From the Atari 2600 to the PlayStation, there are icons that every generation of gamer knows, which also became part of popular culture. But what about the ones that never came to be? Here are five consoles that could have been the next big thing in gaming.
1. Sega Neptune
In the early Nineties, Sega was a powerhouse of console gaming, which came from its consoles – be it, the Master System all the way through to the Mega Drive and its hand-held Game Gear – and iconic games for each platform.
During the middle of that decade, the company still offered eight different consoles, each available in different markets. In an effort to streamline the lineup, Sega planned to release the Neptune, to combine the Genesis and 32X into one handy console.
But it never came to be, with Sega stopping development on the Neptune, mostly to concentrate on what would eventually be the Saturn.
2. Super NES CD-ROM
To some, it was a myth. But, to others, the Nintendo Playstation was anything but. While it went by the aforementioned misnomer, it was officially known as the Nintendo Super NES CD-ROM (but also SNES or Super Disc).
The Super NES CD-ROM was a platform that was developed from a partnership between Nintendo and Sony, which would never come to fruition in this form, but would eventually lead to Sony releasing its original PlayStation. However, Nintendo would stick to the cartridge system, which resulted in the Nintendo 64.
3. Atari Cosmos
It wasn’t Sega that was first to go with celestial-inspired names for its consoles, as Atari was set to release the Cosmos, which was to be set to be released in 1981.
As a pioneer of console gaming, Atari was at the forefront of gaming, before a few missteps saw it losing that spot to others, but not before it started developing what was to be its first tabletop game system.
It was also Atari’s first experiment in holographic gaming technology, which resulted in the company purchasing all the rights possible for anything to do with holography, which is not true three-dimensional holograms but moving LEDs behind transparent holographic images to add more depth to the traditional tabletop systems of the era.
4. Sega VR
Due to the popularity of the Nintendo Power Glove, Sega wanted to take it one step further, taking a cue from The Lawnmower Man and the burgeoning virtual reality technology.
Known as Sega VR, the headset would have allowed the player to be totally immersed in what game they were playing, thanks to the dual LCD screens and built-in stereo headphones.
Given how underwhelmed audiences were at its initial public appearance, it’s safe to say that it was far from the VR that is available to anyone with a current generation smartphone, which is just one of the reasons it was never released.
5. Infinium Labs Phantom
In gaming, there will always be the argument about what is the better experience: PC-based or on a console – and that’s why Infinium Labs set out to bridge the two.
The Phantom, which was announced in 2004, was to be a console that would allow gamers to play PC games that would be downloaded from the ‘Net, meaning there would be no discs or cartridges.
While such a feature is a given on most modern day hardware, the feature wasn’t as accessible in 2004. Available for purchase online in August 2003, it was never shipped and the company’s founder soon found himself in trouble with Securities and Exchange Commission.