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Gianna

What was Atari doing with the 5200 in 1984?

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Before the Tramiels showed up, does anybody know what Warner Communications Atari was going to do with the 5200 in 1984 after the 7800 would've come out? Were they going to keep developing games? 

They were going to release a 7800 cartridge adapter so 5200 players could upgrade. It's crazy to think that the 5200 died 18 months after it came out. I'm wondering what other plans they had?

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From what I recall, the 5200 was done.  No more games.  The release of a new console was their sole focus.  

The Colecovision trounced the 5200 in sales.  I think CV outsold 5200 2 to 1.  The focus was on fixing all the 5200 design mistakes and releasing something simpler, with newer tech and backwards compatibility with the 2600.  

 

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I did a little more research and here is what I found:

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On May 21, 1984, during a press conference at which the Atari 7800 was introduced, company executives revealed that the 5200 had been discontinued after just two years on the market. Total sales of the 5200 were reportedly in excess of 1 million units, far short of the Atari 2600’s sales of over 30 million.

A May 22, 1984 article by David E. Sanger of the New York Times entitled "Atari Video Game Unit Introduced" (P.3 Section D) states:

Quote

The new product, which Atari calls the 7800 Prosystem, will sell for $149 and appears to be a replacement for the company's current top-of-the-line machine, the 5200. Company officials disclosed for the first time yesterday that the 5200 is no longer in production, and Atari appears to be selling off its inventory.

I guess that’s the answer, no matter what happened with Warner and the Tramiels, Atari was killing off the 5200. It’s crazy to think a game system could come and go in 18 months!

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I think that the A5200 could have been a better design, but a lot of games still play well on there. I like Super Breakout and Space Dungeon, for instance. Especially Space Dungeon, since the right joystick fires when you move it in the firing direction. It's like Robotron: 2084, in that respect. So, some games still play OK on there. Gyruss, however, could play better. The fire button operates too slow on that game. But, I have heard about someone making new controllers for the A5200 that work better. More responsive. I saw it on YouTube once. I don't have the link to that video at this moment, but there are experiments being conducted right now, leading to a better controller. But, Gianna, you're right. Eighteen months is too short a time for any game system. The A2600 lasted almost fifteen years, for crying out loud! :O)

Edited by BlackCatz40

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1 minute ago, RickR said:

The technology within the 5200 dates back to the Atari 400 (which had 4 controller ports in 1979).  So while the 5200 only lasted 18 months, it's underlying technology lasted 6 years+.  The same tech lived on in the XEGS and Atari 8-bit computer lines. 

 

 

That's true. It has all of the innards of that particular computer.

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