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      /  Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
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Hammer 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 2-Sep-2021 7:49:08
#41 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 4270
From: Australia

@matthey

Quote:

The AGA delay and cheapness was mostly due to management ineptness. CBM management was more about providing "less for less" than "more for less". This resulted in cheapened AGA, slow CPUs, slow memory (handicapped AGA more), ECS Amiga 600s instead of AGA Amiga 1200s, ECS Amiga 3000 instead of AGA Amiga 3000, cheapened Amiga 4000, ECS CR CDTV instead of AGA CD32 sooner, etc. They forgot about value and woke up one day in the '90s to realize the Amiga was nearly outdated with no viable hardware upgrade pipeline.

Amiga ECS mindset was shown in C128 that has aging C64 gaming hardware with "business" monochrome high-resolution mode. C128 is useless and it was easily defeated by the Atari ST.

Amiga ECS has aging A500 gaming hardware with "business" four-color high-resolution modes.

Amiga Ranger was canceled for PC's post-VGA wannabe TIGA aka A2410.

Amiga Ranger chipset with VRAM (for 2 MB Chip RAM) could go up to 1024×1024 pixels with 128 colors (7-bit color depth) in 1987. 32-bit DRAM was a good compromise when VRAM was expensive. Be mindful of CSG's transistor budget in 1987, hence the Amiga Ranger chipset's 4096 color palette with 128 colors (7-bit planes) display.

I preferred the Amiga Ranger chipset enabled Amiga 3000 over ECS. TIGA/A2410 does not advance Amiga's chipset evolution i.e. there's some fool at CBM who is PC market-centric. TIGA/A2410 was nearly pointless for the AmigaOS since RTG wasn't matured.




Last edited by Hammer on 06-Sep-2021 at 05:42 AM.
Last edited by Hammer on 02-Sep-2021 at 07:52 AM.

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bitman 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 2-Sep-2021 8:40:49
#42 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 25-Mar-2008
Posts: 704
From: Fredericia, Denmark

The A1200 lost sales because of the prices of extra hardware.

I was an early adaptor of the A1200 in Denmark. I think it was priced around £400 then. To use the new graphics modes I had to buy a Commodore MultiSync monitor - can't remember the modelname, but that was additional £300 or £400.

I also needed a HardDrive - but because of Commodore stupidity it had to be a 2.5" drive, which was also very expensive compared to 3.5" HD's

Lastly in order to use Imagine at "decent" speed a 030 accelerator with additional RAM was needed - again an extra cost around £400/£500

So in order to get a decent setup you would normally spend between £1200 and £1500 - and at that time you could get a very decent PC for less money (around £600/£700).

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Turrican3 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 2-Sep-2021 9:54:49
#43 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 20-Jun-2003
Posts: 353
From: Italy

@agami

Well there's a reason I said there were multiple factors involved.

But I do believe piracy was definitely not trivial on the Amiga: the point is, any platform must build a healthy market regardless of piracy.

When the vast majority of people doesn't purchase your game, your install base is way smaller than the previous generation (and SW development costs are very likely higher), while on the other hand you have cheaper, more or less comparable hardware with roughly a combined 20x userbase plus virtually non-existant piracy, I guess the platform that's going to be dropped sooner rather than later is not that difficult to choose.

And that's exactly what happened to the Amiga. Heck, at the time I vividly remember reading about many publishers publicly blaming piracy and talking about a very grim future for the platform... they were right!

All of this was happening while PCs were improving a lot from a technical point of view: yes they were still relatively expensive (definitely more than consoles), but the point is an expanded A1200 as @bitman recalled, often ended up costing more and offering less. With publishers giving less and less support to the Amiga, and most AGA software being mere more colorful re-releases of existing ECS titles, it was clear value was not there anymore.

A perfect storm if you prefer, but that's what you get for heavily mismanaging your company. :-\

So, was it piracy alone that killed the Amiga? Definitely not! But it was among the key factors IMHO.


@matthey

I think we can agree on almost everything you said.

Last edited by Turrican3 on 02-Sep-2021 at 09:59 AM.
Last edited by Turrican3 on 02-Sep-2021 at 09:57 AM.
Last edited by Turrican3 on 02-Sep-2021 at 09:56 AM.

