Sega Saturn System
In 1994, Sega developed two 32-bit consoles at the same time: the Saturn, a CD-ROM based system and the Jupiter, a cartridge based system. Seeing that CD-ROMs were cheaper to produce and offered a greater storage capacity than silicon cartridges, Sega decided to proceed with the Saturn. The Jupiter became the 32X add-on for the Genesis system. In the final design, Sega did add a cartridge port to the Saturn console only for the purpose of external storage and future expansion.
Sega had Hitachi, Yamaha and JVC manufacture internal components for the Saturn system in an effort to get it in stores as fast as possible. Later Sega announced that each of the same three companies would distribute the Saturn system.
In March 1995 Sega of America announced that the Saturn would be released on September 2 in time for the Christmas holiday. Sega was in a race to beat the highly anticipated Sony Playstation which was also due out in September. However, despite the announcement, Sega surprised consumers in May, when a supply of 30,000 Saturns were released in American stores. Retail price on the system was $399. Included with the console was an eight button control pad and a CD-ROM of the arcade hit Virtua Fighter. Sega made the console available with no game for $349.
Also caught off guard by the early release of the Saturn were third party game developers. With no warning time, a minimal amount of software titles were distributed in the first months of the Saturn’s American release.