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Daddy System
A situation in which both a "next-gen" console and its predecessor are both still being made, sold, and developed for concurrently. Companies then have to decide when and whether to kill releases for the older one in order to push sales for the new, or if they should take advantage of the Daddy System's (usually) larger install base. There is usually a big jump in technology, but many designers realize that some games don't need to use that jump. Companies may even demand games for the newer system must utilize the updated technology for marketing purposes, meaning a company's lower tech game being shipped out on the older system for a lower price, such as "classic"-style games or quirky budget games. Other designers rationalize that an older system in its golden years usually has all its technology worked out by programmers, resulting in a smooth-running game. This results in some systems having a much longer shelf life than the casual gamer might expect.

Backwards compatibility is largely seen as a solution for this, a way to get around Daddy Systems and convince gamers to buy new systems.

Examples:

  • The Sega Dreamcast, which even after its corporate "death" in 2001 was still popular because the arcade hardware based on it outlasted the system. Ports from this hardware were the source of most of the post-death Dreamcast games. The fact that the system is homebrew-friendly resulted in a second group of games published even later.
    • In certain venues, Sega continued to publish games for the Dreamcast up until 2007, selling refurbished systems to keep up with demand.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a notable example — originally announced as a Gamecube game, it was repeatedly delayed, with much speculation that it would be moved to the next Nintendo system — eventually, it was released on both Gamecube and Wii. Apart from controls, resolution, and the need to flip everything backwards for the Wii version to make Link right-handed (inconveniencing left-handed players), the games are exactly the same.
  • Sony received flack for cutting back on the PS3's backwards compatibility, as well as supposedly discouraging big name publishers from making PS2 games despite that system's huge install base, enough that the newest Persona game (Persona4) being on the PS2 surprised gamers.
  • Nintendo originally declared that the Nintendo DS would be a "third pillar" system along with its consoles and Game Boy Advance, likely so that if the DS flopped, the Game Boy brand wouldn't be affected. Once the DS became a hit, however, Nintendo dropped this attitude and the GBA (although the original DS did still play GBA games). Interestingly, when they intoduced the DSi (which removed GBA functionability), they used the same "third pillar" speech. Again... no.
    • Generally speaking, Nintendo's strategy with updating its hand-held systems seems to be "start as a Daddy System, then drop the old one if it's successful". Probably because they've consistently been on the top of the hand-held market and want to make sure they don't screw up. So far, it's worked. Not even Virtual Boy was able to bring them down (to the point where few would call it a handheld, ever if intended as such.)
  • The Atari VCS was rebranded as the Atari 2600 upon the release of the Atari 5200, which was originally intended to take over after the 2600 but wound up dying away quietly. The 2600 lived on for a total of up to 14 years; in its later life, it was the Daddy System to the Atari 7800, which featured backwards compatibility.
  • Madden NFL 08 was put out on a bunch of systems, including the now-dead Nintendo GameCube. In August of 2007. It was the last game released for the system. This was repeated with Madden 09 and Madden 12 serving as unofficial goodbyes to the Xbox and PlayStation 2 respectively.
  • The Sega Genesis/Megadrive acted like this to the Sega Saturn in Europe and America (with games such as Sonic 3D being released on both), but in Japan Sega tried to quickly drop the Megadrive and push the Saturn, as the Megadrive had never sold well there.
    • In turn, the Megadrive's predecessor, the Sega Master System, served as the Daddy System to the Megadrive in some markets (mostly Brazil and Europe), receiving its own versions of Megadrive hits such as Sonic the Hedgehog well into the nineties.
    • The Japanese version of the Master System was backwardly-compatible with its own Daddy System, the SG 1000, which was fully supported for over a year after its successor's launch.
  • Played with in the PC game market. The closest thing the PC platform has to generations is 16-bit, 32-bit, and 64-bit, and each lasts over a decade through incremental yet vast improvements. Still, PCs from the Pentium 4 era act as the "daddy system" to PCs with a newer Core i series CPU. Intel's power-sipping Atom CPU, used in netbooks (entry-level laptops with a relatively small screen) and nettops (ultra-small desktop PCs), is roughly as fast as the power-guzzling Pentium 4 CPU found in gaming PCs built several years earlier, and they initially ran the same Windows XP operating system. Some PC game developers continue to make games that are less demanding of CPU and GPU resources so that they can target both older PCs and new Atom-powered netbooks.
  • Sega's handheld systems (Game Gear and Nomad) were compatible with games for its previous-generation consoles (Sega Master System and Mega Drive/Genesis respectively) and could be seen as a facelifted daddy system being sold alongside the later consoles, just as low-end PCs are sold alongside gaming PCs.
  • The PlayStation 3 came out in 2006, but Japan still saw PlayStation 2-exclusive games in 2009 (and possibly later), and cross-platform games were still being released on the PS2 worldwide in 2012. Even with production on the console itself ending in January 2013, there was still another game planned for release on it in March, Final Fantasy XI: Seekers of Adoulin, and later in the year the latest FIFA game was released on the console. Keep in mind, PlayStation 4 was scheduled to be released in November 2013.
  • While the Xbox ONE has been released as of November 2013, Microsoft still plans to support the Xbox360 for another 2 to 3 years with other companies likely to release multiplatform games for it for even more years to come.
  • The ZX Spectrum became a sort of Older Brother System to the Amstrad CPC: while the CPC was fancier and more expensive than the Spectrum, it didn't really lead in processing power (and cheaply-converted Speccy games tended to look worse on the CPC). By the late 1980s, however, both computer lines were being sold by Amstrad, and they were similar enough in specifications that many British and Spanish video game companies would assign the same programmers to work on the Speccy and CPC versions of a game and release both versions at the same time.
  • The Acorn Electron was the budget computer version of the BBC Micro. While the Acorn Electron was supposed to have most of the features of the Model B, its cheaper circuitry was inefficient, which meant that Electron versions of BBC Micro games often had to reduce graphical quality or cut features out. Nevertheless, commercial publishers such as Superior Software supported both systems on an equal basis.
  • The Commodore 64 had a budget-priced alternative in the Commodore 16, which was actually a cut-down version of the unpopular Plus/4 business computer. The 8-bit C64 then managed to co-exist with Commodore's 16-bit Amiga, with many games released on both systems, until it was finally discontinued in 1993.
  • The Nintendo Entertainment System was supported by Nintendo for several years after the Super Nintendo Entertainment System's launch. While this policy resulted in more NES/Famicom games being rereleased on the same system than ported to the SNES, as late as 1994, a first-party title, namely Wario's Woods, was released for both consoles.
  • NEC's PC-98 and PC-88 had this sort of relationship until the early 1990s, due to their similar display hardware; the PC-98 was so little valued for playing games in its earlier years that most PC-98 games were straight copies of PC-88 games. In the early 1980s, many Japanese game companies supported the PC-88 as the high-end counterpart to NEC's PC-6001 series.
  • It seems likely that both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox360 will serve as this for their respective successors, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Both seventh-gen systems enjoyed strong sales even though the next-gen release, and 2013 and 2014 have seen several prominent releases for exclusively for seventh-gen.

Cross PlayerVideo Game CultureDamn You, Muscle Memory

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