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      /  AmigaCD32 30 years on
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Poll : AmigaCD32 main issue was
Limited Game Library
Marketing and Distribution
Legal Issues / Commodore Bankruptcy
Timing
Lack of Exclusive Titles
Underpowered
Pankcakes were not included
 
PosterThread
Rob 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 23-Sep-2023 8:28:07
#101 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 20-Mar-2003
Posts: 6321
From: S.Wales

@Kronos

The optimum time for Commodore to release an Amiga based console would have been in 1987.

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Kronos 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 23-Sep-2023 8:38:33
#102 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 2403
From: Unknown

@Rob

Nope, consoles were dead at that time.

And it would have cost way to much.

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amigang 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 23-Sep-2023 11:59:47
#103 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 12-Jan-2005
Posts: 2000
From: Cheshire, England

@Rob
I think the timing of release wasn't too bad, I think commodore would of been better position with better hardware, 68030 and 4mb Fast Ram, then also adopted a very low commission of software releases so they could collect money on all releases, this could of with the higher spec hardware subsides the higher cost of making the hardware back down to the same price or even lower. £249.99 would have been nice.

But also I think having a CD-Rom addon for the A1200 released at the same time at a low price would of also help gained extra cd-rom sales and demonstrate a bigger market to sell too.

Then maybe made the A2400 a A1200 but with 68030, 4mb fast ram and a CD-Rom drive in a A1200 type case released in xmas 1994 for say an aggressive price of say £499.99, with CD32 compatible built in.

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matthey 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 24-Sep-2023 0:22:48
#104 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1878
From: Kansas

Turrican3 Quote:

Well that's hardly surprising, isn't it?

I mean even ignoring the potential common code baseline with other AGA hardware which would only make the comparison even more embarassing (huge installs are not an issue anymore in 2023 as it can be safely assumed most AGA owners have a decently sized mass storage, the only incompatibility I can see is wanting to have CD audio at all costs), we're talking about a potential difference of *two* orders of magnitude in the userbase.


The majority of Amiga games are not AGA enhanced. Only a small minority of Amiga owners have ever owned an AGA Amiga. Many Amiga fans want(ed) to experience the best Amiga hardware so AGA and CD32 support became much more popular using emulation than the Amiga 1200 and CD32 units sold and the number of AGA and CD32 games from when C= was alive would indicate. I wouldn't be surprised if the number of AGA and CD32 games has doubled since C= died. That is what I find surprising. Emulation can give fans a taste of the higher end hardware they didn't have but it can't provide further enhanced hardware like a CD32+. The Natami/Vamp/AC comes closer with many of the AA+ chipset enhancements in SAGA but also fails in FPGA, at least for the masses.

Turrican3 Quote:

Of course nobody knows how many CD32 units have been actually sitting, long forgotten, in a closet (or worse, got rid of) but that could be argued for PPC hardware too... of course, as I briefly mentioned before, I expect most reasonable developers to target AGA hardware and not specifically the CD32 (unless he *really* wants to, which makes little sense if you ask me) so I guess any OS4/PPC developer needs to have a very strong passion/motivation or perhaps some insurmountable technical requirement to target this tiny market


Sure, some if not most CD32s and other Amigas are out of service. There were CD32s that were not sold yet when C= died so there could have been well over 100,000 units put into circulation. Several developers on https://itch.io mentioned having and using CD32s for development and testing of the games they provided. A console having expandability into a full computer was more than a sales gimmick. The number of accelerators available for the CD32 has only increased too. Certainly the cheap prices of CD32s after the C= bankruptcy provided more than a few people like me with opportunities to experience AGA. Too bad C= didn't lower the price of the CD32 enough for this to happen before they went bankrupt.

Turrican3 Quote:

Please understand though I'd NEVER EVER blame them, I mean who am I to criticize? I'm just stating some very simple statistics (we have two platforms with a significantly different install base) but if anybody wants to spend his time for an extremely niche audience, so be it.


My problem is not with AmigaNOne and AmigaOS 4 fanatics but with Ben subsidized by Trevor stealing and blocking the rightful owner, Michele, from assembling the Amiga IP under Amiga Corporation. Michele doesn't have any problem with PPC AmigaNOne failing forever either but they are challenging ownership of 68k Amiga IP using the 2009 contract that appears to be illegally signed due to coercion under financial duress. I do have a problem with criminals blocking better opportunities for the Amiga and wasting financial resources on lawsuits that could be used on those opportunities.

Turrican3 Quote:

That's why some people have been advocating for a Raspberry Pi port for a long time.

But I don't think that's the right thread to open this can of worms (not to mention we have already discussed in the past )


The Raspberry Pi and ARM would be a better fit for the AmigaOS than PPC AmigaNOne desktop hardware. The Raspberry Pi market is saturated with free OSs though. A 68k Amiga hardware which retains high Amiga compatibility without emulation could be a game changer though. The 68k Amiga has some big game cannons and an enviable footprint for a budget personal computers.

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kolla 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 24-Sep-2023 8:09:14
#105 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 20-Aug-2003
Posts: 2692
From: Trondheim, Norway

@matthey

What if you look at Raspberry Pi (and ARM or whatever arch) also as a tool to reach what we want? What sucks for any kind of software emulation when it comes to Amiga is the chipset. In particular for games, which in large depend on the chipset. And certainly for quite a few productivity software titles too.

Why donít we have AmigaOS 3 running on Atari ST, TT and Falcon already?

