The Sega Dreamcast (inception date: 1998)
The Dreamcast was a home video game console released by Sega on November 27, 1998 in Japan, September 9, 1999 in North America, and October 14, 1999 in Europe. It was the first in the sixth generation of video game consoles, preceding Sony’s PlayStation 2, Nintendo’s GameCube and Microsoft’s Xbox. The Dreamcast was Sega’s last home console they ever made.
In contrast to the expensive hardware of the unsuccessful Sega Saturn, the Dreamcast was designed to reduce costs with “off-the-shelf” components, including a Hitachi SH-4 CPU and an NEC PowerVR2 GPU. Released in Japan to a subdued reception, the Dreamcast enjoyed a successful U.S. launch backed by a large marketing campaign, but interest in the system steadily declined as Sony built hype for the upcoming PlayStation 2. Sales did not meet Sega’s expectations despite several price cuts, and the company continued to incur significant financial losses. After a change in leadership, Sega discontinued the Dreamcast on March 31, 2001, withdrawing from the console business and restructuring itself as a third-party publisher. 9.13 million Dreamcast units were sold worldwide.
Although the Dreamcast had a short lifespan and limited third-party support, reviewers have considered the console ahead of its time. Its library contains many games considered creative and innovative, including Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio and Shenmue, as well as high-quality ports from Sega’s NAOMI arcade system board. The Dreamcast was also the first console to include a built-in modem for Internet support and online play.
The Sega Dreamcast was a video game console that was ahead of its time. It could have been a more popular system if there were more good games published for it. After Sega made the Dreamcast system, it then became a video game software publisher. Today, Sega continues to make video games for different platforms such as Nintendo Wii/Wii-U/3DS, Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and mobile platforms such as iOS and Android. They have amassed an impressive library of video games published since the Dreamcast console was released. That is the short history of the Sega Dreamcast video game system.