The Dreamcast bleem! utility, announced at the recently concluded E3 show, has garnered plenty of interest from all parties - Sony, Sega, and gamers alike. We recently had the opportunity to interview Sean Kauppinen, director of marketing at bleem!, about the bleemcast utility. Herein, he talks about the expected enhancements of the PlayStation games, compatibility issues, Sony's outstanding lawsuits, and more.
GameSpot: First the obvious details, for our readers who may have missed the E3 announcement, how much will the Dreamcast bleem! utilities retail for?
Sean: Each pak will have a suggested retail price of US$19.99.
GameSpot: When will the first "pak" of games be available?
Sean: Sometime in early July.
GameSpot: What major games can we expect to see on the first two bleempaks?
Sean: We aren't disclosing titles until mid/late June, but we will include popular titles in each of the paks.
.GameSpot: What will determine how the games are arranged within a particular pak? Compatibility? Genre? Popularity?
Sean: The titles will be a mix across genres. Every game will be 100 percent compatible, or it won't make it onto the disc.
GameSpot: When a game is supported, will it work regardless of which version you're running? For instance, if Gran Turismo 2 is supported, will that mean that both the US and Japanese versions will run?
Sean: We are working on support for imports, that may be released as an import-specific version of the product.
GameSpot: Will peripherals like the light guns, dance pads, and guitars work with the bleempod?
Sean: Yes, they will.
GameSpot: Will games load faster on bleemcast than they would on the PlayStation?
Sean: Load times may be faster or slower depending on the game, but the look and feel of the games on the Dreamcast is what users will really notice.
GameSpot: What are some of the major graphical enhancement, technically, gamers can expect to see using the bleemcast?
Sean: First is the enhancement from 320 by 240 resolution to 640 by 480 on the Dreamcast. We're also using anti-aliasing and bi-linear filtering. The result is some awesome looking PlayStation games that look like they were made for the Dreamcast.
GameSpot: Will the force feedback features of the dual shock controller work with bleemcast and the bleempod?
GameSpot: Will it be possible to download PlayStation game saves to your VMU from sites using the Dreamcast's online capabilities?
Sean: Interesting question. We're looking into what adding this capability would entail, but we do not plan to add it to the product at this time.
GameSpot: Considering the current, outstanding lawsuits by Sony against bleem!, what is your strategy in dealing with legal action from the company, as it particularly pertains to the Dreamcast bleem! utility?
Sean: We'll be defending ourselves with Jon Hangartner, our star attorney, who has successfully defended us against the legions of Sony lawyers and all of their attempts to stop us.
GameSpot: Naturally, Dreamcast emulation, involving a directly competing console, will invoke a different layer of interest from Sony than PC emulation of PlayStation games.
Sean: Just so you have the full picture on the case, our bleem! for Dreamcast demonstration at E3 began at 1:30PM, on May 11, and Sony filed a patent lawsuit on May 12 - it's probably not entirely a coincidence. Again, Sony sees a new product that threatens its grip on the PlayStation after-market, and they respond with a lawsuit.
Defending the suit will cost us lots and lots of money, which is really the point of it all. This patent lawsuit is more of the same -- Sony wants total control over how people play their PlayStation games. Now that it's clear that their first lawsuit is a loser, Sony has come with another anti-competitive lawsuit. Sony understands that every dollar of ours that goes to lawyers is a dollar that doesn't go into product R& D and promotion.
GameSpot: Switching gears, how long has this bleemcast! project been in development, especially considering that the US version of the Dreamcast console has only been out barely nine months?
Sean: Actual development started late last year, well after the Dreamcast was out.
GameSpot: How many PlayStation game paks do you ultimately plan to release for the bleem! Cast peripheral?
Sean: There are four planned for the initial release. We may add more in the future.
GameSpot: Will it be an ongoing thing based on PlayStation game releases?
Sean: There are a lot of directions we can take the product. It may make sense for us to make single game versions for new games after the initial four paks. We'll just have to wait and see.
GameSpot thanks Sean Kauppinen for his time, and we will continue to follow further developments on this story.