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BigD 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 2-Sep-2021 10:11:49
#44 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 5910
From: UK

@bitman

Quote:
The A1200 lost sales because of the prices of extra hardware.


Just like in the PC space those upgrades could be made incrementally over years rather than straight away. The 2.5" hard drive thing was annoying but prices had come down by 1995 and some people hacked 3.5" drives into their cases

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Nonefornow 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 2-Sep-2021 15:47:34
#45 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 29-Jul-2013
Posts: 154
From: Greater Los Angeles Area

@bitman

I think this was a sentiment also largely shared in the US. Except maybe for the A2000 - the Amiga computers were considered to expensive to be used as game machines and not powerful enough to be used in a business / productivity environment.

Hence the love for NES and the development of PCs.

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kolla 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 2-Sep-2021 17:58:40
#46 ]
Super Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 1813
From: Trondheim, Norway

@matthey

Quote:

The Amiga 3000 could have had AGA and a CD-ROM bay and the Amiga 1200 could have had a slim profile CD-ROM.


Only the A3000T had room for contemporary CD drives, slim profile CD drives didn’t exist yet.

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matthey 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 4-Sep-2021 0:41:30
#47 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1148
From: Kansas

Hammer Quote:

Amiga Ranger was canceled for PC's post-VGA wannabe TIGA aka A2410.


ECS was the cost reduced Ranger replacement for the Amiga. The A2410 was a high end gfx card, which as I recall, was more for the Amiga 3000UX (Unix). The Unix market was up scale with high margins but CBM botched it after all the expense of porting Unix to the Amiga 3000 and making a higher end gfx card available.

Hammer Quote:

Amiga Ranger chipset with VRAM (for 2 MB Chip RAM) could go up to 1024×1024 pixels with 128 colors (7-bit color depth) in 1987. 32-bit DRAM was a good compromise when VRAM was expensive. Be mindful of CSG's transistor budget in 1987, hence the Amiga Ranger chipset's 4096 color palette with 128 colors (7-bit planes) display.


Yes, Ranger had more visible colors with likely more usable higher resolutions compared to ECS. VRAM (dual ported gfx memory) added expense but increasing gfx bandwidth was a challenge up to a around 2000 when DDR memory became reliable. There was no problem with using cheaper gfx memory on low end Amigas but the high end using a 68000+ECS with the slowest possible memory everywhere and no onboard memory expansion or hard drive controller for the high end Amiga 2000 was a travesty. CBM failed to move the Amiga forward.

Hammer Quote:

I preferred the Amiga Ranger chipset enabled Amiga 3000 over ECS. TIGA/A2410 does not advance Amiga's chipset evolution i.e. there's some fool at CBM that was PC market-centric. TIGA/A2410 was nearly pointless for the AmigaOS since RTG wasn't matured.


Sure. Ranger would have been better than ECS in the 3000 but by then we should have had AGA. Like I said above, I think the TIGA A2410 was created for the Amiga 3000UX which explains the poor software support for the board in the AmigaOS.

kolla Quote:

Only the A3000T had room for contemporary CD drives, slim profile CD drives didn’t exist yet.


The 3000 case could have been a few cm taller which would have allowed for a full size bay. The 1200 case could have used a flip up top CD-ROM at the top above the floppy with lid opening to right side and using the same cheap audio CD-ROM drive of the CD-32 (the case could have been slightly taller too if needed). The CD-32 style drive could have been much shallower and used a flat top so it would have been barely visible when closed on a 1200. The mechanism itself was so cheap that CBM should have considered making it standard as the included software could have come on a CD-ROM instead of floppy disks which may have cost 1/4 of what the CD-ROM drive would have cost. My point is that CBM didn't have a comprehensive plan or goals which in this case contributed to the lack of a CD-ROM standard on the Amiga.

Last edited by matthey on 04-Sep-2021 at 01:15 AM.
Last edited by matthey on 04-Sep-2021 at 12:42 AM.

