Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 2nd Jun 2012 02:21 UTC, submitted by rohan_p
Amiga & AROS Good interview with Steven Solie - this bit stood out to me: "Although Hyperion has been using serial numbers for copies of AmigaOS since 4.0, it won't reveal sales numbers. Solie's 'personal guess' is that the system has 2000-5000 users. 'If you include all the various Amiga clones and emulators we would probably be talking about around 10000 users [in] total,' he adds, 'it is really difficult to judge because a majority of the users are rather quiet.'" Fascinating number - lower than I anticipated.
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RE[7]: LOWER than you expected?
by zima on Sat 2nd Jun 2012 19:59 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: LOWER than you expected?"
zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

I think the problem was that the Amiga was far ahead of its time. This caused Commodore to sit back and relax. When the Attack of the PC Clones came it was too late. New Amiga's didn't improve too much over the older models and were still lagging behind PCs specs wise.

I don't think that's a full description of what happened.

Yes, Amiga was seemingly "ahead" (particularly in so called multimedia ...hell, it essentially brought it to the masses) - but it achieved it, yes, by the means of very tight hardware integration from its console heritage - hence at the cost of much harder, and more financially costly, route of improvement.

At the same time this "locked" its developers and users into that baseline (A500, 600) configuration - there were few software titles really using, requiring higher Amigas, pushing people (and hence overall Amiga market, manufacturing lines) into them.

Worse: while its whole landscape had console-like dynamics, it was without matching business model - like it was still stuck in pre-1983, pre video game crash landscape (when, ironically, Commodore was the main "aggressor" and who came out mostly on top; seems they didn't really realize what was happening). Made worse by very widespread copying of Amiga games.

Essentially, it was probably doomed from the start - its short term strengths were also its long term weaknesses.

OTOH, the basic concept and architecture behind the PC meant it could be much more readily improved.
And its scales, oh my... look at relative areas on that graph http://arstechnica.com/features/2005/12/total-share/5/ (also 6 and 10; and majority of those were undoubtedly "toy" Amigas) - there was not much Commodore could do against such onslaught, with already strong momentum even before A1000 showed up

I guess, at most, they could try to establish early on an Amiga-derived GFX & sound card as the standard for multimedia and gaming on the PC.
Maybe the main problem was how they were stuck in platform fragmentation mindset.

The first Babylon 5 season (and maybe 1 or 2 more) were done on Amiga's.

Yeah, and B5 had horrible CGI ;P

But BTW, seriously, Star Trek Voyager was also partly done on Amigas: ctrl+F "Amiga" in http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/database/cgi.htm
And funnily enough, it was a cause of CGI error in opening sequence, which stuck throughout whole series ;)
(still, that slight error was no big deal in comparison to the boneheaded sting-in-the-eyes "artistic" error in that shot - THERE ARE NO SUCH SHADOWS IN VACUUM, NO "LIGHT TRACES" LIKE IN GASSES OR COLLOIDS ...scary how nobody corrected it throughout whole series; but then, such scifi is "cargo cult"-like in nature).

Also in Sea Quest, IIRC (where at least the environment effectively hid hardware & software limitations - and it looked rather nice, even if SQ CGI was technically not better or even worse than B5)

Edited 2012-06-02 20:11 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

What I recall was the promise of Commodore that a new Amiga chip set was coming, but it came very late and when it did it wasn't actually that good.

PCs started out crap and very expensive, but their prices came down and hardware upgrades became cheaper and better. It was a change from a culture where companies made their own computer and OS. I agree it became to expensive to maintain that, but it did give a computer its own unique personality I believe. It's something PCs today lack, but they're alive and Commodore's dead.

Also people at work used PCs and then they wanted them at home. This too didn't help Commodore and the Amiga.

Copying games is a bad and good thing. Most people I knew chose the Commodore 64 and later the Amiga not for it's specs, but for the pirated games. So for Commodore it was a good thing I guess.

Most games I had were pirated, but I did buy a couple and they were the best games I had (like Ultima V).

Reply Parent Score: 2

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

What I recall was the promise of Commodore that a new Amiga chip set was coming, but it came very late and when it did it wasn't actually that good.

My point exactly - it was probably hard to notably improve speed & features while keeping it compatible with those tightly integrated original chipsets while keeping timeframes and costs (especially for one manufacturer) reasonable.

PCs started out crap and very expensive

...and quite open, accommodating to new developments (sure, it was a bit of an accident - IBM even wanted to regain control with PS/2 and OS/2 - but still)

a computer its own unique personality I believe. It's something PCs today lack

Well it is a matter of software - the soul can live on under Ami emu ;p

(yeah, some people shrug at emulation for some reason ...but, that is the way to go: it will be increasingly more accurate, and down the line - like, few hundred years down the line - it will be the way to experiences those, by then, old forms of art)

Anyway, really, isn't that unique personality we remember largely about stylistic choices (in games GFX and sound, most notably) stemming from specific characteristics of (limited!) hardware?
This can be largely recreated, if there's a will (like some modern pixelart games)

Most people I knew chose the Commodore 64 and later the Amiga not for it's specs, but for the pirated games. So for Commodore it was a good thing I guess.

Point is, apparently not very sustainable - so maybe not that good. You have this huge number of people "locked" (in the meaning like I described) into gradually more obsolete hardware (bringing less and less profits) and hardly willing to upgrade, and the games don't bring you profit.

While Commodore and Amiga locked themselves into that "worst of both worlds" spiral (really, reminiscent of 1983 US video game crash), somebody else (Nintendo) figured out how to ride on such style of hardware.

Most games I had were pirated, but I did buy a couple and they were the best games I had (like Ultima V).

At my place, I don't think it was even really possible to buy "really legal" games - except, the concept of copyright itself didn't even apply to software until 1994 or so (and for a few more years after that it was of course mostly symbolic), you were really able to buy (in shops) only "pirate" copies. I don't think I've ever even seen an original Amiga game...

Magazines had a peculiar role in all this: the "reviews" were partly composed of what you would find in manuals (controls, and so on). And large part of the rest was a walkthrough, at least for RPGs (I remember one striking example, a "review" of Ultima VIII which was basically nothing more than a walkthrough) or adventure games (especially with those, it shows IMHO how utterly flawed they usually really were - not so good as still many people remember them, rightfully cast aside)

Curiously, later on some mostly locally-made and 8bit original games did show up - for example, one of such C64 titles I have is about our national hero of sorts ;) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Kloss
Also fond memories, that one. Though, keep in mind that buying original game also positively affects our perceptions (I'm not saying that, say, Ultima V was bad, but...)

Reply Parent Score: 2