#1 Posted by bronsthermonster (5 posts) -

I was just thinking about how console naming has remained consistent between the Japanese and US version of a console for quite some time. I was trying to pinpoint the time when this transition took place and think a bit about why this happened. As best I can recall it was the Saturn/Playstation era where Sega/Sony picked just one name to represent their consoles world wide (internal code names notwithstanding).

Explaining "why" this transition took place is a little more difficult for me. I suppose there were efficiencies in marketing and packaging to be realized by using one name for a console, but that doesn't quite feel like enough. After all, ad campaigns between Japan and US would still be very different even if a console had one international name. But I wonder if there was some macro trend in gaming habits or the market that also contributed to this change. Perhaps you could drum up North American interest in a console by launching the same-named Japanese version - it would be much easier for a consumer to understand "the Playstation is arriving this fall" vs. "the mega drive has launched in Japan and will become the Genesis when it arrives in the US"


#2 Posted by jjnen (661 posts) -

I've always thought that the names were different in the olden days because focus testing. That's why we still have sometimes different covers for US/EU/Jap releases. Reason why consoles are now named the same across all regions is because of internet.

#3 Posted by Guided_By_Tigers (8061 posts) -

Well the Genesis wasn't called the Megadrive in the US because of legal reasons.....if legal barriers didn't exist it would have been called the Megadrive in the US as well.

#4 Posted by jjnen (661 posts) -

@Unknown_Pleasures: Really? Was it because someone else owned the name or why?

#5 Posted by bronsthermonster (5 posts) -

I suppose I was thinking more along a business reason or perhaps changes in the way gamers learned about products. Both focus testing and legal reasons are certainly plausible, but it feels like there would be a beefier answer.

#6 Posted by Commisar123 (1792 posts) -

I think you can blame/credit the internet for that one

#7 Posted by Guided_By_Tigers (8061 posts) -

@Rappelsiini: I don't think the details are widely known, only the fact that they weren't able to secure legal rights for the name Megadrive in North America.

#8 Posted by fuzzybunny566 (451 posts) -

this doesn't add anything to the conversation, but whenever i read "Mega Drive" it looks odd but whenever i say "Mega Driiiiiive" it sound so damn awesome

back on topic, i was thinking a lot about Fam(ily)Com(puter)/NES and PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 and thought maybe those were changed b/c they didn't want us Americans to believe these new consoles were some sort of personal computer. i then saw this quote on http://www.retrogamingconsoles.com/consoles/pc-engine-turbografx-16/

"When NEC were doing market research in America they discovered that the PC Engine name caused a lot of confusion amongst customers as they assumed it was a computer and not a games console. Therefore the console was re-branded in North America as the TurboGrafx-16 Entertainment SuperSystem."

of course, the Nintendo Entertainment System was supposed to keep retailers from thinking it was a video game system, "Using another approach to market the system to North American retailers as an "entertainment system", as opposed to a video game console, Nintendo positioned the NES more squarely as a toy, emphasizing accessories such as the Zapper light gun, and more significantly, R.O.B...." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Nintendo_Entertainment_System

so yeah, i figure in the 80s and early 90s companies just wanted to market the systems differently for each region based upon each culture, whereas in the mid 90s to today, it doesn't really matter. plus, the 90s were when the internet took off and foreign information like that became so damn easy to obtain and research, that it just made things easier to keep them similar.

#9 Posted by Jeff (3577 posts) -

The Internet. Access to information got wider and the world got smaller. There's no such thing as a regional product announcement anymore, so you'd better get your name right the first time.

#10 Posted by lockwoodx (2479 posts) -

@Jeff said:

The Internet. Access to information got wider and the world got smaller. There's no such thing as a regional product announcement anymore, so you'd better get your name right the first time.

More like it was all about the SKUs and how they could bolster their shareholders by unifying their brands.

#11 Posted by iam3green (14390 posts) -

it would be pretty weird to have different names for the same consoles now. 
for legal reason is why they had to change the names for the consoles.