Amiga and Commodore news and topics not covered in the other forums
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Detroit, MI, USA

by Shot97 posted Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:11 am

Also, I'd really prefer not to lump all European countries in together, unfortunately "they" (whoever they are) did it long before I came along. Sales of all of these systems (Amiga, NES, SNES, MegaDrive- Everything) simply lump all of Europe together. The only country that ever seemed to have its own numbers was Germany. I'd love to compare things country by country but it's a very hard thing to do.
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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:29 am

There is a really well-written post from 2015 about the dealer network situation back then, and how C= departed it for the 64. When the Amiga was ready for market they were at a huge disadvantage.
There were two entirely separate distribution channels for computers in the mid-1980s: the network of specialized dealers, who offered service, advice, and support along with computers to their customers; and the mass merchants, big-box stores like Sears and Toys ‘R’ Us and the big consumer-electronics chains, who sold computers alongside televisions and washing machines and offered little to nothing in the way of support, competing instead almost entirely on the basis of price. Commodore under Jack Tramiel had pioneered the latter form of distribution with the VIC-20, the first truly mass-market home computer. Most people were happy to buy a relatively cheap machine, especially one meant for casual home use, through a big-box store. Those spending more money, and especially those buying a machine for use in business, preferred to safeguard their investment by going through a dealer. Thus Apple, IBM, and the many makers of IBM clones like Compaq continued to sell their more expensive machines through dealers. Commodore and Atari, makers of cheaper, home-oriented machines, sold theirs through the mass market.

Now, however, Commodore found themselves with a more expensive machine and no dealer network through which to sell it, a last little poison pill left to them by Jack Tramiel. One might say that Commodore was forced to start again from scratch — except that it was actually worse than that. In late 1982 Tramiel had destroyed what was left of Commodore’s dealer network when he dumped the successor to the VIC-20, the Commodore 64, into the mass-market channel as well, just weeks after promising his long-suffering dealers that he would do no such thing. That betrayal had put many of his dealers out of business, leaving the rest to sign on with other brands whilst saying, “Never again.” New Commodore CEO Marshall Smith was honestly trying in his stolid, conservative, steel-industry way to remove the whiff of disreputability that had always clung to the company under Tramiel. But the memories of most potential dealers were still too long, no matter how impressive the machine Commodore now had to offer them. The result was that many major American cities now sported, at best, just one or two places where you could walk in and buy an Amiga. It was a crippling disadvantage.
It's hard for me to read this stuff about a company I hold so dearly. The Ranger project was probably knocked down as it would have likely caused backwards compatibility issues, but I can't help but wonder what could have been. Miner already proved that his ideas were better than most. The fact that his name isn't remembered like Woz is a shame.

But in the early 90s the tightly closed architecture of the Amiga line and how the OS spoke to the chips didn't easily allow for popping video cards in and out like the PC clones could. Back then if you had money the answer for performance wasn't elegance, it was swapping out your CPU and simply let it make up for the losses in design. It was a brute force solution, but allowed PC owners to limp along to the next card or chip rather than replace a whole system. If they had put a CD into the 1200, 3000 or 4000 instead of the CD32 it would have possibly helped perceptions. But they ultimately would have had to decouple from the Motorola chips, which I believe Ranger would have done, and created a platform for the future. Which I guess is where OS 4 eventually went (and MorphOS and Aros) but too little too late. If you're going to that route you might as well try Linux IMO. I'll stick with the classic OSes...
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by marky1200 posted Wed Oct 26, 2016 4:32 pm

Indeed many blame two things in particular from that time: Myst and Doom. This pointed directly at (1) the Amiga's closed architecture and (2) Commodore's baffling decision to never ship a computer with a CD-ROM.

Yep, I have an external CD-ROM attached to my A1200 with its 8MByte memory. Although, to get the external CD-Rom drive to work, I'd to drop the plugged in RAM down to 4MB. Its possibly this kinda fiddling that was the Amiga's death knell.

I'd just finished and electronic engineering apprenticeship in 92, and bought a A500 during my training.

I bought my A1200 in 96(ish) second hand with a wealth of games.
I can recall the weighty PCPRO magazines as late as 97-99 stating the 'amazing' GFX capabilities of the PC - but it came at quite a hefty price.

Conversely, I was plotting graphs at an amazing (for the day) 1200 x 512 pixels - and wondering to myself - why pay more for less pixels on a PC?

I think the answer was the PC's made it into the workplace and education. Game over then. As someone stated, the brute force approach of the PC won out. A sad day for Amiga enthusiasts.

The sales figures make for interesting reading.... especially the significant dip at 91/92.
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by Bulletdust posted Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:27 pm

The thing with the C64 was that while it had the custom chipset consisting of the SID as well as the VIC-II graphics chip, it's slow floppy drive and lack of any real DOS was it's weakness when compared to other, more expensive machines. However, because of it's attractive price people bought it and third party vendors began developing peripherals to overcome the Commodore 64's weaknesses - Items like the Action Replay cartridges and RS-232 to user port adaptors turned the C64 from a device marketed as a gamer to an affordable option for serious computing enthusiasts.

I always look upon my childhood C64 days fondly, probably the reason why it's still my favourite machine I own today.

In the day I always found the Amiga to be a little limiting for any serious work as I had to keep booting OS1.3 off a floppy before I could do anything interesting, my A500 was screaming out for a hard drive, but in the day they were just too expensive.
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by Lorfarius posted Wed May 15, 2019 11:51 pm

Has anyone approached David Pleasance? He's pretty active on Facebook and forums plus I'm sure he talks about figures briefly in his book. Being all over the UK, Europe and US for years as Sales person he's probably your best bet. Might have some old sheets with details tucked away.
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by rpiguy9907 posted Tue May 21, 2019 10:34 am

There is an interesting symmetry to the C64 numbers that gives some of them credence.

The most often heard numbers are 12M, 17M, and 22M. What is interesting is that the C128 sold 5M which I believe is lumped in with the 17M or 22M. I could certainly believe that 17M C64 + 5M C128s were sold. Bil Herd and Leonard Tramiel always seem to gravitate toward the larger numbers.
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Zippy Zapp

by Zippy Zapp posted Wed May 22, 2019 10:00 am

rpiguy9907 wrote:There is an interesting symmetry to the C64 numbers that gives some of them credence.

The most often heard numbers are 12M, 17M, and 22M. What is interesting is that the C128 sold 5M which I believe is lumped in with the 17M or 22M. I could certainly believe that 17M C64 + 5M C128s were sold. Bil Herd and Leonard Tramiel always seem to gravitate toward the larger numbers.

I have also heard 30M as a figure too. I think it was Jack in one of his interviews that stated over 22M.
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by Leffmann posted Wed May 22, 2019 10:13 am

There's an interesting article on the C64 sales here that suggests there were 12.5 million machines sold, based on an analysis of serial numbers:

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