This month is the 20th Anniversary since the Sega Dreamcast was released in North America on September 9th 1999 and UK/Europe got their hands on the Dreamcast a month later on October 14th which wasn't too long on the waiting. With both the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and the SNES dominating the sales in the 4th Generation of Gaming, Sega wanted to dominate the console market, but after the poor sales of the Sega Saturn in the 5th Generation of Gaming and wanting to compete with Nintendo and their new rival Sony with the PlayStation. Sega tried to launch the console as part of a comeback after its previous efforts with the Sega Saturn and the other devices they released like the Sega CD and 32X failed. With a strong marketing campaign and reformed studios to develop new creative content, the Dreamcast was initially well received with a very successful launch and strong sales during its launch during the 6th Generation of Gaming.
The Dreamcast might have had a short lifespan saying it was widely hailed as ahead of its time. It saw the release of many new game series, which have been considered creative and innovative such as Jet Set Radio, Space Channel 5, Soul Calibur, Crazy Taxi and Power Stone. Sonic Adventure was the first game to be launched from the system and also one of the bestsellers selling over 2.5 million copies worldwide.
Before online gaming became more and more popular after 2002 for both Xbox and PS2, Dreamcast was the first console to have online support for Multiplayer gaming, Online Ranking and downloading Extra Content this was a great idea, but it didn't get many people's attention, however, certain titles like Phantasy Star Online was one of those titles that had a strong Online Multiplayer support, although the last official server was shut down as late as 2007, multiple unofficial servers exist to allow the online multiplayer to continue.
One of the most expensive games to be released on the Dreamcast was Shenmue, but with poor game sales, it cost an unprecedented $70 million to be developed, it would have had to be purchased twice by every single Dreamcast owner in order for Sega to turn a profit. The $70 million investment presumably included the budget for the resources for additional sequels which later got a release on the Xbox. The Sega Saturn version included the plot of both the first and second games at the very least, and although the full extent may never be known, a significant portion of the budget quoted for Shenmue was used on resources for future chapters, and the characters, plot and environments/gameplay of at least the entire second game existed in rough form before the first game was released. The Shenmue franchise is still being talked about today, especially with both Shenmue games now being ported on both PS4 and Xbox as remastered titles and a third game on the way which long time fans have been waiting a very long time for a new title even around E3 2015 no one saw it coming and a lot of people were hyped about the next game in the Shenmue franchise.
We also know that Ryo Hazuki was a playable character in both Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed; when looking at the Yakuza franchise, you could easily compare that series to the Shenmue franchise because a few fans and gamers can easily notice that this is where Sega got the inspiration ideas for the Yakuza franchise which became a commercial success on the PlayStation worldwide.
Going back to the sales of the Dreamcast, Sony announced the PlayStation 2, sales of the Dreamcast quickly plummeted, due in no small part to the console's inability to support movies and TV shows on DVD. Sega later came to the realization that it did not have the financial resources to compete. The company discontinued the Dreamcast in North America early in March 2001 withdrawing from the console hardware business altogether and restructuring itself as a third-party developer for the likes of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.
If Sega could turn back the clocks on this and thought of adding DVD support for it might have survived for a few more years. I do remember a few I knew in school talking about the Dreamcast and would have considered asking for one for Christmas as I much loved my Sega Mega Drive for what it was, but however the PlayStation has always been the popular one in schools with games like Crash Bandicoot, Final Fantasy VII and Gran Turismo. No wonder people in my school and anywhere else didn't talk about the Dreamcast or thought about owning one. And with the PS2 being launched on November 2000 a lot of people I knew were considering on getting one at one point during that time between 2000-2004 and towards the end of 2001 the Dreamcast was no longer in production and retailers selling it at a low price trying to get rid of stock. I wouldn't mind Sega making a return to consoles one with Sega releasing the Mega Drive / Genesis mini console this month this will make a few gamers and even myself curious to see if this mini console will be a success or not and could hold up with Nintendo on their mini consoles, both the NES and SNES; if it does manage to be a success the odds of a Dreamcast mini console could happen if we are lucky.
Do you still own a Sega Dreamcast? Have any favourite games for the console?
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