared to its competitors. The MOD tracker format is still actively used today too which was introduced in 1987 on Amiga with the Ultimate Soundtracker program.

    @"Karasu"#p100995 I think this whole discussion is going to be very region-dependent in the pre-internet pre-Globalized marketplace. TG16 is a superb answer for North America.

    You could argue it was the Saturn also. Cut short because sony are their lunch, possibly learning a lesson from Betamax. Something you’re excited to find at a thrift store

    @“antillese”#p100977 just popping in to be Maximum Pedantic and point out that VHS stores video information as a split between chroma and luma, so it's “native” in s-video, unlike LaserDisc where the media itself is encoded in composite video at a format level.

    Granted, I've also never seen a Betamax VCR with any video outputs better than composite. Was it really stored in YCbCr, or was that Betacam, the pro standard? This part's a genuine question, cause I dang ol' don't know.

    @“andrewelmore”#p101012 I’m frantically trying to find a source, (Wikipedia doesn’t directly say it put implies it in the video format table with more luminance lines than chroma lines) but if you’ll take my word, it was 4,2,2 component based on what I remember my dad saying. But he was in broadcasting and the formats were different and I may be conflating that. I’m reasonably sure it was 3 channel video + audio.

    Hmmm I first thought of PSP, Vita and Saturn, then shifted to PC Engine and Dreamcast (but Sony support doesn’t match).

    If you need to check ALL the marks, because of Sony’s support, I would go with MSX, as a losing competitor to the NES/Famicom in Japan. But it’s a very Japanese-centered point of view.

    If you can get a little more loose with analogous situations, I think the PC Engine clinches it. Especially as it tried to compete in the US and got a dedicated niche of fans but quickly flamed out.

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    Technologically superior to its competing formats

    → Unarguably. It’s a 1987 hardware that still
    competed with its competitors’ next generation devices in 1994.

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    Was ruthlessly promoted and defended as a platform by Sony

    → Replace Sony with NEC, which was probably about as powerful as Sony back then.

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    A format loved by earlier adopters/nerds of its day

    → Both the Hucard and even moreso the CD-ROM format were way ahead of the conventional ROM cartridge in many ways, yet the CD didn’t pan out as the standard video game format until two console generations later.

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    Licensing fees became its downfall

    → Replace with “Nintendo’s ruthless software licensing department of that era became the PC Engine’s downfall”.

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    “Adult” industry

    → Replace with Squaresoft and Enix. (Make of that analogy what you will.)

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    I’d suggest that the NEC PC-FX may be the Betamax of video games

    PC-FX is more like the [Video 2000](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_2000) of its own hardware generation.

    I don‘t think it’s the definitive answer, but the Dreamcast is a definite contender. It was technologically superior to the PS2 in some ways (more effective at textures, anti-aliasing, and image quality, according to Segaretro). It was promoted enough to become the fastest selling console at launch. It‘s obviously still deeply loved by its adopters (myself included). Its downfall was the burden of multiple missteps by Sega during the Sega CD to Saturn period, and it might have sold more units if EA Sports supported it. My biggest sticking point is the time frame, since it didn’t even last for two years in America.

    Edit: I forgot to include that it used GD ROMs as its proprietary disc type.

    https://botsin.space/@botequippedwith/109713516418590761

    @"andrewelmore"#p101012 Update: I was wrong!

    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/fPqQy2S.jpeg]

    Should I put my dad into the Cool Parents thread? No! Sorry dad!

    Remember HD DVD

    Northern Forest Atlas guy voice:

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    @“yeso”#p100979 it’s Mac gaming. I signed up for boy scouts because I wanted to go camping, but I soon discovered that it was basically just a pretext for nerds to have other nerds to play dungeons and dragons with. It was awful. I have a distinct memory of everyone arguing mac vs pc gaming and the scout master (grown man) lecturing everyone about how Macintosh would fail as a brand despite being a superior product by explaining to all of us (children) what happened to the Betamax format.

    @“Gaagaagiins”#p101034 Yeah I do. And it was not the Betamax of video games.

    Was Betamax viable in any territory for a while? Amiga and Saturn had a lot of success for a few years for some companies.

    I wondered about comparing Betamax to Amstrad’s propriety 3” discs for Amstrad PCW, CPC and ZX Spectrum. Those things had crummy capacity though!

    Speaking of discs, perhaps it’s the **Famicom Disk drive?!**

    @“docky”#p101087 Betamax was very much viable in the US/Japanese market in the early 80s.

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    @“docky”#p101087 perhaps it’s the Famicom Disk drive?!

    I tend to think not, mostly because the FDS had a number of almost immediate problems come to light, like fragility of the media (and eventually the drive belt), and a bunch of issues around how easily the disks could be pirated by unauthorized manufacturers and the copy protection could be circumvented.

    I think (and I'm 100% positive @antillese can discuss this more eloquently and technically than I can) a lot of folks are making suggestions that are based on the idea that Betamax is inherently inferior to VHS, which isn't at all the case. A better way to think of it is that it's a technology that got dumped early for businessy reasons rather than consumer acceptance and then got smeared in popular media as garbage or antique.

    So then I guess Betamax is kindof the disco of home media formats (this is a joke, this is actually a very bad comparison)?