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NutsAboutAmiga 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 24-Sep-2023 8:39:59
#106 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Jun-2004
Posts: 12678
From: Norway

@matthey

AGA is the last thing I want to put into any new game console computer that would be competitive with other computers, everything you can do in 2D, you can do in 3D, with modern graphics, so why would anyone ever think about putting a 2G chip inside?

the 68,000 processor, is not price competitive at all,

68060 can max be clocked at 100Mhz (over clocked).
FPGA solutions retches max 500Mhz (thatís technologies limitation)
M1 / M2 @ 3.49Ghz can emulated PowerPC at least 1.8Ghz.
AMD Ryzen @ 5Ghz can emulate a PowerPC at around 1.5Ghz.

Only most powerful AmigaONEís the 2.2 Ghz version is only one that canít be emulated at the moment.

Why get better speed on M1/M2 is because more a like to PowerPC, compared to x86 architecture.

the problem you have emulation is that host system loses some where between 50% to 70% of single core performance, while other core stay unused. (at least thatís problem with QEMU), our OS does not support more then one core, so even if QEMU supported multi core, its wonít help.

you can't compete with one hand, tied behind your back.

You need to make new 680x0 CPUís an they need to be better then the M1/M2 chips, you need insane investment, to do that, no one will be interested in doing that.

You canít compete on price, or hardware features if your buying the same hardware as everyone else,
you canít make argument for why anyone should use a less secure OS, even if its a game console.

We don't have any game construction kits that is modern, it's not easier or better to make games on amiga than on PC or on game consoles for other platforms.

there are no WOW features here.

In fact the only thing we have here is nostalgia, We are not going to take over the world we are not competitive on price product or tools nor support, there is no business model for amiga right now. As you put it the Raspberry Pi products are just toys for old boys. Kids of today are shamelessly spoiled with other products from other competitors,

680x0 is old, outdated technology, with only 32bit bus, PowerPC has 128bit instructions, and support 64bit integer and floats, this means better memory transferee rates. Its not just about MIPS, and single core performance. Large cache size is also major advantage on modern CPUís. when you emulate 680x0 CPU this thing helps. The real physical chips can perform badly unless you also increase the caches. This means it cost more, you say donít need it, because instructions are smaller, but they are also more complicated to decode. This why fixed length instructions is the standard, on ARM and PowerPC.

16bit is always nice in emulation because it fits in lookup tables. But on physical hardware, its not how itís done.

Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 24-Sep-2023 at 10:50 AM.
Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 24-Sep-2023 at 10:45 AM.
Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 24-Sep-2023 at 08:58 AM.
Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 24-Sep-2023 at 08:56 AM.

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Kronos 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 24-Sep-2023 9:13:15
#107 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 2403
From: Unknown

@kolla

Quote:

kolla wrote:

Why donít we have AmigaOS 3 running on Atari ST, TT and Falcon already?


I'm pretty sure that did exist but was even less used (and useful) then the other way around.

The Draco was kinda like ST/TT level HW + RTG and that one did run AOS.

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kolla 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 24-Sep-2023 11:11:47
#108 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 20-Aug-2003
Posts: 2692
From: Trondheim, Norway

@Kronos

Quote:

Kronos wrote:
@kolla

Quote:

kolla wrote:

Why donít we have AmigaOS 3 running on Atari ST, TT and Falcon already?


I'm pretty sure that did exist


Oh really, what makes you think so?

Quote:

The Draco was kinda like ST/TT level HW + RTG and that one did run AOS.


DraCo had CIA chips and its own ROM with (among other things) enough CGfX to produce graphical output. How would you accomplish this on Atari?

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Kronos 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 24-Sep-2023 11:20:06
#109 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 2403
From: Unknown

@kolla

CIAs were optional on the Draco and patching the ROM and address mapping would have been done in the same it was done for Mac or ST "emulators" (yes they were called that back then) on the Amiga.

I kinda remember the Amiga on ST emu as a tech demo far to incomplete and far to late to make any commercial sense.

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Rob 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 24-Sep-2023 15:02:48
#110 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 20-Mar-2003
Posts: 6321
From: S.Wales

@Kronos

Quote:
Nope, consoles were dead at that time.


In '85 and 86' and Nintendo were doing the important legwork to make consoles acceptable to American retailers, and in '87 they really reaped the benefits with $750M in sales and a userbase of 4M. I think the market could safely be declared no longer dead in 1987.

Quote:
And it would have cost way to much.


Is there a breakdown of the cost of all the parts somewhere?

A lot of cost savings could be made for cartridge based system which requires less ROM and RAM has no need for a floppy drive, keyboard and a myriad of unecessary connectors and supporting circitry.

If Commodore provided the cartridge manufacturing they could have sold the console as loss leader. It would have still been more expensive than the competition but the more advanced technology should be enough to justify maybe $100-150 more.

The only fly in the ointment may have been the price of ROM chips for the cartridge games. Historical ROM prices don't seem to be as readily available as those for RAM,

Memory prices came down over time which would have made such a console a more attractive proposition for consumers in the subsequent years and stealing a 2 year lead on Sega and NEC 's 16-bit offering could have put Commodore at huge advantage/

Of course this is Commodore we're walking and you could never underestimate their ability to screw things up.

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Kronos 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 24-Sep-2023 15:58:45
#111 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 2403
From: Unknown

@Rob

The consoles that Nintendo sold at that time did cost what and had what specs compared to an A500 (which was the Amiga CostReduced)?

While C= did have some money at that time it wouldn't been enough to to either sell an A500-console at a substantial loss and/or pre-finance a bunch of launch titles.

