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The Amiga CD32 was a 32-bit CD-ROM console released by Commodore on September 17, 1993 and was discontinued on April 29, 1994 due to Commodore's bankruptcy.
Why It Flopped
- False advertising: The CD32 was billed as being "the world's first 32-bit console" upon release. Though that's true for Europe and Canada, it was beaten by the FM Towns Marty, a 32-bit Japanese console released 7 months prior. One thing about the FM: its Intel 386SX processor only had a 16-bit external data bus, while the CD32's Motorola 68EC020 processor had a 32-bit data bus both internally and externally.
- The system's controller was odd-looking and very flimsy.
- Many games also didn't bother to take advantage of it, with a lot of the straight A1200 ports still using pad-up to jump because they were programmed with the common single-fire-button Amiga joysticks in mind.
- Commodore's Bankruptcy: Commodore had full intentions of having a full release of the system in early 1994, but due to a patent issue (Commodore owed $10 million to Cad Tack for use of their patent) they were unable to do so and went bust shortly after the release of the console. The console was only on the market for a mere seven months. It was never released in the US, though the system could be obtained by mail order.
- Most of the console's games were ports from the Amiga 1200 computer which is not strange since the console is literally just an Amiga 1200 in a different box and with a weird controller. Many of them not even taking advantage of the CD player (i'e, not having a red book soundtrack)
- Pointless lockout. The only reason an Amiga A1200 with a CD drive could not play CD32 games was a single chip added to the CD32's motherboard for this specific purpose: Commodore had learned this "lesson" from their previous Amiga-in-a-box, the CDTV, which was electronically identical to the Amiga A570 (an A500 variant with a built-in CD drive). The lesson of not doing this had unfortunately eluded them.
- Speaking of which, the CD drive of the CD32 can sometimes fail to read discs when the disc hatch is closed, forcing the player to hold the disc hatch down or put something heavy on top of the CD32 to get the disc to spin.
- On that subject, this was the third time Commodore had attempted the trick of shoving an existing home computer in a box without a keyboard and pretending it was a console: the previous two were the fifth worst-selling console in history (the CDTV) and the worst-selling console in history (the Commodore 64 Games System).
- The console's death sentence was written before it ever released: at a meeting of games development representatives at Future Publishing in late 1993, only two companies said they intended to do more than 10% of their business on Commodore systems, and none saw the Amiga as a system lasting as far as 1995.
- The intro was very well done for the 90s.
- There were some decent exclusive games released for it.
- Amiga ports that did take advantage of the CD player are usually the definitive version of the game.
- The system is backwards compatible with all CDTV software, meaning that if you actually want to collect CDTV and CD32 titles, you only need to pick one of these up instead of the much rarer (and more expensive) CDTV.
- As the Amiga CD32 was essentially an A1200 computer with extra components, it's possible to play all of the regular Amiga games with the SX-1 expansion, which allows players to plug in a keyboard and a floppy disk drive.