Pioneer, a company that specializes in digital entertainment products was founded by Nozomu Matsumoto in 1938. Over the years, the company produced a number of electronics such as radio, DVD players, LaserDisc Player, Karaoke players, etc.
At the beginning of the nineties, Pioneer decided to release a high end Laser Disc system that could do it all : play Laser Disc, CD,Video Games and Karaoke Disc. As Pioneer had no experience with video games, they approached prominent video game companies to make a partnership. Pioneer would produce add-on to his player that would allow games from different system to be played with their original media, but would also allow the release of new games for these systems using Laser Disc as their format. Laser Disc had a capacity of 540 MB which was 10x-20x bigger than their normal cartridge format. This was ideal for games with video cut scene.
Pioneer managed to make a deal with both Sega and NEC to port their consoles to their system.
Released on August 20, 1993, the Laser Active was generally well received by the critics.
The modular nature of the system was both it greatest quality and worst flaw. Having a unique system combining all your entertainment need was advantage. The problem lied in the price of the PAC. The video game PACs were 2x-3x the price of the standard console which makes them very unattractive. Only a few games were released in the LD format and almost none of them were memorable. Without, the PAC, the console itself was only a glorify and very expensive Laser Disc player. In the end, the device felt short of delivering exclusive content that could justify the very high price tag.
- Mega LD PAC: Allow to play Mega LD discs, standard Sega CD discs, CD+G discs and Genesis cartridges. US $600.
- LD-ROM² PAC: Allow to play 8-inch and 12-inch LaserActive LD-ROM² discs, as well as CD-ROM² and Super CD-ROM² discs, HuCards and CD+G discs. The Japanese version of the PAC can also run Arcade CD-ROM² discs through the use of an Arcade Card Duo. US $600.
- Karaoke PAC: Allow to play LaserKaraoke titles. US $350.
- Computer Interface PAC: Allow to connect the LaserActive to a computer
- LaserActive 3-D Goggles : The 3-D Goggles allows to play the followin games in 3D: Museum (1994), Vajra 2 (1994), Virtual Cameraman 2 (1994) and 3D Virtual Australia (1996). The goggles are also compatible with the Sega Master System, and are interchangeable with the SegaScope 3-D Glasses.