Winter CES Observations (Jan.14,1994)

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 02/20/94-12:35:29 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Winter CES Observations (Jan.14,1994)
Date: Sun Feb 20 12:35:29 1994

                            SILICON TIMES REPORT
   January 14, 1994                                             No. 1003

 Winter CES Observations

 by Ron Luks,

 Okay folks....  Here's a brief summary of my WCES94 show experiences (as
 they relate to the Jaguar/Video Gaming)....

 Everyone in this forum has seen gaming fans and Atari employees touting
 the new Jaguar Gaming System extensively.  Because it has shipped to
 very limited markets, most folks have not yet had their hands-on
 experience. I didn't until I got to the CES booth.


 ANSWER-- NO.  Definitely No.  The Jaguar is NOT as good as people have
 been saying.

 Clarification -- The JAGUAR is *MUCH*, *MUCH* BETTER than everyone has
 been saying.  Yes, in spite of what you previously thought was
 over-enthusiastic hype for the new Jaguar, the machine not only delivers
 everything you've heard, it's far, far better than I ever hoped.  I
 would use the word "awesome" but that word has been used to death by
 the MTV generation.  Nevertheless, the Jaguar is simply everything you've
 been told, and more....

 The consumer electronics press corps are a very jaded bunch.  We've seen
 everything, played with everything, heard pie-in-the-sky promises from
 everyone.  Nothing impresses the CE press anymore.

 Nothing, except perhaps the new Jaguar.  The "buzz" in the press room was
 significant and sustained.  The "buzz" on the show floor was continuous.
 The Jaguar is "hot."

 I attended the 3DO press conference hosted by Trip Hawkins, the president
 of 3DO.  He went through an elaborate and impressive slide show and
 presentation describing the progress of 3DO over the past year and its
 plans for 1994.

 Much or most of what Mr. Hawkins said about the industry and 3DO was both
 impressive and accurate. The 3DO units are capable, expensive, powerful,
 expensive, well designed and expandable and (did I mention?) expensive.
 The singular and (in my opinion) most important aspect of Mr. Hawkins'
 presentation is not what it said, but rather what it DID'NT say.  He
 (tried to) completely ignore the Jaguar from Atari Corp.  Mr. Hawkins
 stated that 3DO's competition was "Nintendo, Sega and Sony."  He went on
 (in great detail) to explain why these three companies would not succeed
 against the 3DO effort.  I won't comment about these companies because
 my knowledge of their plans is limited.

 However, at the first opportunity during the Q&A portion of the
 presentation, I asked Mr. Hawkins why he didn't list the Jaguar as part
 of 3DO's competition, especially considering that initial reports we've
 received from locations that offer both the Jaguar and the 3DO units have
 reported that the Jaguar is selling approximately 10-to-1 over the

 Mr. Hawkins responded that according to his information, there were more
 3DO units sold in 1993 than Jaguar units.

 NOTE-- The Jaguar was available in basically 2 cities for a 4 week period
 while the 3DO units were available for much longer (6 months?) on a
 nationwide basis.

 Mr. Hawkins (was he starting to perspire profusely?  It looked that way
 from the 3rd row, but maybe it was the hot lights......) went on to say
 that the Jaguar was essentially not in the same league as the 3DO.  He
 called the Jaguar a "cartridge machine" while the 3DO uses the much more
 advanced CD-ROM technology.  I said that the Jaguar's CD-ROM unit was
 about to ship but he seemed to "not hear" this comment.  He went on to
 say that "Atari tweaked the Jaguar for better response as a cart-based
 system..." (not true says Atari), and that "Atari doesn't have the
 necessary capital ..." to sustain the system, etc., etc., etc....
 Essentially, he downplayed the significance of the Jaguar as much as he
 could.  He even suggested that the press go over to the Atari booth and
 look at the Jag for themselves and they could easily see why 3DO was
 the superior system.

 After the press conference, I spoke with a few other members of the
 press and it seemed that they also picked up on Mr. Hawkins' nervousness
 with regard to the Jaguar and I would like to mention that that afternoon
 was the busiest day for show traffic in the Atari booth. (Thanks, Trip).

 Talking to Sam and Gary Tramiel, both looked extremely comfortable and
 confident with the limited but spectacular success of the Jaguar at this
 point in time.  (Sam looks 10 years younger than last year and my wife
 noted that he looks like "a very happy man with a real winner on his

 Talking to Bill Rehbock, J Patton and other Atari employees, the quiet
 confidence and enthusiasm they expressed for the product said it all.

 Talking to numerous show attendees in the Atari booth, there seemed to be
 no question about the acceptance of the Jaguar as "the" state-of-the-art
 game system.

 In the past, I would have expected some amount of skepticism about ANY
 new products capabilities but (except for Trip Hawkins) there seemed to
 be no questions, complaints or doubts about the Jaguar.

 In fact, the only question seemed to be "Could Atari actually deliver
 (in quantity and quality) the unit they were displaying at the show?"
 Believing that our members deserved to have this question asked, I
 approached Sam Tramiel in the Jaguar booth and bluntly stated my

 Before Sam started to talk, there was a simple smile. It was the kind of
 smile that said "we've worked our backsides off to get to this point
 against all the odds that said we couldn't.  Don't worry for a second
 that we're going to take anything for granted....."

 After that smile, any words were simply superfluous.  Its the same
 feeling you get when you are playing blackjack at any casino, and you and
 the dealer both have a Jack showing. Then you see that your hole card
 just happens to be an ace.  Its not a question of whether or not you are
 going to win.  Its just a matter of how big you are going to win....

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