Also how much would you want to cut down the A500s spec without cutting down the quality of the games and/or forcing them to come in expensive cartridges with HW.

At that point why not cut the expensive 68000, reduce the databus to 8bit and put in a cheaper chipset?


Oh Wait.....


But again we are back at speculating at what C= could have done if the were anyone else BUT C=.

With maybe the exception of the A500 (just for not knowing one way or the other) everything post Tramiel C= was done or not done based on someone making a decision without proper though and planning.

Gould bought the Amiga because he had nothing 16Bit and it was the perfect opportunity to get back at Tramiel but once they launched the were so clueless it got pretty much canceled by 86.

C= Germany did the SideCar because the thought of the Amiga as toy they needed to transform into a real computer.
Later on they took some busboard they had found in West Chester files and combined it with the A1000 design to form the A2000(A) to house a simplified SideCar (aka the A2088). Off course without asking wether someone might be working on an update for those Amiga chips. Someone did (for the A500, hence it might being the only planned project) and when the A2000A turned out to be a turd we got the weird A2000B which should have had been more than an A500 with slots.

C128 -> unauthorized engineer brainfart that sold well
Plus/4 and similar, CDTV, A600 -> management brainfarts that flopped
A3000+ -> unauthorized engineer brainfart that got canceled, delayed and watered to the A4000
C65 -> who ever had this brainfarted, for sure liked wasting money on dead end product idieas

List is nowhere complete.


So yeah if C= had a crystal ball and 3 metric tons of cash they could have launched an A500 based console for the low low price of $499 (in 2023 $ thats over 1k) that noone asked for requiring games to have gigantic budgets to a market that was primarily XMas/birthday gifts for pre-teens.

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matthey 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 25-Sep-2023 0:51:22
#112 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1878
From: Kansas

NutsAboutAmiga Quote:

AGA is the last thing I want to put into any new game console computer that would be competitive with other computers, everything you can do in 2D, you can do in 3D, with modern graphics, so why would anyone ever think about putting a 2G chip inside?

Compatibility is an excellent reason to include AGA compatibility in an Amiga. It's small enough that it fits in an affordable FPGA while the production cost in an ASIC is negligible. There are some parts of an enhanced Amiga chipset which would be reusable like the display controller, audio and interrupt driven DMA I/O. My understanding is that there is 2D support even in 3D graphics cards just that it has been minimized and the Amiga chipset is minimized. Simple operations are lower latency and easier to program without uploading GPU programs to mass parallel universal shader cores. There are several enhanced FPGA Amiga chipsets driving HDMI, with RTG/chunky support and with 16 bit 8+ voice audio all with backward compatibility. GPU shader cores could be added too which would operate on chunky bitmaps but they take too much space for an FPGA, they are highly specialized and best licensed and require special compiler support.

NutsAboutAmiga [quote]
the 68,000 processor, is not price competitive at all,

68060 can max be clocked at 100Mhz (over clocked).
FPGA solutions retches max 500Mhz (thatís technologies limitation)
M1 / M2 @ 3.49Ghz can emulated PowerPC at least 1.8Ghz.
AMD Ryzen @ 5Ghz can emulate a PowerPC at around 1.5Ghz.

Only most powerful AmigaONEís the 2.2 Ghz version is only one that canít be emulated at the moment.


The 68k is using 30-40 year old silicon and PPC is using 10-20 year old silicon. Without using new silicon, this will only grow worse. If updating either to new silicon, the better question is how competitive were they when introduced. The 68060 had competitive performance to the Pentium and easily beat it in Power, Performance and Area (PPA) which is important for embedded use. There is not a significant difference in cost to produce a 68k or PPC CPU core in an ASIC but there is a significant cost for Amiga like hardware not being 68k Amiga compatible enough which AmigaNOne hardware has thoroughly explored. A 68060+AA+ Amiga SoC could likely be mass produced for $1 per chip considering that is what the very successful RP2040 SoC costs that uses more transistors.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RP2040

Is cost really a problem when a 68060+AA+ Amiga SoC could be produced for $1?

NutsAboutAmiga Quote:

Why get better speed on M1/M2 is because more a like to PowerPC, compared to x86 architecture.


AArch64 is like an improved PowerPC and the 68k is like an improved x86. Well, AArch64 borrowed more powerful CISC addressing modes to better compete with CISC but it abandoned the CISC competitive Thumb2 code density to do it and still lacks some performance benefits of CISC like larger more powerful instructions containing full immediates and displacements and more powerful memory operations. It was x86 that had the performance to knock PPC out of the desktop market but the PPA wasn't good enough to scale down to the high end embedded market. Was it the AArch64 PPC similarities or CISC similarities that allowed to scale up performance and finish off PPC considering x86 performance finished off PPC on the desktop?

NutsAboutAmiga Quote:

the problem you have emulation is that host system loses some where between 50% to 70% of single core performance, while other core stay unused. (at least thatís problem with QEMU), our OS does not support more then one core, so even if QEMU supported multi core, its wonít help.


Lack of SMP support is a non-starter for a desktop AmigaOS but not a major problem for a small footprint AmigaOS.

NutsAboutAmiga Quote:

you can't compete with one hand, tied behind your back.

You need to make new 680x0 CPUís an they need to be better then the M1/M2 chips, you need insane investment, to do that, no one will be interested in doing that.

You canít compete on price, or hardware features if your buying the same hardware as everyone else,
you canít make argument for why anyone should use a less secure OS, even if its a game console.