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ppcamiga1 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 4-Sep-2021 6:37:52
#48 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 23-Aug-2015
Posts: 269
From: Unknown

Amiga 1200 sales lost and Commodore bankrupt because Amiga 1200 has not

- chunky pixels
- protection of first memory page
- slots for FAST RAM

First two things will cost Commodore almost nothing, maybe month or two work on chipset
slots for FAST RAM on board will be also unexpensive

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paolone 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 4-Sep-2021 10:36:01
#49 ]
Super Member
Joined: 24-Sep-2007
Posts: 1096
From: Unknown

@BigD

The Amiga A500 was hyped because 1) Amiga A1000 had already been on the market, an it was a pricey-yet-desired wet dream for all people in the IT 2) so you could finally buy an affordable Amiga computer!

The Amiga A1200 hadn't been advertised enough, just because of poor marketing vision by Commodore: 1992 was still a good time to sell it, but Commodore completely missed the need for marketing and advertising, since they were accustomed to their bad "we'll sell anyway like we always did" idea.

But sad reality was that the AGA solution was not ahead of its time like previous products were, and PCs were getting cheaper and popular even among people who loved the Amiga for its business potential, for instance artists. A friend of mine invested a lot of money into a costy A4000 to discover that all his friends/mates at art school were already using expandable PCs and just considered the Amiga a toy (which was obviously wrong, we know, but that was the trend of the time already).

Commodore got a bad lesson 2 years before with the C64GS console, not to speak about the CDTV. Only God knows why they insisted into the totally wrong idea of turning computers into something else. CD32 was a ####ing mistake, coupled by the other great mistake of not releasing a CD-ROM player solution for existing Amigas, in time for the multimedia revolution.

Not to talk about the messy A300/A600 "we ####ed this so bad with the 264 line long ago, whyt not repeating the same mistake again?" drama. The could release a low low cost Amiga with the A300, but they prefered renaming it A600 and selling it twice the price, with no people understanding why they should buy that instead of a cheaper and more reliable A500+.

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OneTimer1 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 4-Sep-2021 13:31:16
#50 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2015
Posts: 676
From: Unknown

@BigD

1991 Cheap and fast AMD 386 40 MHz System became available.
1993 Doom and a lot of other 3D games https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doom_(franchise)
1993 Pentium CPU released by Intel
1994 Commodore went bankrupt https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_International
1995 Playstation got available https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation
1996 Tomb Raider was released for PC, Sega and Playstation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_Raider_(1996_video_game)

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AmigaMac 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 5-Sep-2021 3:20:34
#51 ]
Super Member
Joined: 26-Oct-2002
Posts: 1065
From: 3rd Rock from the Sun!

@amigang

I absolutely loved that design. Seemed like a natural progression of the form factor.

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Kronos 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 5-Sep-2021 7:27:20
#52 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 2225
From: Unknown

@ppcamiga1

Quote:

ppcamiga1 wrote:
Amiga 1200 sales lost and Commodore bankrupt because Amiga 1200 has not

- chunky pixels
- protection of first memory page
- slots for FAST RAM

First two things will cost Commodore almost nothing, maybe month or two work on chipset
slots for FAST RAM on board will be also unexpensive



Chunky pixels would have required full understanding of the chipset (which noone at C= had at the time) and a massive rework (expensive)
Protecting the "1st page" would have had an impact on compability and performance.
Slots for fast RAM, sure sounds easy, but....
Would have required some extra components (not just the slots) which wouldn't have been that much cheaper then the plain RAM-cards for the trapdoor.
And where to place them? A 2nd trapdoor? Crippling the one trapdoor to only support RAM expansion?

IMO a 1+1MB solution on the board with the "clockport" to add the 2nd MB of chip would have been the best way to get performance up while keeping costs down.



