Despite being ahead of its time when it was unveiled in 1985, the Commodore Amiga didn’t survive past 1996. The machine, which went up against with the likes of the IBM PC and the Macintosh, offered far superior hardware than its competitors. But it just wasn’t enough, as this video from Ahoy’s Stuart Brown explains.
While the Amiga had other 16-bit computers beat on technology, it didn’t really have anything compelling to with that hardware:
With 4096 colours, 4 channels of digital audio, and preemptive multitasking, [the Amiga] was capable of incredible things for the time.
Software was perhaps the most critical at this early stage — the vital ‘killer app’. IBM had Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect: The Macintosh had Pagemaker; The Amiga had nothing.
Still, the Amiga had enough support from consumers to sell over the years, with the stripped-back Amiga 500 doing particularly well. Video games did well on the platform, thanks to its technical edge.
Interesting, the Amiga did find its calling video production and 3D, becoming a “production powerhouse”:
…at the 1987 World of Commodore show Newtek announced a very important piece of hardware called the Video Toaster. It wouldn’t release until 1990, but alongside Lightwave 3D, it would turn the Amiga into a production powerhouse — outperforming systems ten times the cost.
This might have kept the Amiga plugging away for a few years longer, unfortunately, internal struggles within Commodore would signal the beginning of the end.