The 32X, by all accounts, was a massive failure. The reason? This second add-on to the Genesis/Mega Drive was a rushed attempt to extend the retail life of the Genesis and provide additional revenue in the face of the incoming 32-bit standalone consoles while the upcoming Saturn built it’s user base… Yes, logic didn’t exist back in Japan during 1994 and no one in those ancient times disrespected their boss by telling them they had a bad idea.
On January 9th, 1994, Hayao Nakayama (CEO of Sega at the time) ordered a new 32-bit catridge-based console to be ready for market by Christmas. The 32X launched here in North America in November, a mere 10 months later, with the $159.99 price tag you see in the above photo. $159.99 for a mushroom shaped tumor. It launched with Doom, Star Wars Arcade, After Burner II Complete, Super Motocross, Virtua Racing Deluxe, and Fahrenheit (a 32X/CD game that required both add-ons to be attatched). While Star Wars Arcade and some of the others are talked about fondly, none of these games proved to be worth the admission price. Hell, Doom is missing seven levels from the PC and SNES versions of the game because it was rushed out the door so quickly.
Suprisingly, there was a supply shortage of the 32X during it’s target release window of the 1994 holiday season. This was an amazing feat! Sega had such a dedicated and faithful following with the Genesis that people wanted this device so badly (even I did). Over a million units were ordered for retail stores. Just like everything else about the system, though, Sega fell short with meeting consumer and retail demand for these (AT $159.99 FOR A MUSHROOM SHAPED TUMOR!).
However, once the dust settled from the holiday season and people found the small game library to be extremely lacking, no one cared anymore. New games became few and far between, the Saturn had a surprise launch the following May. People were pissed. Sega had just sold them (or tried to sell them) this useless piece of crap with a handful of “okay” games. This is the point where a good number of Sega die hards lost their faith and felt betrayed.
Sega started discounting the 32x to try to move units shipped after the holiday season. First to $99.99 shortly after the holidays, then ultimately to $19.99 to clear out the rest. Despite all of this, all estimates on total hardware sales are around 200,000 units. In all regions.
In October 1995, Hayao Nakayama made the wise decision for Sega to focus all of it’s efforts on the Sega Saturn. At the time, Sega had the Genesis, Sega CD, 32X, Game Gear, a proposed Neptune unit (combined Genesis and 32X into one unit), and the new Saturn to support. The 32X finished it’s short career with 34 cartridge games and 5 Sega CD32X games released in all regions.
Here we will have our collection of Sega 32X hardware from around the world. Give us some time to prepare it.
Here we will have information on 32X modifications in the near future.
Sega 32X emulation has been around since the very late 90s.
Kega Fusion – Steve Snake’s wonderful Kega emulates the 32X just fine on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux. It runs so well I’d be pressed to identify an alternative for those platforms. It also emulates the Sega SG1000, SC3000, SF7000, Master System, Game Gear, Genesis / Megadrive, SVP, Pico, and SegaCD / MegaCD.
Gens – If you need a DOS emulator, Gens supports 32X games to some degree.
Related SegaFans Pages
Sega 32X Games – Our index of Sega 32X games, with information and media.
The Best Sega 32X Games – Our list of our favorite 32X games.
Sega 32X Manuals – Our collection of Sega 32X manuals.
SegaFans Sega 32X Forum – Discuss the 32X on our forums!