A few random thoughts :

- C= produced 200-250k A1200 compared to millions of A500s so no wonder dealer ran out of stock by late 95
- Playstation games looked crap .... when they were doing something (3D) the A1200 couldn't really do, 2D was superior to the A1200
- Sure the A1200 was way better than an AtariST but was a joke compared to the Falcon (which had a ton of issues too)
- A500 in 88-92 was by far the best you could get for gaming at that price. A1200 was a mediocre option compared to Playstation or dad's handmedown PC
- A1200 specific SW barely existed in the 15 months between release and C= going down

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paolone 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 5-Sep-2021 14:12:01
#53 ]
Super Member
Joined: 24-Sep-2007
Posts: 1096
From: Unknown

@OneTimer1

Quote:

OneTimer1 wrote:
@BigD

1991 Cheap and fast AMD 386 40 MHz System became available.
1993 Doom and a lot of other 3D games https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doom_(franchise)
1993 Pentium CPU released by Intel
1994 Commodore went bankrupt https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_International
1995 Playstation got available https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation
1996 Tomb Raider was released for PC, Sega and Playstation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_Raider_(1996_video_game)


I'd also add

1996 3Dfx releases Voodoo Graphics, the first 3D accelerator for PC

By the way, while setting up and buying more and more powerful PCs was getting cheaper and cheaper in 1994-95, buying a full fledged and accelerated Amiga A4000 was extremely pricey. In a nutshell, PC offered better price/performance ratio with high-end configurations.

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OneTimer1 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 5-Sep-2021 21:16:19
#54 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2015
Posts: 676
From: Unknown

Quote:

paolone wrote:


1996 3Dfx releases Voodoo Graphics, the first 3D accelerator for PC


Introduced in 1995 the S3 Virtual Reality Graphics Engine (ViRGE) graphics chipset was one of the first 2D/3D accelerators designed for the mass market.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S3_ViRGE

But this early 3D pioneer was not faster than a 120MHz Pentium and S3 could not compete with 3Dfx later.

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SHADES 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 6-Sep-2021 5:41:23
#55 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 13-Nov-2003
Posts: 702
From: Melbourne

@BigD

The A1200 was originally supposed to come with the new AAA chipset being developed by D.Haynie and others.
It was then marketed that it would come with a stripped down variation called AGA due to time constraints. (Yeah, maybe)
Anyway, machines at the time were moving from VGA into 3D and well, AGA wasn't that much better to VGA and the AMIGA was fighting off marketing aiming it as a "games" machine. Go figure, because that's what consoles and handhelds do today, rather well.

Suffice to say, I was sorely disappointed by the sudden change to a very well speced machine at the time.
I still bought one but was hanging out for AAA which, got cancelled. I still think to this day, that was the end of AMIGA right there. It was now lagging.

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Hammer 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 6-Sep-2021 5:55:31
#56 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 4270
From: Australia

@matthey

Quote:

ECS was the cost reduced Ranger replacement for the Amiga. The A2410 was a high end gfx card, which as I recall, was more for the Amiga 3000UX (Unix). The Unix market was up scale with high margins but CBM botched it after all the expense of porting Unix to the Amiga 3000 and making a higher end gfx card available.

16 bit ECS is useless for Amiga 3000's 32 bit Chip Ram. Amiga 500 Plus has the same ECS capability as Amiga 3000's ECS.

Amiga 3000's ECS can be re-used for Amiga 500 Rev 6 motherboards which have the PCB design to support 2 MB Chip Ram.


Quote:

Yes, Ranger had more visible colors with likely more usable higher resolutions compared to ECS. VRAM (dual ported gfx memory) added expense but increasing gfx bandwidth was a challenge up to a around 2000 when DDR memory became reliable. There was no problem with using cheaper gfx memory on low end Amigas but the high end using a 68000+ECS with the slowest possible memory everywhere and no onboard memory expansion or hard drive controller for the high end Amiga 2000 was a travesty. CBM failed to move the Amiga forward.

Again, 32-bit normal DRAM was a good compromise when VRAM was expensive.

Quote:

Sure. Ranger would have been better than ECS in the 3000 but by then we should have had AGA. Like I said above, I think the TIGA A2410 was created for the Amiga 3000UX which explains the poor software support for the board in the AmigaOS.

For 1987's CSG chip fabrication capabilities, Ranger chipset is suitable. AGA requires CSG chip fabrication upgrades or VLSI and HP outsourcing.

Apple's MacOS X (from NextStep) is unix for the masses.

Last edited by Hammer on 06-Sep-2021 at 06:03 AM.

