Sega of America President and COO Bernie Stolar addressed the media today in a 20-minute telephone press conference. In it, he reiterated Sega's commitment to making the Dreamcast a successful platform, described his current positive dealings with several nationwide retailers, and responded to Sony's PlayStation 2 announcements.
By now, we've heard the speech about how Sega is back and committed to making the Dreamcast the best gaming platform in the business. But with just six months away, that's all we've heard. The speech, by the way, goes like this: Sega will have a fantastic launch, plenty of games from third parties, and a successful marketing strategy (which we are told will be revealed in further detail come GDC later this month and E3 in May). Still no word on release date (September's the rumor) or price (US$199.99 is the current estimate).
According to Stolar, Babbage's has logged 7,000 preorders for the Dreamcast, and Electronics Boutique has raked in 4,000 - a total of 11,000 paid preorders. That many won't make a successful system, but it's a nice start. Granted, Sega has not begun a strong preorder campaign, but instead Stolar could have mentioned that Babbage's alone anticipates 75,000 preorders for launch.
Stolar says that Sega will begin ramping up marketing efforts in mid-April, and that the Dreamcast will have DVD, but only when the marketplace is "ready." Dreamcast will evolve with new technologies as they become available, he said. And Stolar compared the Dreamcast to more of a "living system," one that's able to incorporate better technology as it's available.
Responding to Sony's announcements earlier this week, Stolar said "On paper, Sony's machine sounds impressive. But the fact is, it's still on paper. Sega Dreamcast is here now. Frankly, Sony really has their work cut out for them. Creating a machine with the specs they unveiled on Tuesday and supporting it with a strong lineup of games with a launch just a year away will be a challenge. While Sony is working to create that hardware, Sega will already be in the marketplace with Dreamcast building our installed base and developing an impressive library of games."
According to Stolar, while Sony seems to be targeting its next system at set-top box users (something Sony has tried to distance itself from in this week's announcements), while Sega is targeting the video game consumer, giving them the best bang for the buck.