The Odyssey in France


In France, the first press articles advertising a video game system appeared in December 1973. They mentioned a system called Odyssée (the french translation of Odyssey) manufactured by ITT Océanic and Schaub-Lorenz, to be released during the first semester of 1974. Sadly, this never happened. Else, it would have probably been translated to French like the German ITT version. It is tempting to consider that the low success of the German ITT version killed the french ITT Odyssée project. As a matter of fact, the 1974 Export Version quickly replaced the expensive ITT version in Germany and only one 1974 Export specimen has been found in France.

The following advertisment dates December 1973. It is the very first advertisement for a video game in France. The amazing description uses early terms to describe the system: luminescent spots for the players, generator for the system (which indeed generated pictures), and mini command desks for the controllers.



The next advertisement explains the features of the video game, which was very new in France in 1974. Three reasons explain why Odyssey wasn't successfull in France. First of all, video game systems were almost unknown by people since they were just appearing there, so few people were convinced to buy it. Secondly, the game was extremely expensive (because of the US retail price and the export costs). Finally, a game without french text couldn't really attract many people. Still, Odyssey was the first home video game sold in France. The number of units sold is still unknown, but it is certainly very small.

Last point: the original retail price of the "french" Odyssey remains unknown, though somebody wrote "890F les 10 jeux" on the back side of the advert below, meaning 890 francs for the system and its 10 games. Such an expensive price could well be the original price.



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