Initially, the 32X was planned to be a standalone 32-bit cartridge based console before Sega decided to make it an add-on for the Genesis.
Why it Flopped
- Like the Sega CD, it had its own power supply, requiring a total of 3 AC cables to use it (2 from the console and 1 from the TV), 4 if you also have a Sega CD. These AC cables also have huge boxes so they take up a lot of space and make them harder to plug at once.
- You need special metal prongs to attach it to a model 1 Genesis.
- It requires another cable to connect it to the Genesis, which makes no sense because it's plugged into the Genesis.
- Barely any good games.
- In addition, it had a launch price of $159, but within a few months Sega dropped it to $99. At the end of its life cycle, the add-on was sold for $19.
- The main reason for its failure, was that the Sega Saturn was due to be released 6 months later, making it nearly pointless to own one.
The add-on failed miserably with only 660,000 units ever sold and only 40 games made. The Sega Saturn was released just six months after the 32X (and was already out in Japan), so most gamers chose to ignore the 32X and just wait for the Saturn or the Sony PlayStation.
James Rolfe, in his Angry Video Game Nerd persona described the 32X as the Genesis "being on life support" due to the large amount of cables on the back of the console when the 32X is plugged in.
The massive failure of the 32X was one of the major factors to Sega flopping as a console developer and be forced to become a third-party developer. Sega was heavily criticized for releasing too much hardware too quickly. Many developers would later refuse to make games for Sega, as they kept cycling out their consoles. The terrible financial losses and loss of trust from third-party developers caused by the 32X went on to affect the Saturn and Dreamcast as well, causing both consoles to fail.