During the early 1990s many video gamers were amazed to see a whole new level of gaming in the form of the 3DO system. For those that do not remember the system, the 3DO system was a video game console produced by multiple manufacturers including Panasonic and Goldstar. The 3DO company essentially licensed its technology platform to each manufacturer which then produced their own units. When the system was first introduced, people were simply amazed by its graphics, sound, and multimedia abilities. During this time the market was dominated by the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo systems. However, people were not amazed by its initial price tag.
The Demise of the 3DO System
What should have been an amazing system that could have taken the video game market by storm ultimately floundered. The reasons were multifold. Its initial price point was set too high and consumers balked. Panasonic launched its first version of the 3DO with only two titles available. The ongoing popularity of other console makers also interfered with its initial adoption. However, like many other console releases that floundered at first, the system did catch on, at least briefly.
The Brief Success of the 3DO System
For a good year or two the 3DO did begin to take off. Both Electronic Arts and Crystal Dynamics turned out amazing titles that were both revolutionary and awe inspiring for the time. Later 3DO itself would start producing its own titles that also added whole dimensions of video game playing. Some of the better titles included Need for Speed, Gex, Starfighter, Road Rash, and Fifa Soccer to name a few. Many titles offered video cut scenes which were a new novelty at that time.
With its limited success, the 3DO seemed to be the on road to greater success. It was more advanced than the contenders on the market which included the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. A planned upgrade known commonly as M2 was widely promoted as offering even greater amazing graphics. However, a small problem began to rear its head: the Sony PlayStation.
The Sony PlayStation
As the 3DO continued to grow and expand its market share there were new announcements of a new console by Sony. The console was promoted as being a next generation effort which would eclipse the consoles that were then considered state of the art including the 3DO system. Sony launched the PlayStation to much fanfare and a great number of buyers. For the 3DO system market, the launch was meant the end of the 3DO's period of success. The PlayStation simply took over much of the video game market with incredible sales figures and a huge library.
The End of the Line
The result was the end of the 3DO system which was eventually terminated in 1996 and the M2 upgraded was sold off to Panasonic to become an ATM teller machine. Games could be bought for pennies on the dollar and the system became a collector's item on Ebay. Today 3DO systems can be found for several hundred dollars and are in high demand for collectors.
In looking back, the 3DO system did succeed in one profound way. It provided a platform for many developers to learn how to program advanced graphics and even pseudo 3D graphics that would later become the norm for video games. Many 3DO titles were copied over to the PlayStation market including Road Rash, Need for Speed, and other sports titles. In many ways, much of the 3DO system lived on in games produced for the PlayStation and later video game consoles.