I'm not proposing battling for the high performance desktop market. Microsoft spent $4 billion on the original XBox to get their foot in the door of the console market and the desktop market would be harder to crack. Big desktop OoO CPUs cost tens of millions if not billions of dollars to develop but small in-order embedded CPUs only cost millions to develop and are more popular because they are lower cost. The cost to reintroduce the 68k would be lower because it already has compiler support and fans. It's good to be unique in the ARM crowd just like it was good that the Amiga was unique when the bottom fell out of the PC clone market for C=.

NutsAboutAmiga Quote:

We don't have any game construction kits that is modern, it's not easier or better to make games on amiga than on PC or on game consoles for other platforms.


Scorpion Engine, Red Pill, Backbone? Scorpion Engine seemed to have gained a lot of popularity lately.

https://itch.io/c/2436848/everybodys-scorpion-engine-projects
https://www.lemonamiga.com/games/list.php?list_code_language=Scorpion%20Engine

I think some games are missing from the listing too.

NutsAboutAmiga Quote:

there are no WOW features here.

In fact the only thing we have here is nostalgia, We are not going to take over the world we are not competitive on price product or tools nor support, there is no business model for amiga right now. As you put it the Raspberry Pi products are just toys for old boys. Kids of today are shamelessly spoiled with other products from other competitors,


The Raspberry Pi didn't have any wow features when it was first available. It was just a really cheap small footprint computer that could be used for embedded use, which is not a toy. It was viewed as a toy by many at first but so was the 68k Amiga. The 68k Amiga would still be useful if it was cheap enough for people to buy it. There is no shame to market it as a cheap toy though.

NutsAboutAmiga Quote:

680x0 is old, outdated technology, with only 32bit bus, PowerPC has 128bit instructions, and support 64bit integer and floats, this means better memory transferee rates. Its not just about MIPS, and single core performance. Large cache size is also major advantage on modern CPUís. when you emulate 680x0 CPU this thing helps. The real physical chips can perform badly unless you also increase the caches. This means it cost more, you say donít need it, because instructions are smaller, but they are also more complicated to decode. This why fixed length instructions is the standard, on ARM and PowerPC.


The A1222 uses a 32 bit PPC CPU with no standard FPU or SIMD unit. AmigaOS 4 doesn't support 64 bit or SMP either. I understand the advantage of caches for a high clocked CPU core but a 68k Amiga has such a small footprint that it could use fast on chip SRAM or eDRAM memory that acts like a cache. Cache hungry PPC has fewer options.

NutsAboutAmiga Quote:

16bit is always nice in emulation because it fits in lookup tables. But on physical hardware, its not how itís done.


Variable length 16 bit encodings are very popular like 68k, Thumb2 and RVC. The variable length encodings that aren't 16 bit based wish they were like x86(-64). The fixed length 32 bit encodings like AArch64 may wish they were as they may have to do like POWER after running out of encoding space and becoming an inefficient variable length 32 bit encoding. PPC with a fixed 32 bit encoding added a Variable Length Encoding (VLE) 16 bit encoding extension to try to improve code density for embedded use. The 68k variable length 16 bit encoding is superior to all of the encodings mentioned.

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matthey 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 25-Sep-2023 1:19:45
#113 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1878
From: Kansas

Rob Quote:

In '85 and 86' and Nintendo were doing the important legwork to make consoles acceptable to American retailers, and in '87 they really reaped the benefits with $750M in sales and a userbase of 4M. I think the market could safely be declared no longer dead in 1987.


I agree that 1987-1989 would have been the best time to launch a 68000 Amiga console that was ROM based. There was another window of opportunity to launch an AGA/AA+ CD-ROM based console from 1991-1994.

Let's not forget the C= console attempts.

1990 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_64_Games_System
1991 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_CDTV
1993 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiga_CD32

The C64GS is one of the worst failures in console history with only about 20,000 units sold. It was too little too late for a low end console that was a downgraded C64 computer costing as much as a full C64 and with more expensive cartridge games. The only thing goods about it was that the C64 already had a cartridge slot, it was now easier to insert the cartridges and it came with a joystick (instead of a keyboard though).

The CDTV was a cool console hybrid with identity issues and much too high of cost. The big problem was the CD-ROM drive cost too much. There was a cost reduced CDTV-II in the works but it was replaced by the more gaming focused Amiga CD32 instead.

The Amiga CD32 was clearly an Amiga and a gaming console. The 68EC020@14MHz, AGA and dual speed CD-ROM increased the value over the CDTV while the cost dropped to competitive levels. It probably would have done better if C= had brought it to market a little earlier, reduced the cost some, had more money to launch it and had provided a better controller like the Competition Pro joypad.

Rob Quote:

Is there a breakdown of the cost of all the parts somewhere?


There was a cost of parts breakdown for 1993 in the following but that would have been much different in 1987. The CD32 had a cost of $235 in 1993 according to the document.

https://archive.org/details/commodore-post-bankruptcy

I recall Jeff Porter said the Amiga 500 was cost reduced down to $200. The Amiga 600 was supposed to be an Amiga 300 which sold for $300 but this was later.

Rob Quote:

A lot of cost savings could be made for cartridge based system which requires less ROM and RAM has no need for a floppy drive, keyboard and a myriad of unecessary connectors and supporting circitry.

If Commodore provided the cartridge manufacturing they could have sold the console as loss leader. It would have still been more expensive than the competition but the more advanced technology should be enough to justify maybe $100-150 more.

