The Amiga's Death Sentence
In the latter part of 1993, Future Publishing hosted a forum to discuss the state of the video games industry. Present and questioned were high-ranking representatives (usually Managing Directors) from these software companies/organisations:
Acclaim, Accolade, Bandai, Core Design, Domark, Electronic Arts, Elite, Gallup (who compile the weekly bestseller charts), Gametek, Gremlin, Interplay, Konami, Mindscape, Nintendo, Ocean, Sega, Sony, The Sales Curve, US Gold and Virgin.
The following extract comes from the introduction to the report published on the forum's findings.
"What we ended up with was an informed and informative snapshot of the current state of the market and an enlightened and enlightening view of some possible futures. The input from the sort of influential figures listed at the beginning of this report was invaluable and we are grateful for all the time and trouble they spent in helping to prepare this document.
"Obviously the group doesn't know exactly where the market is going, but it is interesting to note that they will all, to varying degrees, have a say in taking it there. These people don't just observe the market, they lead the market. If they believe the market is going in a certain direction, they are more likely to push it in that direction and so it becomes more likely that it will move in that direction. A self-fulfilling prophecy is created."
The report continues with analysis of the various areas of the market, with optimism generally ruling the day (almost 80% of respondents, for example, believing that the 16-bit console market would still be "Healthy" or at least "Hanging on" in 1998), until it reaches the section on the Amiga. The very first sentence sets the scene.
"The Amiga seems to be next on the industry's self-imposed hit-list. In certain quarters there is almost a race to abandon the format. We do, in fact, seem to be in the middle of a definite and irreversible decline."
This, remember, is 1993. Or in AP terms, around issue 30. The report continues:
"Next year the picture looks bleaker than ever, with only two firms looking for more than 10% of their business in the Amiga market. Those that do remain active see it as a "base" machine used for development and to get a game a good reputation to use as a springboard for licensing off into the more lucrative Nintendo and Sega markets.
"But as one Amiga supporter put it: 'Right now you can only make any money if you have a major hit - and then you can't make that much money. It's getting to the point where it's not even useful as a base machine. There's no point in using it as a springboard if it's actually unprofitable.'
"Not one of the panel saw a healthy Amiga market in 1995... As far as the games market is concerned, the Amiga's short-term future is bleak and there simply is no long-term future."
And just one more time for the hard of attention span - this was 1993. So do you see? The death of the Amiga was decided a long time before it actually happened. It was nothing to do with us, nothing to do with our depressing everybody by giving games realistic scores. Every major software publisher in the country decided to dump the machine THREE YEARS before AP finally closed. Most of them pretended to blame piracy (or perhaps were so stupid they actually believed it), but the simple facts were that the huge mark-ups offered by console software seemed massively more lucrative. That this would prove to be a near-fatal error for several of the companies concerned is, in the end, entirely irrelevant. The Amiga never stood a chance. Lay the blame where it belongs. And grow up.