At a press conference on Thursday in Japan, Sega announced that it will launch its next console, called "Dreamcast," on November 20 in Japan.
The price of the console is still to be decided. But Sega's president Syouichirou Irimajiri mentioned that it will be between 20,000 to 30,000 yen (roughly US$150-$225) in his Dreamcast presentation, and there will be five titles available at launch. Exactly which five titles is still to be determined, but one can surmise that Virtua Fighter 3, Super GT, D2, and Sega Rally 2 are likely candidates.
The new console has a built-in 33.6Kbps modem to allow access to the Internet or network games. According to a press release issued by Sega, it can produce three million polygons per second (courtesy of the latest PowerVR2 graphics accelerator) with a rich 1,677 million colors. Additionally, the new console has 64-channel ADPCM capability (Yamaha Super Intelligent Sound Chip). The games will be stored on CD-ROM, and the system uses a MAX 12x CD-ROM drive.
The Dreamcast's controller looks similar to Saturn's 3D controller. It has both analog and digital pads on the left-hand side and four (blue, red, green, and yellow) buttons on the right, with a start button in the middle.
Most interestingly, the controller has a slot on the top and a square-shaped "window" in the middle of it. The slot can be connected to a PDA that will be available separately from the console.
The PDA is based on an idea similar to Sony's. It can be played alone, or it can be connected to the system's controller for use as a 128KB memory card. Its LCD (48x32 dot monochrome) can be seen from the controller's square-shaped "window," so it can be utilized for Dreamcast games like card or sports sims in which the player doesn't want to reveal his strategy to his opponent.
It also has a calendar feature. This PDA, called Visual Memory, will be available on July 11 in movie theaters at a price of under 2,500 yen (roughly $19). This particular PDA will have a game called Atsumete Godzilla: Kaijuu Daizukan. The game is a tie-in to the new Godzilla movie that just opened in the States but will open in July in Japan. In it, you raise monsters and battle with your friends, much like Bandai's DigiMon or Nintendo's Pokemon.
Two PDAs can also be connected to transfer data or battle monsters or to play other games.
We'll have more on Dreamcast later today, after Sega of America's press conference, and a detailed account of the conference in Japan.