The only fly in the ointment may have been the price of ROM chips for the cartridge games. Historical ROM prices don't seem to be as readily available as those for RAM,


The cartridge setup likely wouldn't have cost as much as the disk drive and cartridge prices wouldn't have added to the console cost. An Amiga console would have likely been the most expensive console in 1987. Maybe C= could have sold it near cost at $250-$300 and maybe $200-$250 by 1989. Most of the competition was $200 or under.

Rob Quote:

Memory prices came down over time which would have made such a console a more attractive proposition for consumers in the subsequent years and stealing a 2 year lead on Sega and NEC 's 16-bit offering could have put Commodore at huge advantage/

Of course this is Commodore we're walking and you could never underestimate their ability to screw things up.


Yea, the Amiga had a lot more ROM and RAM than any other console up until the Saturn and PS1 resulting in a higher cost, perhaps too high of cost, but it would have been impressive and may have ignited the console market earlier. If a keyboard and external floppy could be added like the CDTV, it may have provided a little cheaper entry for an Amiga computer which could be upgraded to full Amiga compatibility later. C= needed to get their feet in the door of the console market sooner with a professional and impressive product and the Amiga was designed to be an expandable console from the beginning. The Amiga started to have success with the cheaper Amiga 500 introduced in 1987 and C= was getting financially healthier because of it so maybe 1988 would be more ideal than 1987. Your suggestion makes infinitely more sense than what C= did by waiting until 1990 and releasing the C64GS.

Last edited by matthey on 25-Sep-2023 at 04:32 AM.
Last edited by matthey on 25-Sep-2023 at 04:28 AM.

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Turrican3 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 25-Sep-2023 8:00:43
#114 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 20-Jun-2003
Posts: 386
From: Italy

@matthey

Quote:
The majority of Amiga games are not AGA enhanced. Only a small minority of Amiga owners have ever owned an AGA Amiga. Many Amiga fans want(ed) to experience the best Amiga hardware so AGA and CD32 support became much more popular using emulation than the Amiga 1200 and CD32 units sold and the number of AGA and CD32 games from when C= was alive would indicate. I wouldn't be surprised if the number of AGA and CD32 games has doubled since C= died. That is what I find surprising.


I can totally understand that, but please remember I was just replying to your statement about the (very) different gaming developer support versus the AmigaONE, I'm not arguing about AGA software availability or things like that.

Quote:
My problem is not with AmigaNOne and AmigaOS 4 fanatics but with Ben subsidized by Trevor stealing and blocking the rightful owner, Michele, from assembling the Amiga IP under Amiga Corporation. Michele doesn't have any problem with PPC AmigaNOne failing forever either but they are challenging ownership of 68k Amiga IP using the 2009 contract that appears to be illegally signed due to coercion under financial duress. I do have a problem with criminals blocking better opportunities for the Amiga and wasting financial resources on lawsuits that could be used on those opportunities.


100% agree here, unfortunately.

Quote:
The Raspberry Pi and ARM would be a better fit for the AmigaOS than PPC AmigaNOne desktop hardware. The Raspberry Pi market is saturated with free OSs though.


My point is (and has always been) about significantly lowering the barrier of entry of a - somewhat - modern-ish AmigaOS.

A better management would have started RPi support (I understand Mr. Hermans is a very skilled lawyer, surely had he REALLY wanted to he might have succeeded in renegotiating the contract to allow the way more reasonable, long-needed ARM port so that much more people could afford OS4 without resorting to emulation?) at least five years ago if not earlier, but they chose to target a niche with expensive, underpowered and mostly outdated proprietary hardware instead. And they did this not only once but... how many times, I think I have lost count!

How the heck did they think this could turn out being a viable business strategy is beyond me...

Last edited by Turrican3 on 25-Sep-2023 at 08:27 AM.

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agami 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 25-Sep-2023 10:25:22
#115 ]
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Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 1519
From: Melbourne, Australia

@Kronos

Quote:
Kronos wrote:
@Rob

... But again we are back at speculating at what C= could have done if the were anyone else BUT C=.

Not exactly. The speculation is based on C= being an ever so slightly different version of itself. Whereas you make it sound as if they couldn't get anything right, ever.

They have channeled the right mix of personalities and skills to have mild success in other areas. And sure, it was Commodore Germany that showed them the way after the A1000, but they too are part of the global C=.
Just like Intel Israel showed Intel US a path to success from the Pentium NetBurst failure. Just like McDonald's Australia showed McDonald's US that the McCafť addition would increase patronage and overall franchise revenue.

You know how they say you should never see how the sausage is made? The same goes for peeking behind the curtain of most organisations. Here again your criticism of C= is such that you're implying that other organisations are some proverbial well-oiled machines. That couldn't be further from the truth.

I have worked with small, medium and large enterprises, across local and federal government, private and public national and multi-national organisations, across 10+ industries. The things I've seen: critical functions of multi-billion dollar organisations dependent on a "server" running under an employee's desk, critical market competitive reporting running from a rats nest of interconnected Excel workbooks, accuracy of sorting the last mile of logistics dependent on whether Bob shows up to work, the nation's social security customer portal display based on OCR interpretation of mainframe screen grabs and web clicks being converted to keyboard strokes on the way back.

And don't get me started on money. While in the mid-to-late '90s both SONY and MS spent large sums to accelerate their entry into the gaming console market, it doesn't mean that was the only way. MS was very inefficient at the time, a large lumbering behemoth. There are hundreds of smaller more agile organisations that could've pulled off the same with a 10th of the budget.

Did Valve spend $4B USD in 2021 money to enter the handheld gaming market dominated by Nintendo with its Switch hybrid console? No, because they leveraged an existing asset, and the opportunity of SONY leaving a hole in the market.

