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Happy 10th Birthday, Sega Dreamcast

| 9 Sep 2009 18:00

Ten years ago, Sega launched the Dreamcast in North America - and though that song has ended, former Sega of America boss Peter Moore looks back on the console and reflects on all the good times (and the not-so-good).

Peter Moore may be the boss of EA Sports right now, but way back in the mists of time he was large and in charge at Sega of America. Ten years ago today, the Dreamcast hit North America, and would go on to ... well, to not do quite as well as Sega was hoping. In fact the Dreamcast marked the end of Sega's reign as a console maker, as they bowed out to leave the generation to Sony, Nintendo, and eventually Microsoft.

Few individuals have the perspective on the rise and fall of the Dreamcast - from its launch as the harbinger of online gaming on consoles to the decision made to discontinue development - as Peter Moore, and so his blog post on the subject is actually a rather fascinating read. What went wrong for the Dreamcast? Would EA's refusal to make games for the system be prophetic?

Moore also offers an insider's look at the death of the Dreamcast:

Allow me this forum to correct one misconception about the final days of the Dreamcast. As we emerged from the Christmas selling season of 2000 and collated the sales data in the following January, it was evident that we were falling short of the critical mass target we had set ourselves for continued investment (read: ongoing losses) in the hardware business. Sega of Japan had rightly set sales goals for the North American market for that critical period, and as strong as our numbers were, they fell short of where we needed to be to continue. The decision was made, from Japan, to pull the plug and begin the transition to becoming a multi-platform third party developer and publisher. We at SOA, while disappointed, were in full agreement that this was the only real course of action, and it was with a heavy heart that I hosted the conference call on January 31st, 2001, announcing that Sega was ceasing manufacturing of the Dreamcast console. The call on the decision was made by SOJ. The conference call to announce the decision was conducted by SOA.

Whatever the console's ultimate fate, it is beloved by many - not only for games like Soul Calibur, Shenmue, and Rez, but for being the first console to really take tentative steps into the online scene. The Xbox Live and PSN of today wouldn't exist without the Dreamcast's dinky little 56k connection.

So happy birthday, Dreamcast. We salute you. I suppose there's always the chance that Sega could use the anniversary to announce the Dreamcast 2, but... well, let's be realistic for a bit, shall we?

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