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Daddy System

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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.


  • Sports games in particular are notorious for continuing to release on last-gen consoles long after other genres of games abandon them. This is largely due to the many people who are otherwise uninterested in video games buying consoles just to play them, and are therefore unlikely to run out to buy brand-new consoles just to play a handful of games.
  • 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.
    • The same thing happened with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: developed for the Wii U but delayed until it was released for both the Wii U and the Switch. And unlike Twilight Princess, the differences between versions are much more minimal; the Switch version has a small but noticeable graphics bump but otherwise the gameplay is largely identical.
  • 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 Persona 4 being on the PS2 surprised gamers.
    • Similarly, Persona 5 somehow managed to appear on the PS3 as well as the PS4note , despite being released in September 2016 in Japan and April 2017 internationally, almost 11 years into the former console's lifespan. Part of this is possibly due to the 8-year Sequel Gap between it and Persona 4, meaning that it was likely put on the PS3 as well to compensate for skipping over an entire gen. Impressively, aside from some longer load times and a smaller rendering resolutionnote , the two versions of the game are basically identical. It was also the final non-Sports Game to be released on physical disc for the console.
  • 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 introduced the DSi (which removed GBA backwards-compatibility), they used the same "third pillar" speech. This was truer this time, since most retail games were still playable on the original DS.
    • Generally speaking, Nintendo's strategy with updating its hand-held systems is to "treat the old one as a Daddy System, then drop it if its successor is 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 the Virtual Boy was able to bring them down (to the point where few would call it a handheld, even if intended as such).
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    • Nintendo did it again with the 3DS, which was introduced and which games were made for alongside the DS. It has backward compatibility with the DSnote  so that gamers could still play their existing library after upgrading and new games were still being produced for both systems for a few years.
  • 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/Mega Drive acted like this to the Sega Saturn in Europe and America (with games such as Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island being released on both), but in Japan Sega tried to quickly drop the Mega Drive and push the Saturn, as the older system had never sold well there.
    • In turn, the Mega Drive's predecessor, the Sega Master System, served as the Daddy System to the Mega Drive in some markets (mostly Brazil and Europe), receiving its own versions of Mega Drive hits such as Sonic the Hedgehog well into the nineties. There even existed additional hardware (the "Power Base Converter" or "Mega Adaptor" depending on the region) that made the Mega Drive's cartridge slot backwards compatible with most Master System games.
    • 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.
    • Pier Solar and the Great Architects was released in 2010. The Genesis is generally considered a dead system, but there's still people playing it - which means that there's still a market for new Genesis games.
  • The PC game market has a version of this. 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.
    • Another form of "generations" that PC gaming has is DirectX versions, which add and standardize new graphical features and capabilities for graphics cards to implement. While high-end games may target the latest version of the API, others will continue to support older versions because they don't need the latest graphics and/or want to have a wider audience of those who haven't upgraded to the absolute latest hardware.
  • 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, the PlayStation 4 was scheduled to be released in November 2013, which also got the new FIFA game, as did the PlayStation 3, meaning that FIFA 14 released across three generations of PlayStations.
  • 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 into the early 1990s.
  • When the Commodore 64 was launched, the VIC-20 seems to have been originally positioned as its Daddy System, but instead it wound up being quickly retired in favor of the Commodore 16. The C16 was actually a cut-down version of the Plus/4, Commodore's failed attempt at a business computer; while the C16 was incompatible with the C64 and much less popular, the hardware was still similar enough that some developers supported both computers on an equal basis for a few years. The 8-bit C64 then managed to co-exist with Commodore's 16-bit Amiga, with many games released on both systems (despite the underlying hardware being totally different), 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. In fact, Wario's Woods was released so late in the console's lifespan that it is the only NES game to have an official ESRB rating.
  • 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.
    • And in the 1990s, the PC-98 had a similar relation to the IBM compatible, which began to dominate the Japanese market as it had done elsewhere thanks to more powerful components allowing it to support Japanese without any special hardware. This was helped by the fact that the two systems had the same x86 processors in them, both ran MS-DOS (and later Windows), and later in its life several PC components such as the Sound Blaster received PC-98 versions, which made porting fairly easy. Up until NEC discontinued the PC-98 in the late 1990s in favor of standard PCs, the PC-98 continued to see tons of new games (most notably the Touhou series), and many PC games received straight ports to the PC-98 and vice versa.
  • Both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 served 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 saw several prominent releases exclusively for seventh-gen. Even as late as 2017, publishers continue to release new games for the systems, albeit mostly just sports titles and Just Dance. Microsoft finally ceased manufacturing new 360's in April 2016, but still continues to support the console's online services and game store, and will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future since the Xbox One is backwards compatible with 360 games.
    • The PlayStation 3 was discontinued in October 2016, but still has a large player base largely due to the PlayStation 4 lacking backwards compatibility.
  • Just Dance 2019 was released for the Wii. No, not the Wii U (well, that too). The original Wii. In 2018. Let that sink in.
    • Even more insane is the fact that Just Dance 2020, which is set for release in 2019, is not only also coming to the original Wii, but skipped over the Wii U. This announcement was such a surprise that it was met with both ridicule and shock from gamers with jokes such as, "that moment when the Wii outlives the Wii U". The reaction was so strong that Ubisoft themselves had to publicly address the fact that it was true.
  • Nintendo continues to support the Nintendo 3DS despite the Nintendo Switch taking dominance, with the latest notable game for it being Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, which was released in the west on June 4, 2019, over two years after the Switch came out. While it's likely to be the last big game for the console, the system itself has not yet been discontinued, yet Nintendo ended production of new 3DS systems in mid-September 2020.
  • Dynasty Warriors:
    • Dynasty Warriors 6, a PS3 title, was released later for the PS2 as Dynasty Warriors 6: Special. The latter version omitted duels and swimming and had severe lag and framerate issues, but in a twist, it actually added more content, including unique weapons and stories for six characters, which were never released for the PS3.
    • Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires was released for both the PS3 and PS4. Koei Tecmo had only started testing the waters for the latter, since this game was clearly formatted to be a PS3 game (the original game and its Xtreme Legends expansion was previously packaged as a PS4 launch title).


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