Who or what 'killed' the MSX?

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By Ivan

Ascended (9115)

Ivan's picture

12-09-2003, 10:33

In my opinion this is what killed MSX in Spain/Europe:

1) There wasn't an unified effort of all the companies that sold MSX to promote together the system.

2) Almost null (and bad/not agressive) advertising campaigns. Big companies only include MSX computers in their general electronics catalogues as if they were like a TV, VCR, ...

3) The UK market. MSX never penetrate into that market where there were the most important european SW companies.

4) Due to 3) the Spectrum conversions. It is said that the Spanish market was the second most important SW market in Europe (after the UK). A lot of MSX games that UK companies never released at a fisrt time for MSX were then converted to MSX to be sold in Spain. Those conversions were made in the UK and Spain. Also almost all MSX games produced in Spain (by Spanish companies) were direct Spectrum conversions.

Companies dropped the system in Europe in 1988 but even given this fact the MSX system in Spain was live till December 1991 and it disappeared almost at the same time as the other 8bit systems (1992).

I've seen that you've talked about NES and priracy. Here these were ABSOLUTELY NOT the direct causes of the commercial MSX death. Did Spectrum, Amstrad, C64, Atari ST, Amiga and PC have less piracy than MSX? No, the same or more.

PCs and consoles killed all the 8/16 bit computers in 1992 in Spain.

By Niles

Hero (545)

Niles's picture

12-09-2003, 11:20

In my opinion this is what killed MSX in Spain/Europe:

1) ...

2) ...

3) ...

4) ...

...

PCs and consoles killed all the 8/16 bit computers in 1992 in Spain.

I'm still thinking all of you are complicating so much the question... MSX, as many other "old" systems based on Z80 and M68000 processors, and consoles too, simply left obsolete. They weren't able to maintain improvements and hardware that was appearing for "new" machines. Microsoft/IBM and the giants spend millions and millions on development/market campaigns and people, as always, tent to the new technologies forgetting their old and obsolete (but lovely Wink) old machines...

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5512)

mars2000you's picture

12-09-2003, 14:26

You forget two very important things :
- Microsoft, that was co-partner with Ascii in the MSX 1 adventure, has made nothing to promote the MSX standard in the U.S.A, what is the most great commercial part of the planet . Only Yamaha computers were released as music computers in this country, without making too clear the great advantages of a MSX computer

- The MSX standard was very interesting before the coming of the Pentium, because it had more music and graphic possibilities than the first generations of PC. Besides, its extended BASIC was (and is always) source of education, entertainment and creativity. We can also regret that the Turbo-R came too late and was only released in Japan.

By Niles

Hero (545)

Niles's picture

12-09-2003, 14:44

Well, I don't forget that things...

Microsoft, as always, wants to get into the European Market, and thought that japanese MSX idea was perfect to compete against 8-bit machines that fills this market. But in USA there's other market completely different. There are Apple and IBM mainly and Microsoft choose the second one, if they were try to introduce MSX in the states, they're doing competence himself!

The other issue... MSX(1) was the best 8-bit computer in sound, a few years, but when the machine was known by majority of people and MSX came into MSX2, there we have Amiga 500, Atari ST, the first IBM PC with "decent" soundcards....

MSX could be a nice standard and maybe could win to IBM/Microsoft, but his improvement was too late, PC rules.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

12-09-2003, 15:33

What's all this about MSX not being technically good enough?!
MSX was far ahead of its time! The graphic and video qualities of a 1985 MSX2 have only been surpassed by PC in the early 90's.
A MSX turboR to me seemed just as fast as a 486SX25 which was available at the same time, but then a turboR was capable of much better graphics then the average 1MB VGA card.

And really, what did a PC kost? An IBM 8088 PC was $15000 (including printer, yay!)...

It seems a lot of you have bad memory.

And about piracy... Sure, it's still here today.. Percentage-wise piracy probably remained stable (although in recent years it's gotten worse, because of the internet). But you are forgetting ABSOLUTE NUMBERS are more important!!
Let's make a comparison of then and now with some rough numbers.
Playstation has a market of 60 million. If piracy is 50%, there's still a market for 30 million.
MSX was sold 5 million. If piracy is 50%, there's only a market of 2.5 million.

