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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, the Sega NAOMI, 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.
  • 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 gamersnote .
  • 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:
    • Borderline examples with their dedicated handhelds, with most of them (Game Boy, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS) later receiving more powerful revisions that, despite having their own exclusive games, are treated as part of the same hardware family and are sold concurrently with the earlier model for years (Game Boy Color, Nintendo DSi, and New Nintendo 3DS, respectively).
    • The Nintendo Entertainment System was supported by Nintendo for several years after the Super Nintendo Entertainment System's launch, with new first-party releases occurring as late as 1994. Notably, this resulted in Wario's Woods being the only NES game to have an official ESRB rating.
    • 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 still immensely popular and successful Game Boy brand wouldn't be affected. Once the DS became a hit, however, Nintendo dropped this attitude and the GBA, with the last first-party Nintendo games for the system releasing in 2006. Both of those 2006 titles, Rhythm Tengoku and Mother 3, also happened to be No Export for You due to their international branches no longer wishing to use localization resources on GBA games.
    • Nintendo continued to support the Nintendo 3DS as a budget handheld option following the release of the Nintendo Switch in 2017. The final first-party title released for the handheld was a port of Kirby's Epic Yarn in March 2019, while the last significant third-party game was the Western release of Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth a few months later.
  • 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.
  • Sega:
    • 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.
    • The reverse happened when the Dreamcast succeeded the Saturn. Due to the Saturn's greater success there, Japanese third-party developers and gamers wanted to keep the system going, and thought that the Dreamcast's launch was premature. Elsewhere, however, the Saturn was a complete flop, to the point where it could have been considered unsupported even before the Dreamcast arrived.
    • 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 note 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Project 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 360s 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 and its own successor, the Xbox Series X|S, are both 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 and PlayStation 5 lacking backwards compatibility with itnote .
  • Due to hardware shortages, publishers (including Sony and Microsoft) continue to release games on the PS4 and Xbox One despite the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S being out. It helps that both systems are backwards compatible with their previous-gen counterparts, games released late in the PS4 and Xbox One's lifespans were required to take advantage of PS4 Pro and Xbox One X hardware (meaning that eighth-gen games running on ninth-gen hardware will default to running in "PS4 Pro" or "Xbox One X" mode when available) and many games released while both systems are still produced include "Next-Gen" patches that update the game to take advantage of the newer hardware when the user upgrades systems.
  • Just Dance 2020 was released for the Wii but not the Wii U. This means that in North America, the Wii outlived its successor. The reaction was so strong that Ubisoft themselves had to publicly address the fact that it was true. According to some sources, the only thing that stopped Ubisoft from releasing even more Just Dance games on the console was Nintendo ending support for the release of new Wii games.
  • 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).