History of the Dreamcast

Matt Barton's picture

There's a great history piece up at Gamasutra on the history of the Dreamcast. It has lots of quotations from interviews with key people and is well worth checking out. It's always fascinating to think of "what might have been" if certain decisions had gone the other way.

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Bill Loguidice
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I still maintain that there

I still maintain that there was nothing that could have been done to change the fortunes of the Dreamcast or Sega itself during that era because the company was already financially damaged beyond repair (or a miracle) well before that. Past decisions/indiscretions/mistakes would have had to been fixed well before the Dreamcast's release.

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Catatonic
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Exactly how bad a shape was

Exactly how bad a shape was Sega in? Was everything after the Genesis a financial disaster? (Game Gear, 32X, etc)

Bill Loguidice
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We'd need to find the exact financial figures
Catatonic wrote:

Exactly how bad a shape was Sega in? Was everything after the Genesis a financial disaster? (Game Gear, 32X, etc)

I'm going to be lazy and not do the research to find the exact figures, but it's my understanding that they did fine with the Genesis and Game Gear, but everything else, Sega CD, 32X, Pico, Saturn, etc., was pretty much a losing battle all things told, causing Sega to have negative financials (massive debt). They also had variable success depending upon territory. Even though Sega products sold longer in Japan, it's my understanding that Sega stuff sold better in North America, Europe and South America than it did in Japan. The Dreamcast, much like the Jaguar for Atari, was a last ditch effort to give it one last go and see if a miracle happened. The Dreamcast sold well in the US, but between lack of backing from EA and Sega Japan's apparent squeamishness to continue, there was really nothing that could be done, particularly once the PS2 hit in 2001. It would have been a losing battle at that point anyway, as the 140+ million worldwide sales of the PS2 to date attest.

Naturally you can't have a modern console without a strong company backing it. It's a worldwide, cutthroat business that requires deep pockets. That's why the Apples, Microsofts, Nintendos and Sonys are the only ones in the game today.

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Matt Barton
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The article has many

The article has many viewpoints, but the most logical one (to me, at least) is that the DC failed because there wasn't enough money to properly market the thing. If they had deeper pockets, it might well have thrived and Sega might still be a contender in the console market today. There were other factors, of course, such as the loss of EA's support, the stained legacy of the Saturn, and the general excitement that Microsoft was about to release a new platform. Plus, everyone seemed to know that Sega was doing badly and didn't much faith (or their hard-earned dollars!) into the platform.

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Bill Loguidice
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Disagree about the Microsoft thing
Matt Barton wrote:

The article has many viewpoints, but the most logical one (to me, at least) is that the DC failed because there wasn't enough money to properly market the thing. If they had deeper pockets, it might well have thrived and Sega might still be a contender in the console market today. There were other factors, of course, such as the loss of EA's support, the stained legacy of the Saturn, and the general excitement that Microsoft was about to release a new platform. Plus, everyone seemed to know that Sega was doing badly and didn't much faith (or their hard-earned dollars!) into the platform.

Well, you can nix the Microsoft thing right there as far as I'm concerned. I remember very clearly that being a non-factor (and let's remember, Microsoft was a Sega partner in the Dreamcast, providing one of the two operating systems). By the time of the Xbox's pending release, the Dreamcast was already discontinued. What doomed the Dreamcast was the pending release of the PS2. In Japan, they jumped on the PS2 because of the DVD playback capabilities (since DVD player penetration was not like it was here) and players in the US were waiting because it was hyped as the ultimate game machine. Of course the PS2's launch was rather pathetic, with jaggy games that often looked WORSE than their Dreamcast counterparts, but the damage had already been done. Ironically the Dreamcast, despite being released years earlier, could have been competitive with the PS2 technologically speaking for at least the first two years of that system's life, before it's "powers" were truly tapped.

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Bill Loguidice
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Great Gamasutra article on

Great Gamasutra article on the EA thing, the Dreamcast's chipset and Sega's financial issues: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4128/the_rise_and_fall_of_the_drea...

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Matt Barton
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uhmmm....rtfa!! lol

uhmmm....rtfa!! lol

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Bill Loguidice
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Wrong link!
Matt Barton wrote:

uhmmm....rtfa!! lol

Oops! ;-)

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Matt Barton
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This is a classic!

This is a classic!

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Mark Vergeer
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Did a three part thing on Youtube...

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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