When it comes to gaming, Apple as a tech company doesn’t naturally come to mind. That’s probably because of the Pippin. Unfortunately, the Pippin was one of the few Apple products that crashed and burned. It lasted two years in the market. In this article, we look at the reason Pippin failed and highlight the timeline of the console’s short life.

The Creation

Apple Pippin next to a wireless Applejack controller.
Every Apple Pippin package typically came with a dial-up analog modem and a corded gamepad.

Some diehard Apple fans might know that Steve Jobs and Apple separated for a few years. During this time, Steve Jobs made history and helped create Pixar. Unfortunately, apple, at this time, also created an account, but not in a good way, with the Pippin. To be fair to Apple’s team, in 1996, the home game console market exploded, whereas home computers were still seen as a luxury.

Quick Facts

Original price
$650
Units Sold
42,000

With the help of Bandai, the Japanese toy and game company started creating the Pippin. The original plan was to make a scaled-down version of the Apple Macintosh of 1996. The Macintosh at the time was the Apple Performa 5200. Nowadays, the 5200 is considered one of the worst models of Macintosh that Apple ever made.

Apple and Bandai’s hope with the Pippin was to create a console that could not only play games but also give people a computer-like experience. In addition, this device could also act as a communications platform, handle interactive music, and even don the hat of an educational tool, all while retaining the capability to play games.

What Made The Pippin Special?

back of Bandai Apple Pippin console
Pippin video game console was based on the Apple Macintosh platform for playing CD-ROM games.

Just because it failed doesn’t mean that The Pippin wasn’t incredibly special. The Pippin ran on Mac OS 7 or system 7, which lent itself to some unique abilities that no other console had at the time. For example, it offered support for a modem connection and peripherals like keyboards and mice. The expansion was also a key feature; the Pippin was made with a PCI express slot for inserting external peripherals.

All the consoles also out at the time had no chance to compete with the Pippins’ specs and features on paper. But, this article would probably be a little different if the Pippin lived up to what was on paper.

The Quick Fall of The Pippin

One key factor that held back The Pippin was the same thing that kept home computers from being mainstream. The price was set to a prohibitive $650. Pippin cost $400 more than current competitors like the N64 or Playstation. Even the PS5, released in 2020 several years later, cost $500. So even without adjusting for inflation, the Pippin was still more expensive than today’s flagship consoles.

The second nail in the coffin was Apple’s and Bandai’s marketing. No matter how hard they tried convincing customers, people did not believe The Pippin’s supposedly superior capabilities. Even though Apple tried to go with the smart move of offering a CD-ROM drive to play games for broader availability, the games were just not there for CD-ROM yet. Both the N64 and Playstation had a more extensive library.

After taking these three massive hits, Pippin did not seem like it would stick around for much longer. And that is putting it as lightly as we can. The Pippin was a massive flop, we don’t have the exact numbers, but it is estimated that Bandai made 100,000 Pippins. Of those consoles, only 42,000 were sold.

Conclusion

Apple and Bandai shouldn’t take all of the blame, though. The timing of The Pippin’s launch could not be at a worse time. The Playstation N64 and Sega Saturn were at all-out console war. The Pippin was a bystander that got in the fray. For a modern-day example, the PS3 and Xbox 360 were both at war, and the Ouya came and went like a breeze is a very similar story.

So whether it all came down to timing or if it was all Apple’s and Bandai’s fault. The Pippin was a console left in time. Who knows, if Apple timed it a little differently or waited for Steve Jobs to come back, The Pippin’s story could be very different.

Reasons Apple’s Bandai Pippin Console Failed FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Why doesn't Apple make a gaming console?

Apple had made a console before, The Pippin, and its failure might be why they are holding off on creating a new console today.

When was Apple Pippin released?

The first Pippin was released in March of 1996 and was discontinued in 1997.

Is Pippin a type of apple?

Following Apple’s naming scheme in the mid 90s the Pippin is a type of Apple fruit as well.

How many games were released for the Apple Pippin?

In the U.S, only 18 games were ever released for the Pippin, and if you were in Europe, a measly two games were the only games available for the Pippin.

Is Apple making a game controller?

Apple appears to be designing its gaming controllers. According to new reports from Patently Apple, the tech giant has filed several patents revolving around gaming controller designs for both its iPhone and iPad ranges.

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  • SlashGear Available here: https://www.slashgear.com/780268/the-apple-game-system-that-failed-early-in-the-console-wars/
  • Museum Of Failure Available here: https://collection.museumoffailure.com/apple-pippin/
  • Techno Buffalo Available here: https://www.technobuffalo.com/apples-failed-gaming-console-the-pippin
  • Business Insider Available here: https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-made-a-games-console-called-pippin-in-1996-2017-6
  • Silicon Republic Available here: https://www.siliconrepublic.com/play/apple-pippin-console-fail