Despite what any CEO says when they try to paint themselves as a genius, every business success story has an element of luck. But no one likes admitting that.
So many things hinge on being in the right place and at the right time, but we don't like hearing that. We want to believe that all we need to do is just work hard and be professional and success will follow. Tell that to Samuel Pierpont Langley.

Rovio was on the verge of bankruptcy after 51 games yielded bupkis. They had money for one last shot. They made Angry Birds, and the rest is history.
Do you think they can package this success formula in a "For Dummies" book and everyone who buys it can have a similar success story?

C= was already in the gaming computer space. They had excellent mind-share within Europe, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. They had an excellent team of engineers. They actually made hardware and had some success in moving and supporting millions of A500 computers worldwide. They had a pretty good A1200 to butcher and save R&D costs. They also had an OS. In 1993 they had more pieces of the gaming console puzzle than SONY and later Microsoft.

A slight spec bump, coupled with a more aggressive console-like launch price, and they would've had their own version of SONY's $299 mic drop.
Commodore didn't need to be a completely different company. All they needed was to do one or two things slightly differently. Things they've done before, and which are well within their wheelhouse.





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Kronos 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 25-Sep-2023 13:26:38
#116 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 2403
From: Unknown

@agami

Nope nope and nope again.

If C= hadn't been the C= it was it would never gotten into the place of buying an obscure failing startup as a last minute hail mary.

Also C= Germany didn't show them the way after the A1000, they turned them into a completely wrong direction when the "A2000" C= needed would have been one with 68020, "Ranger" chips and Zorro slots in a sensible position.

Instead we got a broken A1000 with slots and the option to turn it into an underpowered PC which Dave then had to reengineer into an A500 with slots and the option to turn it into an underpowered PC.

Also didn't say that post Tramiel didn't have good products, just that it pretty clear that none of them were the result of proper planning and having a strategy.
Both would have been essential for a successful console launch, hence the did not have (and could not have) a successful console launch.

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kolla 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 25-Sep-2023 18:16:30
#117 ]
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Joined: 20-Aug-2003
Posts: 2692
From: Trondheim, Norway

Funny anecdote - back in 1997 or so, the univ computer club was donated some old CBM equipment from dept. math - a handful of PCs and two A2000s, the German variant. These two A2000s were set up with 8088 bridgeboards and on boot they opened a window with ancient DOS and some administrative software. We never managed to do anything usedul with these A2000s and they got lost over time, I just kept the keyboards. Now, a couple of years ago I ended up chatting with an old guy over a coffee and he asked about my professionÖ turned out he had been admin at dept. math all those years ago, so I told him about these A2000s. He remembered and could clarify - they had ordered just PCs, but CBM ran out of stock and so these bridgeboard equipped A2000s had been shipped as substitutes. They did the job, and none of the users, admin staff, had complained or even so much as raised an eyebrow.

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matthey 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 25-Sep-2023 21:51:27
#118 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1878
From: Kansas

Kronos Quote:

Nope nope and nope again.


Someone likes to play the devil's advocate.

Kronos Quote:

If C= hadn't been the C= it was it would never gotten into the place of buying an obscure failing startup as a last minute hail mary.


I disagree with this perspective. C= had PC clones and they were about to bring out the C= 900 Unix clone using a 16 bit Z8001 CPU but it was likely cancelled because the Amiga was acquired.

https://hackaday.com/2023/02/25/the-forgotten-commodore-900-a-look-at-a-rare-prototype/

The prototypes look complete and some of them work which can be seen in the video of the article above. Former C= employees Bil Herd and Malcolm North post in the comments. The C128 outsold the Amiga for awhile and something like the C65 probably could have been brought to market to compete with the Apple IIGS and SNES while maintaining backward compatibility with the C64. Amiga technology likely was borrowed for the C65 but C= was capable of developing similar tech on their own as the C= 900 has high resolution and a bit blitter. The 6502 family of CPUs were not as upgradeable as the 68000 and C= didn't have vision or focus past the C64. Posts on hackaday sum up C= after the C64 pretty well.

Scott Quote:

This machine is a primary example of Commodoreís failure. Trying to have a machine that suits everyone rather than staying focused on developing their own ecosystem. After the 64, they simply could not find a focus of their own. ďletís do another 8 bit with the 128Öletís do a 16 bit, not backwards compatible graphics machine.. Letís do some pc clonesÖletís do a Unix-like machineÖĒ. The only thing most of these machines had in common was the company logo/name.


Bil Herd Quote:

Too true, once Jack Tramiel left there wasnít any real direction.


Ostracus Quote:

His management style might have hindered things.


Bil Herd Quote:

That might be true enough but at least it was leadership. :)


Jack was a decisive leader with reasonable good vision considering he had a limited understanding of technology. His negative leadership traits sabotaged C= even after he left and then Atari too. At least some of the incentive for C= to buy the Amiga was to keep the technology out of Jack's hands. Jack created the ST with a 68000 because he knew it would be required to compete with the 68000 Amiga but if Atari had won the bidding war would he have stripped out the 68000 to create a cheaper 6502 family Atari computer/console with the chipset? Without the Amiga chipset, C= could have created a 68k based computer like the Atari ST as quickly as Atari to compete with the Mac. C= had advanced graphics technology in the C= 900 that could have resulted in a better chipset than the Atari ST or Mac.

Kronos Quote:

Also C= Germany didn't show them the way after the A1000, they turned them into a completely wrong direction when the "A2000" C= needed would have been one with 68020, "Ranger" chips and Zorro slots in a sensible position.

