The Sega Saturn is a home video game console developed by Sega and released on November 22, 1994, in Japan, May 11, 1995, in North America, and July 8, 1995, in Europe. Part of the fifth generation of video game consoles, it was the successor to the successful Sega Genesis. The Saturn has a dual-CPU architecture and eight processors. Its games are in CD-ROM format, and its game library contains several ports of arcade games as well as original games.
Development of the Saturn began in 1992, the same year Sega's groundbreaking 3D Model 1 arcade hardware debuted. The Saturn was designed around a new CPU from Japanese electronics company Hitachi. Sega added another video display processor in early 1994 to better compete with Sony's forthcoming PlayStation.
The Saturn was initially successful in Japan but failed to sell in large numbers in the United States after its surprise May 1995 launch, four months before its scheduled release date. After the debut of the Nintendo 64 in late 1996, the Saturn rapidly lost market share in the U.S., where it was discontinued in 1998. Having sold 9.26 million units worldwide, the Saturn is considered a commercial failure; the cancellation of Sonic X-treme, planned as the first 3D entry in Sega's popular Sonic the Hedgehog series, is considered a factor in its performance. The Saturn was succeeded in 1998 by the Dreamcast.
Although the Saturn is remembered for several well-regarded games, including Nights into Dreams, the Panzer Dragoon series, and the Virtua Fighter series, its reputation is mixed due to its complex hardware design and limited third-party support. Sega's management has been criticized for its decisions during the system's development and discontinuation.