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Hammer 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 6-Sep-2021 6:17:41
#57 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 4270
From: Australia

@SHADES

Quote:

SHADES wrote:
@BigD

The A1200 was originally supposed to come with the new AAA chipset being developed by D.Haynie and others.
It was then marketed that it would come with a stripped down variation called AGA due to time constraints. (Yeah, maybe)
Anyway, machines at the time were moving from VGA into 3D and well, AGA wasn't that much better to VGA and the AMIGA was fighting off marketing aiming it as a "games" machine. Go figure, because that's what consoles and handhelds do today, rather well.

Suffice to say, I was sorely disappointed by the sudden change to a very well speced machine at the time.
I still bought one but was hanging out for AAA which, got cancelled. I still think to this day, that was the end of AMIGA right there. It was now lagging.

For Quake, Athlon XP @1.8Ghz with IBM VGA (~8 fps rollup frame rate) is slower than 68060 with AGA. AGA can support full-motion video e.g. Time Gal laser disc port.

VGA/SVGA clones can be faster when compared to IBM's original VGA.

Last edited by Hammer on 06-Sep-2021 at 06:18 AM.

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Hammer 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 6-Sep-2021 6:35:35
#58 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 4270
From: Australia

@Kronos

Quote:
Sure the A1200 was way better than an AtariST but was a joke compared to the Falcon (which had a ton of issues too)


Atari Falcon's 68030 at 16 Mhz was gimped by a 16-bit bus. In terms of IPC (instructions per clock), 68020 and 68030 are similar.

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SHADES 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 6-Sep-2021 6:56:47
#59 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 13-Nov-2003
Posts: 702
From: Melbourne

@Hammer

Quote:

Hammer wrote:
@SHADES
For Quake, Athlon XP @1.8Ghz with IBM VGA (~8 fps rollup frame rate) is slower than 68060 with AGA. AGA can support full-motion video e.g. Time Gal laser disc port.

VGA/SVGA clones can be faster when compared to IBM's original VGA.


Which card? I had a Tseng Labs ET 4000 and that thing was fast.

Last edited by SHADES on 06-Sep-2021 at 07:04 AM.

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scuzz 
Re: Why the lost A1200 sales in the mid 90s?
Posted on 21-Sep-2021 1:31:04
#60 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 30-May-2004
Posts: 361
From: New Forest United Kingdom

@BigD

1995 saw the opening of Escom in my local town. I walked into the store expecting Amiga stuff and was greeted with a shop assistant keen on selling me a PC. In those days the only information I received about the platform was through the magazines. And the mags were getting thinner and thinner and thinner. The Escom saga just cemented the Amiga fate for me. I so wanted to carry on but I needed a CD as standard and graphics that supported the internet. The only way to achieve this was by towering and I wasn't about to destroy my beloved 1200.

I soldiered on to the summer of 1996 but when Game hoofed the Amiga from the main floor into the basement I had had enough. What was worse was the Amiga games were just so bad.

The only machines on sale were Amiga Technologies A1200s which I already had and extremely over priced A4000 and A4000T machines. Why on earth would I continue with this platform sinking money into a failing product. I had had enough of feeling like a second class user.

In July 1996 I bought a PC and it felt like I had unblocked the blockage. I was suddenly free again. It got better when the next year I got a PlayStation and I haven't looked back.

https://www.scuzzscink.com/amiga/scuzzblog_september21/scuzzblogdseptember21_1201.htm

The Amiga didn't lose sales, cus there was nothing to buy. I wanted to walk into a shop a proper shop and buy stuff that worked off the shelf. The PC I bought had a monitor, CD, graphics card, was internet ready and oodles of disk space. It had twelve months warranty and received upgrades. If the Amiga had been able to revitalise its market in 1995 with the Escom shops and created at least the CD addon to the 1200 I may have hung on a bit longer. Sadly there was no support from the Amiga from the owner. So if they didn't have any faith in the product why should I.

Escom gave up and the platform was again in the same mess. There was never any structured sales and support of the product after Commodore went bust. The platform circled the drain for ten years and then just faded from popular view to become the specialist interest of the few. I'm still a sucker cus I actually bought a new Amiga in 2003 and have never switched my machines off. I still enjoy the Amiga but I'm no retro gamer. I play what is current. Always have.

Game over boys. Has been since Duke Nukem. Read my blog link.

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