If you sell your game to 2% of the market, that's 50.000 people for MSX, versus 600.000 people on Playstation.

So even if the total market for Playstation is 6 times bigger than for MSX2, it sells 12 times more than MSX.

If you make 1 euro/dollar/whatever profit on the selling of a game, and the costs of developing are 100.000, then on MSX you're making big loss, while on playstation you make big profit.

And that's with the SAME piracy figures! So back in the late 80's piracy DID kill MSX. (although ofcourse it wasn't the ONLY reason)

By Ivan

Ascended (9115)

Ivan's picture

12-09-2003, 16:06

There are Apple and IBM mainly and Microsoft choose the second one, if they were try to introduce MSX in the states, they're doing competence himself!

Yes, that's obvious. And I would like to know what kind of contract did ASCII with Microsoft. Maybe it was stated clearly that MSX couldn't be sold in the US...

By Sander

Ambassador (1845)

Sander's picture

12-09-2003, 16:11

The market in the US was already dominated by Commodore. There where just no business partners willing to put money in the MSX system, to promote it there. Except for Yamaha, but those computers where sold as musical instruments (CXM).

By Ivan

Ascended (9115)

Ivan's picture

12-09-2003, 16:25

What's all this about MSX not being technically good enough?!
MSX was far ahead of its time! The graphic and video qualities of a 1985 MSX2 have only been surpassed by PC in the early 90's.

I totally agree with you.

Why MSX2+ was not good enough??? How many computers in 1988 were capable of displaying 19268 colors at once? What was the price of a PC with such graphical capability in that time? (remember to include the color monitor because a PC cannot be connected to a TV...)

By MrRudi

Hero (515)

MrRudi's picture

12-09-2003, 16:36

What's all this about MSX not being technically good enough?!
MSX was far ahead of its time! The graphic and video qualities of a 1985 MSX2 have only been surpassed by PC in the early 90's.

Ermm the Atari ST (1985), the Amiga500 (1987) and the Sega Megadrive (1988) all surpassed the '85 MSX2 in terms of graphic capabilities. If you meant that it wasn't before the early 90s before the IBM PC surpassed the MSX2 you are right...but MSX2 wasn't technically superior in its own time. If any of the other systems I mentioned had the same ease of use, and would have invited self-development as well as MSX did I would have switched.

By jalu

Master (156)

jalu's picture

12-09-2003, 16:48

What's all this about MSX not being technically good enough?!
MSX was far ahead of its time! The graphic and video qualities of a 1985 MSX2 have only been surpassed by PC in the early 90's.
A MSX turboR to me seemed just as fast as a 486SX25 which was available at the same time, but then a turboR was capable of much better graphics then the average 1MB VGA card.

A turbo R was and is slower then a 286 at 12 MHz, really... It's a fast MSX but it was just not up to the competition in 1992 anymore, even though the graphics quality was indeed (lots) better then the VGA cards of the time.


And really, what did a PC kost? An IBM 8088 PC was $15000 (including printer, yay!)...

It seems a lot of you have bad memory.

And about piracy... Sure, it's still here today.. Percentage-wise piracy probably remained stable (although in recent years it's gotten worse, because of the internet). But you are forgetting ABSOLUTE NUMBERS are more important!!
Let's make a comparison of then and now with some rough numbers.
Playstation has a market of 60 million. If piracy is 50%, there's still a market for 30 million.
MSX was sold 5 million. If piracy is 50%, there's only a market of 2.5 million.

If you sell your game to 2% of the market, that's 50.000 people for MSX, versus 600.000 people on Playstation.

So even if the total market for Playstation is 6 times bigger than for MSX2, it sells 12 times more than MSX.

If you make 1 euro/dollar/whatever profit on the selling of a game, and the costs of developing are 100.000, then on MSX you're making big loss, while on playstation you make big profit.

And that's with the SAME piracy figures! So back in the late 80's piracy DID kill MSX. (although ofcourse it wasn't the ONLY reason)

That's the point here, I think. There were some large mistakes made by the MSX consortium in the early 90's. I think the usage of an 8-bit processor, albeit a fast one, in the turbo R was the biggest one. An ideal MSX3 would have had a new 16 bit CPU and a V9990. But it seems that there was just not enough budget for R&D in those days anymore in the MSX consortium.

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