Instead we got a broken A1000 with slots and the option to turn it into an underpowered PC which Dave then had to reengineer into an A500 with slots and the option to turn it into an underpowered PC.


I mostly agree but it would have been best to pull ideas from both the Amiga Corporation team and the Amiga German team. The expansion card form factor and extra slots of the German Amiga 2000 were valuable while the 68020 and Ranger chipset would have made the high end Amiga more professional and competitive. I would have left out the ISA slots and not made a 808x bridgeboard. C= should have hired teams ASAP after acquiring Amiga Corporation to develop software 6502 family emulation to be used for C64 emulation and software 808x family emulation for PC emulation. C= did try to create software only PC emulation but it was poor and they wasted too much on hardware to make the Amiga something it was not. A 68020 with Ranger spec in the Amiga 2000 would have made it easier to emulate these simpler 8/16 bit systems while providing more impressive general purpose performance. The emulation would have eased migration to the Amiga where upgrading the C64 owners to the Amiga was as much of a problem as converting PC owners. A good C64 emulator would have allowed the C128 to be canceled where it was better to upgrade customers to the Amiga which could be cost reduced more (the Amiga 500 ended up costing less to produce than the C128).

Kronos Quote:

Also didn't say that post Tramiel didn't have good products, just that it pretty clear that none of them were the result of proper planning and having a strategy.
Both would have been essential for a successful console launch, hence the did not have (and could not have) a successful console launch.


In general I agree with you but C= may have started to develop a vision at the end with the CD32 judging by internal literature. I believe the CD32 had a successful launch even though sales were mediocre (C64GS was a major failure and the CDTV was a flop IMO). Due to C= financial problems and C= marketing of letting hardware sell itself, I suspect it had one of the cheapest marketing campaigns for a console ever, perhaps competing with Jack's 1986 Atari 7800 launch.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_7800#Launch Quote:

The console was released nationwide in May 1986 for $79.95. It launched with titles intended for the 7800's debut in 1984 and was aided by a marketing campaign with a budget in the "low millions" according to Atari Corporation officials. This was substantially less than the $9 million spent by Sega and the $16 million spent by Nintendo. The keyboard and high score cartridge planned by Warner were cancelled.

In February 1987, Computer Entertainer reported that 100,000 Atari 7800 consoles had been sold in the United States, including those which had been warehoused since 1984. This was less than the Master System's 125,000 and the NES's 1.1 million. A complaint from owners in 1986 was the slow release of games. Galaga in August was followed by Xevious in November. By the end of 1986, the 7800 had 10 games, compared to Sega's 20 and Nintendo's 36. Atari would sell over 1 million 7800 consoles by June 1988.


Neither the CD32 or Atari 7800 were great console successes but it is reasonable to believe they were profitable due to being low risk. They were both cheaply launched low cost older upgraded hardware leveraging compatibility from existing game libraries. Both consoles had a strange history and connection to Jack Tramiel and Jay Miner. Jack was more aggressive at leveraging the low cost hardware design to take market share while C= was overconfident of the Amiga superiority they were slow to upgrade, which is the sad story of the Amiga under C=.

Last edited by matthey on 26-Sep-2023 at 02:25 AM.
Last edited by matthey on 25-Sep-2023 at 09:59 PM.
Last edited by matthey on 25-Sep-2023 at 09:54 PM.

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agami 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 26-Sep-2023 2:59:33
#119 ]
Super Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 1519
From: Melbourne, Australia

@Kronos

Quote:
Kronos wrote:
@agami

If C= hadn't been the C= it was it would never gotten into the place of buying an obscure failing startup as a last minute hail mary.

In a completely different thread(s) the question of whether C= was the right new owner for Amiga in 1984 has been debated, and I am on the side of they were not a good match.
But that's not what we're talking about in this thread. We're talking about specifically 1993, knowing now a lot more about Commodore today than most of us knew then, what impeded a greater success for CD32, and could 1993 C= have made it better if one or two, of the items in this thread's poll were improved.

Quote:
Also C= Germany didn't show them the way after the A1000, they turned them into a completely wrong direction when the "A2000" C= needed would have been one with 68020, "Ranger" chips and Zorro slots in a sensible position.

While many were disappointed that the A2000 was just an A500 with slots and drive bays, it still was showing the home office the way forward through a bifurcation of the Amiga:
- an expandable desktop case for the semi-pro and pro market, and
- a home computer with limited expandability for younger market and also more gaming oriented uses.

Despite what we think the A2000 should or shouldn't have been, it was the vehicle for the original Video Toaster. A2000's outsold A1000s and A3000s, combined.
And while no single model of computer had beaten the C64, the A500 was a spiritual successor.

When a company is not sure what to do with a technology for which they've paid a princely sum, and its first outing did worse than than the lackluster Macintosh 128k the prior year, the above constitutes "showing the way".
You might not think it was the right way, but you can't criticize bad choices in one breath, and extol the virtues of Jack Tramiel's bad leadership over no leadership, in another.

Quote:
Also didn't say that post Tramiel didn't have good products, just that it pretty clear that none of them were the result of proper planning and having a strategy.
Both would have been essential for a successful console launch, hence the did not have (and could not have) a successful console launch.

Sounds like you'd be astonished of just how many ventures fail or fumble, despite good visions, strategies, and leadership. And just how many organisations "fall upstairs" with bad or no vision, strategy, or leadership. Almost as some twisted cruel joke.

