It’s a lot of work launching a game console and it’s even more difficult to have worthwhile games available for the system’s launch. It’s obviously every company’s priority but getting it done is another task altogether.
That’s one reason it’s so easy to understand when things fall apart. It’s a miracle any game gets made at all, especially considering how many things can go wrong. Sometimes games fall apart or get delayed before a system’s launch.
We’ve seen it happen even as recently as Halo Infinite with Microsoft’s latest console. Sega didn’t have 200+ games in Game Pass ready to go when the Sega Saturn came out though. I wonder if that would have helped at all?
Here are some of the worst launch lineups in video game history!
Worst Launch Lineups in Video Game History
I have to start with the Wii U. I love so much about the system but the launch lineup was abysmal. Not even New Super Mario Bros. U could save the Wii U’s launch lineup. I picked one up on release day and only had Nintendo Land and Mario for a very long time.
Players were able to choose from the following games when the Wii U launched on November 18, 2012:
Assassin’s Creed III, Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Chasing Aurora, Darksiders II, Disney Epic Mickey: The Power of Two, EA Sports FIFA Soccer 13, ESPN Sports Connection, Game Party Champions, Just Dance 4, Little Inferno, Madden NFL 13, Mass Effect 3
Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition, Nano Assault Neo, NBA 2K13, New Super Mario Bros. U, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, Nintendo Land, Rabbids Land, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Sing Party, Skylanders Giants, Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed, Tank! Tank! Tank!
Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition, Transformers Prime, Trine 2: Director’s Cut, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013, Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper, Wipeout: The Game 3, and ZombiU.
Highlights: New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land, and ZombiU.
Nintendo went on to have one of the greatest handheld systems of all time, but things didn’t start out that way. The handheld launched with a $300 price tag and no standout games. Players were able to choose from the following games when the 3DS launched on March 27th, 2011:
Asphalt 3D, Bust-a-Move Universe, Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D, Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, Madden NFL Football, Nintendogs + Cats: French Bulldog & New Friends, Nintendogs + Cats: Golden Retriever & New Friends, Nintendogs + Cats: Toy Poodle & New Friends
Pilotwings Resort, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, Rayman 3D, Ridge Racer 3D, Samurai Warriors Chronicles, Steel Diver, Super Monkey Ball 3D, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, The Sims 3, and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars.
Highlights: Pilotwings Resort and Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition
The Sega Saturn is more responsible for Sega’s exit from the console market than anything the Sega Dreamcast did. The Sega Dreamcast didn’t do anything to anyone. All hail the Sega Dreamcast.
The Sega Saturn had some really good games but it’s also an example of Sega being out of touch with the market. This was during a time when Sega was moving too fast and often on its own, likely due to the company’s successful gains against Nintendo during the Genesis era.
The Saturn was Sega’s Wii U but in 1995. Sega launched the system without including many developers and chose a price point of $400. That might not sound very high but that’s over $700 when adjusted for inflation.
You might not remember Sega’s E3 conference from that year but you and everyone remember PlayStation’s famous “$299” mic drop moment. Players were able to choose from the following games when the Sega Saturn launched on May 11th, 1995:
Clockwork Knight, Daytona USA, Panzer Dragoon, Pebble Beach Golf Links, Virtua Fighter, and Worldwide Soccer.
Highlights: Clockwork Knight and Panzer Dragoon.