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The Top 7... Consoles that never were

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Created by: 3DO (later sold to Panasonic/ Matsushita)

Intended for release: 1995

The hope: The successor to the awful 3DO Multiplayer, the M2 was - like so many other consoles on this list - an impressive piece of hardware for its time. Originally conceived as an add-on for existing 3DOs, it would turn the consoles into 64-bit powerhouses with 10 times the power of the PlayStation. Sporting 10 custom processors under its lid, the M2 would be capable of pumping out visuals then seen only in arcades, and would also feature high-quality full-screen video.

The reality: After months of touting the stupid thing as a juggernaut of home entertainment, 3DO lost interest in the M2 and sold the technology to Panasonic's parent company, Matsushita, for a whopping $100 million. Eventually revealed to be a little less impressive than 3DO had led the world to believe - about two to three times more powerful than the Nintendo 64, by some estimates - the M2 was slated for release in 1997. By then, however, the console market was already a three-way dogfight between Sega, Sony and Nintendo, and Matsushita decided it didn't want to get involved. The M2 was killed close to its intended release in '97, only to be repackaged and resurface the following year as an industrial multimedia tool.

 
Above: Yeah, the M2 was never quite powerful enough to pull off games that looked like this - they just wanted you to think it was

Why it never saw life: By the time Matsushita finally got around to prepping the M2 for launch, the machine ran a high risk of being irrelevant right out the gate - and after the slow failure of Panasonic's 3DO Multiplayer, Matsushita had no desire to get burned again. Rather than risk millions on a failed gamble to take the console market from three industry stalwarts, it decided to can its entire console division and pull out of the games market entirely.

But while the M2's long gone, it wasn't a complete loss; here, check out this clip of what D2 might have looked like running on it:

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15 comments

  • Predreus - December 29, 2012 5:31 p.m.

    Oh man, I was at E3 in 2004 and walked into the Phantom booth just in time to see one blue screen while someone was playing Madden. It was just a modified Windows box is all.
  • Zetabyte - April 6, 2011 5:32 a.m.

    Wha!?? No Bandai/Apple Pippin? Amiga CD32!? NO NINTEDO DD64!?!?!? No Worries, i'll just assume those would have been 8,9, and 10.
  • thefreakysurgeon - March 7, 2011 12:54 a.m.

    i always find the whole deal with Nintendo and Sony and the SNES CD to be very interesting and i always love reading about it.
  • talkraider - December 29, 2010 4:17 a.m.

    Sorry phantom, onlive beat you to the punch
  • fartinapot - July 23, 2010 5:48 p.m.

    that sucks. it looks like the phantom could have been a big hit. I wonder how popular the phantom would've been if it was released?
  • Strangleme - May 11, 2010 9:04 p.m.

    Amazing article!! I never knew the whole story behind the Nintendo/Playstation drama.
  • AFilthyIbis - October 24, 2008 8:44 a.m.

    Nope. We shant be having thatbehaviour here. Away with you hail56790 and your "first". "reported"
  • wiigamer024 - June 23, 2009 1:39 p.m.

    Nintendo, and Sony worked TOGETHER?!? Holy shiz! were was I, under a rock? I'm glad THAT was never relesed.
  • Hypershadic - May 17, 2009 1:16 a.m.

    You know a few of these could possibly have made it but you know what I don't really know that much so hell thats it....
  • AA95mp - January 3, 2009 8:10 p.m.

    it's a pity about a lot of these consoles they might of actually done well (but probaly not.)
  • d3athcr4ft - September 6, 2009 2:18 a.m.

    The Phantom sounds pretty much like the new OnLive system that is scheduled for release later this year. It remains to be seen if OnLive will actually hit the market, although it does seem to be much further along than the Phantom ever was.
  • scatterlaser - June 26, 2009 10:26 p.m.

    The phantom had potential but if it was released eventually or a consel based on the same idea it would have serious competition with xbox live and the more established download services e.g. steam,wii shopping channel,psn.
  • kurkosdr - January 7, 2009 8:56 p.m.

    @AA95mp EXCUSE ME?? Specifically WHAT on these list could have done well?? -->All of the systems on this list were a prime example of 1)Overpricing 2)Incompetence 3)Useless features 4)Shitty games 5)Inability to understand the market and what customers want. -The Gizmondo2 would never stand a chance next to the PSP, even with it's (lets call it a) camera. - The ProjectX... not a console, a useless feature tucked in overpriced DVD players. Answer to your self: Can the dedicated hardware of a standaalone DVD player run proper games? -The Indrema L600. An attempt to make a product (and games), out of the work that hobbist no-pay programmers did during their free time. Which, by the way, should have to compete with consoles designed by a thousand of paid engineeres. And games made by big-ass companies, which can afford to pay an army of programmers, artists and graphics designers. Does tux racer count as a game? Probably. As a competent racing game? No effing way! Sorry open source fans, this works only on OSes, browsers and media players -Neptune: Another effort from SEGA to tranform their 16-bit fossil into a modern console. Or in other words "our accounting department said that making a new console would be too expensive, so lets try to upgrade the stuff we already have". Losers! Answer to your self: Can you turn a 16bit system into a modern powerhouse, without making the programming process for it a pain in the ass? Impossible. Good for SEGA to aknowlegde their mistake. It saved them years of life. -M2: When you have made a console that will cost as much as a professional multimedia platform, you know you 've gone the wrong way. Look what happened to Sony and their PS3 powerhouse. Look how successfull the underpowered (but cheap and full of games), the SNES and PSOne were. Period. -Super Nintendo CD: For those who didn't get it the first time... you can't upgrade a fossil. -Phantom: Eh... Hem... can't an average user do the exactly same by assembling a media center PC??? In case you didn't noticed, this was exactly what the phantom would have been. A media center PC with a fancy video card. The idea of downloadable games (the ancestor of Steam) was a good idea, but I doubt if infinium could have pulled this out. Too much aggreements with too much game companies, by a small company. Impossible
  • kurkosdr - January 1, 2009 1:27 p.m.

    Altough it's not exactly a console... Any post-G350 video card from Matrox capable of running games even from it's era fast.

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