Why the MSX2 was so little known outside of Japan?

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By wbahnassi

Master (160)

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15-12-2021, 04:54

MSX2 was also popular in the Middle East. Of course the AX170 was the king, but Al Alamiah had also a few MSX2 models that were popular too (AX350 and AX370). The only reason why they were less wide-spread compared to the AX170 was the price tag. AX170 was a very popular end-of-school-year gift from our dads. Costing 750 Saudi Riyals at the time (~220 USD back then). Monthly salaries were around 3000-4000 SAR for the middle class, so the AX170 wasn't a cheap buy to begin with.. IIRC the AX350 was double the price (~1400 SAR) so you can imagine what it means to ask daddy to spend almost half of his salary on what they considered then "another Atari" (in the Middle East parents used to name any computer with cartridges "Atari" Tongue ).

By Manuel

Ascended (18879)

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15-12-2021, 21:21

Wammes Witkop once told me (I hope I remember this correctly), that in the Netherlands, more MSX2's than MSX1's were sold. And I seem to remember that the total was a few hundred thousand (400k?).
Philips was quite active promoting MSX usage in schools, small businesses, NIPO and such. Sony HB-G900P was used in the Floriade. Well, such things helped.

By Grauw

Ascended (10605)

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15-12-2021, 22:08

Philips’ deal with the government (at least I think it was?) to have a program for MSX2 computers in schools certainly helped the sales numbers I think. My primary school also had two MSX computers in my 8th grade classroom. I wish we had used them more often though.

And my dad’s work also used MSX2 computers, at some point we had two at home, one bought ourselves and the other “borrowed” from his office, which we never returned after they were replaced with PCs.

By Manuel

Ascended (18879)

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16-12-2021, 00:13

Popular European MSX2 software, at least in the Netherlands: Dynamic Publisher (Radarsoft/Philips), Ease (Opera Soft/Philips), perhaps Home Office (by Computer Mates/Philips) or Designer Plus/Video Graphics (A. Koene/Philips).

By litwr

Resident (51)

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16-12-2021, 09:47

Thanks a lot for so interesting information. I have to confess I knew nothing about MSX software from the Netherlands. Sad This caused my wrong conclusion that the MSX2 models were not numerous in this country. However, were there any good games for the MSX2 created in Europe? And it is still very odd for me that the Netherlands' neighbors Germany and Belgium missed the MSX almost completely. The rich Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway) somehow missed the MSX too. Indeed the most interesting thing for me is to know the history of the MSX in the USA. One can only wonder how the Chinese Lasers got much more success in the USA than more advanced Japanese designs in the 80s.

By Manuel

Ascended (18879)

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16-12-2021, 17:58

You can take a look at the website of Generation MSX, to get an impression.

By jltursan

Prophet (2619)

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16-12-2021, 19:05


One can only wonder how the Chinese Lasers got much more success in the USA than more advanced Japanese designs in the 80s

Really?, USA or Australia?. I've always though that Yamaha and SVI were popular enough to sell a decent number of machines in the USA...

By AxelStone

Prophet (3121)

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16-12-2021, 20:51

Basically the price, at least for me. MSX2 was so expensive compared to any other 8bit machine. Even with higher capabilities compared to let's say a Spectrum 128Kb, we can't forget that you still have a Z80 based computer. For the price of standard MSX2 with FDD you had a brand new Atari ST 16bit computer (and depending on the model the MSX2 could be even more expensive!).

By geijoenr

Champion (314)

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16-12-2021, 21:50

I remember when TurboR arrived to Spain I considered buying one... but I had to share it with my brother who rightly pointed out it was a stupid idea as for a little more money we got a PC with a hard drive.

By saccopharynx

Master (173)

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16-12-2021, 23:05

Probably not the most popular, but no doubts about popularity of MSX2 outside Japan. A different story is for MSX2+/TurboR!

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