I know that every year there are still at least a couple of new games for old systems like VIC-20, C64, Amiga, different ZX Spectrum and Amstrad variants, DOS, different games consoles, and so on, some of them even commercial. Is there any data about the market share of modern games for retro machines? Said with other words, for which vintage systems a new game will have the biggest audience?

This might be related to the total amount of units of each system sold, but I think that it is not mandatory to be in a such way. It is possible some systems produced in greater numbers to be not as suitable for games like other systems produced in lower numbers. The existence of emulators also may change the things, by making the numbers of the real system not so important as its actual capabilities. Another factor which I think that have to be considered is the eventual legal issues of distributing a game for an old system if the company which owns it still exists.

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    It will be hard to say, because it will vary greatly from region to region. For example, ZX Spectrum is the most popular in the UK and in the former USSR; while the TRS-80 is virtually unheard of in these regions. And then those 6809 based Thompsons are well known in France, but not anywhere else. The further back in computer history you go, the more localised the markets are. So now you're comparing BBC Micros to Super Nintendos, you're not comparing not Apple 1's to Apple 1's. Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 12:43
  • There's 0 market share for any of these old systems, since no one is buying new games for them. You might try to analyze the sales of used games on a place like EBay, but that won't necessary reflect what systems are actually being used. What I would recommend is just making a game for whatever platform can best realize the design you want, has good development tools and emulators available, and one that you have the hardware to actually test your game. Regardless of "market share" you'll have a hard time convincing people to play your game, so only do this for the fun of making the game.
    – user722
    Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 16:34
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    @bobeff I'm pretty sure there's no legal way (at least in most proper legislations) to actively discourage you from developing something new for any platform.
    – tofro
    Commented Aug 23, 2020 at 11:14
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    @bobeff I can as well not see a legal way to prevent someone sell a cartridge (or disk or EPROM or any other medium) that fits into your console (or PC, whatever). If this were possible, Freezer Cartridges or hombrew flashable cartridges (or C64 disks or ZX Spectrum Cassettes) were long forbidden.
    – tofro
    Commented Aug 23, 2020 at 20:17
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    @bobeff I assume that would be the digital signatures that modern consoles verifiy making it prohibitive to sell something that will work in an un-modded console. Stuff like SNES CIC chips have been reverse-engineered. (That said, there's still the DMCA bit about circumvention of protection measures that I imagine would allow them to go after you for anything NES or newer if they felt it was worth the legal fees.)
    – ssokolow
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 1:08


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