Why Did the SEGA Dreamcast Fail?

The Sega Dreamcast was one of the most anticipated video game systems of the late 1990s. While Sega did initially have a setback with its previous Saturn system, the success of the Dreamcast was much anticipated based on Sega’s previous record of success.

In fact, the Dreamcast itself was widely hailed as being ahead of its time when released. It was the first 128 bit video game system on the market at the time. The graphics, speed and overall enjoyment of this video game console was nearly universal when reviewed against its competitors. Plus, many new games systems were released on the Dreamcast format, including Shenmue which turned out to be the most expensive in at the time.

However, the Dreamcast itself turned out to be a disaster for Sega with meager sales. The Dreamcast turned out to be the last home console unit that Sega has produced as today the company focuses on developing software for other systems.

So, why after all the hype and promise did the Sega Dreamcast video system fail? There are actually a number of reasons why this unit failed to deliver. Individually, each stumbling block might have been overcome, but together they were enough to doom this video console into the dustbin of history.

Mounting Debt

If there was any one particular reason for the failure of the Sega Dreamcast, it was the large debt that Sega had built up over the preceding years that didn’t allow it to fully advertise and market the new Dreamcast. The debt issue was only compounded when the Dreamcast was released as the company could not recoup its losses.

The Failure of the Sega Saturn

The previous Sega Saturn did not please many of the US customers and placed Sega in a difficult position with them. Although many of the hardcore gamers were ready to embrace the Sega Dreamcast, most in the US were looking towards other game companies at the time.

No Support from EA

Electronic Arts had created some massively popular sports games, including the famed Madden series. However, the processor that the Sega Dreamcast utilized was something that EA had disagreed with, therefore they did not create any of their fabled sports game series for that particular system.

The Playstation 2

Sony’s PS2 was probably the first nail in the coffin for the Sega Dreamcast. The PS2 featured a DVD player which was very attractive towards many US customers. Although it could be argued that the Sega Dreamcast was an overall better system, the introduction of the PS2 cut heavily into the sales potential of the Dreamcast.

The Introduction of the Xbox and GameCube

As if the PS2 wasn’t enough competition, the addition of the Xbox and GameCube pretty much forced the Sega Dreamcast from the marketplace. Despite the overwhelming number of video game players in the world, there simply were not enough to support four major game systems.

Sega saw the writing on the wall and by 2001 had withdrawn the Dreamcast. Today, it is now a curiosity which has people who did not live through that time begging the question of why it did not succeed.

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