Why is the MSX almost non existant in the U.S. ?

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By valkyre

Hero (522)

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11-04-2021, 17:39

I was the only kid in school with an msx!

By Pentarou

Champion (351)

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11-04-2021, 17:48

I'm sure that in the 30+ years since the event, you were able to overcome the trauma. ;-)

By Ivan

Ascended (9281)

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11-04-2021, 19:09

valkyre wrote:

I was the only kid in school with an msx!

In Spain from 1989/1990 onwards we missed a lot of European software that was available to the other three major 8bit home computers (Spectrum, Amstrad and C64). I am referring to big hits like, for instance, Operation Thunderbolt, Robocop 2 & 3, Chase H.Q. II, Turbo OutRun, Pang, The Simpsons (Bart vs. the Space Mutants), Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles II (The Coin-Op), etc. A lot of games never saw the light of day on MSX and it was not a nice situation.

Fortunately the magazine MSX-Club lasted until December 1991 (only one month less than MicroHobby, a very successful magazine dedicated to the ZX Spectrum equivalent to Your Sinclair in the UK) so we still had information about MSX soft/hard novelties (news from Japan and other countries) and, mainly thanks to the existence of MSX-Club, still some small importers brought us Japanese hardware and software. Also Spanish software companies (Dinamic, Opera, Topo, Zigurat,...) still released their games for MSX.

By Maggoo

Paragon (1212)

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11-04-2021, 19:18

By the time MSX was presented in the US (late 84), the 8bits market was already saturated. The C64 was costing less than $200. Texas Instrument, Atari and Commodore (with the Vic 20 and later the +4) were selling machines around $100. There was just no market for a MSX1 being introduced at $300. They waited for the MSX2 but by the time it was released (late 85/ early 86) the US market was already transitioning to PC compatible and Mac to a lesser extend (ST/Amiga were also introduced but never were super popular). With the divorce between Microsoft and ASCII, I guess any chance of a Microsoft US effort to promote the MSX got lost afterward.

By AxelStone

Prophet (2919)

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12-04-2021, 15:15

Manuel wrote:

UK: I think: 1) price 2) protectionism of the domestic market (Sinclair, BBC)

I think exactly the same. And for USA, something similar with C64. Probably if we read the history of Spectravideo (the only US manufacturer of MSX models) we could understand better what hapenned.

Good recap @Maggoo, it makes sense.

By Rataplan

Master (244)

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13-04-2021, 08:07

Maggoo wrote:

By the time MSX was presented in the US (late 84), the 8bits market was already saturated. The C64 was costing less than $200.

That's not entirely true; the C64 was introduced in 1982 at $595 and gradually dropped in price. But in 84 it was certainly not at 200 already. As far as I just listened to commercials from at the time at https://www.commodore.ca/commodore-products/commodore-64-the... it was still at $595 in '84.
And what a beast at the time, it's potential completely unkown. Released a good 2 years before MSX1, which was a huge time for technology back then. But still it managed to be the awesome machine it is. I'm certainly biased towards MSX but that's based on nostalgia mostly. Technically I'm tempted to put them at least on the same level.

Great times to be computer enthousiasts :)

By ducasp

Champion (407)

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13-04-2021, 15:55

I really think that probably what killed MSX in the US was most likely an agreement between Microsoft/SpectraVideo/ASCII corporation that made Spectravideo the sole MSX vendor in the U.S. due to having one of their system's as the foundation for MSX... It is well known that Spectravideo had financial issues by the time they have licensed the technology to MS/ASCII for the MSX standard, and (now put your tinfoil hats on, conspiracy theory ahead) most likely that license had a exclusivity term in the U.S... Now, get a company that has just surfaced out of financial troubles and bankruptcy, they probably had not the money (and probably not the will) to spend all their money promoting their computers, most certainly they could not compete with the money that Commodore had to make advertisements neither they had "free store advertisement" that Tandy had at Radio Shack stores... MSX never stood a real chance in the U.S. at the hands of Spectra Video, and I think that this is what ultimately killed any chances of MSX being a hit in the U.S...

By Pentarou

Champion (351)

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13-04-2021, 18:30

Didn't Yamaha sell computers in the US?

By santiontanon

Paragon (1353)

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13-04-2021, 18:56

Yeah, that's right, Yamaha had the "music computer" MSX that was commercialized in the US

By Maggoo

Paragon (1212)

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13-04-2021, 21:07

Rataplan wrote:
Maggoo wrote:

By the time MSX was presented in the US (late 84), the 8bits market was already saturated. The C64 was costing less than $200.

That's not entirely true; the C64 was introduced in 1982 at $595 and gradually dropped in price. But in 84 it was certainly not at 200 already. As far as I just listened to commercials from at the time at https://www.commodore.ca/commodore-products/commodore-64-the...

Not sure about Canada, but in the US you could find C64 for $199 as early as April/May 1984. By December84/Jan85 prices had dropped to $149 or less.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/97403149@N05/26759971030/

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