Sierra Resolves Issue on Disk Formats

By John Williams


In the beginning, when only the Atari 520ST was offered in the U.S. market, all Atari STs featured a single-sided 3.5" drive. It was a simple decision for software publishers that they should ship all their products in the 720K format. Now, just a few years later, Atari 520ST sales are a small part of the ST market, and software publishers are eager to make use of the higher capacity drives installed in the numerous 1040 MegaSTs in the U.S. Not only would taking advantage of these 1.44MB drives mean that publishers could put fewer disks in each package (which would reduce the cost of each software package), but would also eliminate the common ST user complaint of having to "switch disks" so often during a game.

The downside of this is that if the publisher shipped his data on disks written on both sides, single-sided disk users would have no use for the publishers software (Did you follow that?). How do you walk away from the roughly 15% of the Atari audience that only owns single-sided disk drives?

In order to give dual-sided Atari ST disk drive owners the added service they deserve, and still provide software that single-sided disk owners can use, Sierra has decided to provide its SCI line of products in both single and dual-sided format. Both disk formats will be packaged and offered to retailers (who will make the ultimate decision on which format to stock). The single-sided version, which will contain roughly twice as many disks as the dual-sided verssion, will carry a retail price of $10 more at retail. For instance, in a product like King's Quest IV, the $10 will help offset the cost of the four extra 3.5" disks necessary for the single-sided version.

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