Reasonable people can argue, and I thought that's what we're doing in this thread, that the CD32 launch as it was, is and was considered a mildly successful console launch.
What you have failed to do is define your version of "successful console launch" for 1993/94.

C= may have set the bar too low, but I get the feeling that you're setting the bar way too high.
While I have stated that a target of 1 million units in 12 months should have been the goal, it doesn't mean that I wouldn't consider 500k units in 12 months a successful console launch.
This is why I don't see C= needing to be a completely different company to achieve 5x what they already achieved. With all their C= directionless ineptitude.

Last edited by agami on 26-Sep-2023 at 03:02 AM.

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bhabbott 
Re: AmigaCD32 30 years on
Posted on 26-Sep-2023 16:41:08
#120 ]
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Joined: 6-Jun-2018
Posts: 310
From: Aotearoa

@Kronos

Quote:

Kronos wrote:

If C= hadn't been the C= it was it would never gotten into the place of buying an obscure failing startup as a last minute hail mary.

If Commodore hadn't been Commodore it might have been...

- Amstrad, who released the CPC Plus range in 1990 - including a console - that were very poor sellers and only lasted a year despite being a huge improvement over the original?

- Acorn, who didn't manage to sell enough of their Archimedes and RISC PC's to survive?

- Apple, who sensed the need for a better OS for the Mac but couldn't produce it in time - finally being trounced by Windows in 1995 and heading for the toilet after that?

- IBM, who eyed the home market and figured they could repeat their success with the PC by producing a cheaper model with better gaming features?

There are many more examples of famous computer manufacturers who struggled to survive.

As for purchasing the Amiga being a 'hail Mary' for Commodore, even before the split they realized the need to go 16 bit. Amiga corp were the ones looking for a 'hail Mary', and Commodore provided it - while getting the tech they needed to produce those 'next generation' machines they were going to make anyway, but with way less design effort.


Quote:
Also C= Germany didn't show them the way after the A1000, they turned them into a completely wrong direction when the "A2000" C= needed would have been one with 68020, "Ranger" chips and Zorro slots in a sensible position.

The 20/20 hindsight of Amiga fans is amazing, especially since no two are the same. Imagine if they all hopped into a time machine, went back to 1984 and replaced Commodore's board of directors with themselves. Would this committee of geniuses each primed with 'proper planning and having a strategy' have been able to agree on anything?

The A2000 (or something like it) was the obvious and necessary design to counter the PC. It didn't need 'Ranger' chipsets (which didn't do much more than OCS), it needed 100% Amiga compatibility in a nice big case with slots like the PC - and that's what it got. If by 'with 68020', you mean on the motherboard, that would have been an expensive mistake. Instead they did the sensible thing and put a CPU card slot in the A2000, then a year later released a 68020 card and then a 68030 card. They also put the video slot in it which allowed use of a flicker fixer to provide VGA output with 100% Amiga compatibility.

So you could buy an A2000 with single floppy drive for a 'low' price, then upgrade it as your budget permitted - and still be able to operate it like a stock A1000/A500 to play those games that wouldn't work on a 68020.

The A2000 was a great workhorse for use by hobbyists and professionals alike. That's why NASA chose it over the PC for their telemetry jobs, why Newtek chose it for the Video Toaster, and why so many 3rd party developers jumped at the chance to make cards for it. I made a card for my friend's A2000 so it could use a PC hard drive and controller in an AT slot (pity I didn't develop that idea further, could have been a big seller!).

Quote:
Instead we got a broken A1000 with slots and the option to turn it into an underpowered PC

Perhaps you are forgetting that Commodore had already produced the Sidecar? I had one on my A1000 - a very awkward design. Putting it on a card that hid inside the machine was a brilliant idea. Yes, the original Bridgeboard was 'under powered', but it did provide the IBM compatibility many users needed, without costing more than an actual PC.

Like it or not, the fact was that PC compatibility was essential to most businesses. One must also remember that in 1987 4.77MHz XTs were still very popular in the business world. In 1989 Commodore released the A2286AT bridgeboard with 8MHz 80286, 1MB RAM and 1.44MB floppy controller, which is similar to what most PCs had at the time. Pop an EGA or VGA card into a 16 bit slot and you had a pretty good PC hiding inside your Amiga!


Quote:
Also didn't say that post Tramiel didn't have good products, just that it pretty clear that none of them were the result of proper planning and having a strategy.
Both would have been essential for a successful console launch, hence the did not have (and could not have) a successful console launch.

The CD32 launch was relatively successful in the places where it was launched. In the UK it sold a lot more than its rival, the Sega Mega CD. Unfortunately it missed in North America due to the XOR troll. One might say that not buckling in to that extortion was a mistake, but I bet most of us would have resisted too.

As for 'proper planning and a strategy', the real world has a tendency to screw up even the best-laid plans. Sometimes it's better to just create something, put it out there and see what happens, a strategy that worked for Commodore in the past. Problem was their financial position was severely weakened when Jack left, and never really recovered. Then in 1992 the bottom dropped out of the 'alternative' home computer market as PC sales picked up, thus the urgent need to pivot.

An Amiga console in eg. 1987 would have been a huge mistake. But in 1993 it was overdue. Commodore actually started designing the CD32 before the ink was dry on the A1200, but it was also too late. Why? Because Commodore had a plan and a strategy. The plan was to make the Amiga way more powerful to compete against PCs, while milking the A500 and C64 for all they were worth in the mean time. This strategy worked, but not for as long as expected. So you can ding Commodore for misreading the market, but so did many others. Commodore even hired an expert who specialized in forecasting trends in the PC market, and he failed to see what was coming.

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