Panasonic 3DO

The Panasonic 3DO is a video game console produced by Panasonic and was released in North America On October 4, 1993, in Japan on March 20, 1994, and in Europe later in 1994. The 3DO games were manufactured by multiple developers who paid a royalty to 3DO for each game that was sold. This ultimately was the downfall of the 3DO, making it a very expensive product.

The founder of 3DO, Trip Hawkins, stated that the 3DO was not a game console, but a high end audio video system and was priced accordingly. In February 1996, a price reduction was announced in an effort to improve sales before the release of the next generation 3DO, the M2. However, the M2 was never produced.

Toward the end of 1996 production of the 3DO was discontinued and a complete halt of all hardware development was enacted. The 3DO company restructured into a multi-platform software developer for the Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn and computer software platforms.

Several alternate versions of the 3DO have been released since the system was first produced in 1993. Goldstar and Sanyo released their versions of the 3DO in South Korea and Japan, respectively.

Some features/specifications of the 3DO system: a 12.5 Mhz CPU, 32 KB SRAM, 2 MB main RAM, and 1 MB VRAM, and 16-bit stereo Dolby Surround Sound audio output.

Typical accessories for the 3DO were a/v and power cables and a controller. Only one controller was shipped with the unit, and only one controller port was on the unit, but each controller had a port where up to eight controllers could be linked together for multiple players. The standard controller also had a headphone jack and volume control. Third-party controllers were also produced.

Other accessories included a Gamegun developed by American Laser Games for use with their laser game 3DO titles; A mouse, which is used for play on less the twenty games; a steering wheel used on several racing games; and a variety of games.

Click here for a list of games developed for the 3DO system.

Image Caption: The Panasonic 3DO FZ-1, a video game console released in 1993. Credit: Evan-Amos/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)