Top 5 failed gaming consoles of all time

Nintendo Wii U and Sega Dreamcast (Image by Nintendo and Sega)
Nintendo Wii U and Sega Dreamcast (Image by Nintendo and Sega)

Ever since the dot and lines created pong, console gaming has been creating magical experiences for players across the world. From the early days of NES and SNES to the modern generation of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, console gaming has gone through multiple generational leaps.

While most consoles have become fan-favorite over the years, some did not enjoy the same level of success. From developer reluctance to support the device to better competition to lackluster hardware, let’s take a look at the top failed gaming consoles of all time.

Biggest fails in console gaming of all time

Now in its ninth generation, console gaming has evolved a lot over the years. There have been some notable failures amongst the console space. such as,

  • Will U (Nintendo)
  • PlayStation Vita (Sony)
  • Dreamcast (Sega)
  • Lynx (Atari)
  • OUYA (Ouya)

With that being said, let's take a deeper look at each console and the reason behind their failure.

1) Nintendo Wii U

Nintendo Wii U (Image by Nintendo)
Nintendo Wii U (Image by Nintendo)

Launch Date: November 2012

Developer: Nintendo

After the success of the Wii that made motion-based gaming a household, Nintendo followed it up with the Wii U. Immediately after launch; the console caused a lot of confusion where people weren’t sure if it was a new generation or a tablet add-on for their existing Wii. Also, the unapproachable massive size and look of the tablet, especially in comparison to Wii’s Nunchucks, didn’t help the case.

2) PlayStation Vita

PlayStation Vita (Image by Sony)
PlayStation Vita (Image by Sony)

Launch Date: December 2011

Developer: Sony

After the success of the PlayStation Portable, Sony followed up their handheld console with the PlayStation Vita. The console did have some amazing titles, both first-party and third-party, like Uncharted Golden Abyss and Assassin’s Creed Liberation. However, the rise of the smartphone and mobile gaming, along with the powerful console generation of PlayStation 4 and the strong competition from Nintendo’s 3DS, caused PS Vita to lose its initial momentum. Sony hasn’t developed or shown interest in handheld ever since.

3) Sega Dreamcast

Sega Dreamcast (Image by Sega)
Sega Dreamcast (Image by Sega)

Launch Date: November 1998

Developer: Sega

The sixth generation of consoles was certainly an interesting one. The four-way war between industry veteran Nintendo’s GameCube and Sega’s Dreamcast against newcomer Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s 2nd generation console PlayStation 2 rallied fans across the world. While PlayStation 2 became the most selling console of all time and Xbox was able to establish itself with innovations, Nintendo GameCube and Sega Dreamcast were left in the dust. While Nintendo pivoted and made a comeback in the casual player base with the Wii, Sega left the console market after Dreamcast.

4) Atari Lynx

Atari Lynx (Atari)
Atari Lynx (Atari)

Launch Date: September 1989

Developer: Atari

Atari Lynx was developed as a direct competitor to Nintendo’s GameBoy and GameBoy Colour, but it lacked in several aspects. While the LCD screen and the wider design was a step in the right direction, it lacked in the game library. After the second revision of Lynx II, Atari totally shifted focus towards the upcoming Jaguar, essentially abandoning the Lynx.


OUYA (Ouya)
OUYA (Ouya)

Launch Date: June 2013

Developer: Ouya

With the rise of smartphones, OUYA attempted to bridge the gap between mobile gaming and console gaming. However, the design and most of the things about the console were extremely lackluster, which resulted in a failure.

Edited by Yasho Amonkar
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