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Sega Dreamcast: A Brief History


8BitRat
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Sega Dreamcast: You Are Now Entering Chapter Three

 

   Sega took a step into the future with the Sega Dreamcast, the first of the series of sixth generation video game consoles.  This console preceded other big sixth generation names such as Sony’s PlayStation 2, Nintendo’s GameCube, and Microsoft’s Xbox.  The Dreamcast was also the last console sold by Sega, ending 18 years of Sega’s presence in the market.

   As a strategy to answer the issue of expensive hardware in the Sega Saturn, the Dreamcast was meant to reduce costs with cheaper components.  While the Dreamcast was not received with enthusiasm in Japan, it enjoyed great success in the U.S. largely thanks to a vast marketing campaign.  However, as Sony began building hype for the upcoming PlayStation 2, interest in the Sega Dreamcast quickly declined.  The Dreamcast was discontinued in 2001 and Sega withdrew from the console business, launching itself instead as a third-party publisher.  Despite the Dreamcast’s poor reception, it was widely regarded as very impressive and ahead of its time.  In addition to other features, the Dreamcast was the first console to include a built in modem for internet support and online play.

   Preceding the launch of the Dreamcast was a big disappointment in the sales of the Sega Saturn.  In fact, Sega took a massive 75% drop in half-year profits due to its failure, and that was right before the Dreamcast would be launched.  Regardless, Sega was confident in the ability of the Dreamcast to perform well, and indeed, it was attracting much attention and pre-orders.

   Anticipating the arrival of Sony’s PlayStation 2, Sega made a goal to sell over 1 million units before February 1999, but they sold less than 900,000.  It was reported that many Japanese customers attended to return their Dreamcast’s in order to use the refund to purchase a PlayStation 2.  Once again, Sega had missed the mark as far as the timing of entrance into the market goes.  The first majorly successful game for the Dreamcast in Japan appeared in July of 1999, and it was called Seaman.  (Why this weird game with a human headed fish was so popular still puzzles me)

   Other pitfalls and mistakes had already been made by the release of the Dreamcast, and other unfortunate events followed.  Retailers in the United States were already sour with Sega due to the early release of the Sega Saturn.  Additionally, EA announced, just prior to the release of the Dreamcast, that it would not help develop games for Sega.  Though the system had initial momentum in the market, the Sony PlayStation quickly overtook the marketing narrative and stunted sales.  Sega fell well short of their sales goals.   On May 22, 2000, Okawa became the new President of Sega, and he advocated Sega’s exit of the console market.  Sega discontinued the Dreamcast, and also their involvement in the home console market, in 2001, and the company became a third party developer.

~Vic

 

Sega Dreamcast - Model: HKT-3020

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: 1998

   Original Release - While they didn’t change the model number, after 2000, Sega changed a few minor things about the Dreamcast.  A new cooling fan was added as well as a different CD Drive.  In the US, because the Dreamcast was only manufactured for 2 years, this was the only version released, other than the cosmetically different special edition models.

 

  • Unit Lifetime:  1998 - 2001
  • Units Sold (Worldwide):  10 Million
  • Authorized Games Released (Worldwide):  638
  • Backwards Compatibility:  N/A
  • Media Type:  GD-ROM
  • Resolution:  704 x 512
  • Colors Available:  16.7 Million
  • Colors on Screen:  32,000
  • Sound Output (All Models):  32-Channel PCM, 8-Channel Stereo
  • Power Requirements (All Models):  AC 120v

(If you see anything incorrect or that you want added, feel free to comment below and the posting will be edited to reflect the corrections.)

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