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Hardware, Online & Pirating... plagued the Dreamcast. Why haven't they plagued the SWITCH?

I love Nintendo and the Switch, which is why I'm so critical about it. Could I be comparing apples and oranges here? Or does it seem as though the things that plagued the Dreamcast are also plaguing the Switch today? If you are the majority of consumer, you don't see this, if you are the minority, we justify it.

Hardware.

Both consoles come from an extremely poor predecessor, the Sega Saturn and Wii U. The Saturn was expensive in its respected generation and the Wii U's had lack of 3rd party support and an unconventional controller. Many Wii U loyalist combatively blame other reasons (I'm was one of them too) why the Wii U failed.

The Dreamcast was ousted by the PlayStation 2 and Xbox's games and graphics. Today, we see PC hardware take an interesting turn in gaming as they have become smaller, portable and handheld, The UMPC. Both the SNES mini and Switch have caused a sort of Pandora's box in creating Emulation handhelds and Handheld PCs.

Online.

When talking about the Dreamcast, the entire gaming industry have universally said the Dreamcast was before its time. (Though sarcastically, when would have been the right time given that Xbox would release 2 years after?)
The Switch, on the other hand, has poor Online service for a premium price.

On the subject of Switch Online, I feel Iwata, if he was still alive today, would have had a different approach to Nintendo Online.

Pirating.

Because the Dreamcast used CD-ROM as opposed to its rival the PlayStation 2's DVD ROM, it suffered with game pirating crippling game sale, the final nail in its fate. Today, The Switch has been pirated, home-brewed all the way down to the Operating System Level, quicker than any Nintendo console before it. Not only have games been ported to PC, but the entire Switch OS can be emulated. All of this before the Switch gets an official successor.

Both the Dreamcast and Switch are from different generations and different times. The dreamcast had cult classic games, but suffered from timing being between a fast, changing market. The Switch in a way is suffering in silent given its popularity.

You and I know we can't really compare Switch to PCs even when PC now can emulate the Switch 1:1 So with that, would things be a lot different for Switch then if Sony and Microsoft had handhelds?
 
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Ezquimacore

Member
Any question you have about switch's success have the same answers:

1.Nintendo handheld
2.Mario kart
3.Super Mario
4.Animal Crossing
5.Zelda
6.Pokemon
 

nush

Gold Member
Why not make a reasonable comparison with the DS and the Switch. Dreamcast, Playstation 2 have nothing to do with the Switch.
 

SomeGit

Member
Because unlike Sega, Nintendo wasn't deep in the red. Yes the Wii U failed, but they had the 3DS to get revenue from and a big bank account from the previous generations with the DS, GBA and Wii.

Sega had pretty much no incoming revenue by 2000, the Saturn was the only console in production and wasn't selling well or really at all outside of Japan, Game Gear and Genesis were killed in 1996 and the Arcade industry was taking a nosedive. So Nintendo was able to hold more than Sega was able to.

Plus the Switch not only didn't launch along side a console with the same level of hype as the PS2, the PS4 had launched 3 year earlier so even it's monumental hype had already faded, it offered a concept that the PS4 simply didn't had in its portability. While the Dreamcast was just an home console, like the PS2 and was eclipsed by the monumental hype the PS2 had.

Then you add Nintendo's rabid fanbase which was always bigger than Sega, especially on portables. Nintendo franchises, specially something like BOTW as its launch title, the massive massive popularity of Pokemon, Smash, Mario, etc. It's on another level compared to Sega, as much as I like them they aren't as popular.
 
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ReBurn

Gold Member
Have you seen all of the people talking about how Steam Deck is a better Switch and how they're going to play Switch games there instead? I've seen a few folks get banned from here for it. People are pirating Switch games like crazy. The difference is that most first party Switch games are actually worth buying.
 
I would strongly disagree about the Switch being a console vulnerable to hacking. 3DS and Wii U are now easily hacked, but Switch hacking is still not for the beginner. You need an early version console, be willing to physically modify it, and/or risk console bans. At this point the Switch is far less vulnerable than basically any previous Nintendo system.

Per the switch homebrew site:
If your Switch is patched and running a higher firmware version, unfortunately your Switch cannot be hacked right now.

Most Switches in use are either a patched model OR have a firmware higher than necessary. This might change in the future, but so far I have to give Nintendo props for being the hardest console to mod. (Which I am bummed about because I love hacking my systems!)
 
I would strongly disagree about the Switch being a console vulnerable to hacking. 3DS and Wii U are now easily hacked, but Switch hacking is still not for the beginner. You need an early version console, be willing to physically modify it, and/or risk console bans. At this point the Switch is far less vulnerable than basically any previous Nintendo system.

Per the switch homebrew site:


Most Switches in use are either a patched model OR have a firmware higher than necessary. This might change in the future, but so far I have to give Nintendo props for being the hardest console to mod. (Which I am bummed about because I love hacking my systems!)

But doesn't the fact that hacking is both possible to begin with and you yourself admitting to hacking, pave the way to the Switch being fully homebrewed well before a successor system arrived and making hombrew a common place for Nintendo platform?

Obviously the majority of switch owners wouldn't do it. but if the minority of switch owners continue to make it easier to hack, it will allow more to follow. Would it not?
 
When it comes to Nintendo, it seems the minority try to serve to opposing task:

We openly hack their console, but want Nintendo to succeed as a console manufacturer.
We used ROMs, but want legacy service from Nintendo.

We justify one to justify the other.
 
I'm pretty sure it has to do with the fact that the internet and facebook etc wasn't as big back then when the Dreamcast just came out in 1999 , now people buy things from hype and trends , now you're just not cool if you don't have a switch or a oculus quest 2 .
 

stranno

Member
Dreamcast used GD-Roms, which was the most secure anti-piracy measure ever seen until 1998. There were zero GD burners in the beginning and very few in the end, available to the public, none of those could replicate the Sega's mastering process anyway.

Problem was: Sega pirated himself. They added the CD-Rom support (Mil-CD) which was barely used in EIGHT games. And not only that, they also included the executable scrambling tool in the Katana SDK, which was an absolutely stupid move and allowed Utopia to create the boot CD and other groups to create the self-boot games.

Not an exclusive Sega thing, to be honest. Sony also pirated himself with the dashboard updates through the Memory Card on Playstation 2, which was never used officially and leaded to the FreeMcBoot exploit.

Nintendo, on the other side, did nothing wrong, other than buying an already developed tablet (Nvidia Tablet X1). All the Tegra series had the Fusee Gelee exploit, but it wasn't disclosed until months after the Switch's release. The Nintendo's thing, the software (Horizon OS), is very secure, unlike the Sony's one. Only one software exploit has been discovered on 4.1.0 (PegaScape) and SciresM himself (the developer of Atmosphere) has said that another software kernel exploit is unlikely.
 
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BlackTron

Member
Not gonna lie this comparison seems bizarre to me.

They both have in common that their predecessor bombed. Everything else seems kind of silly.

Just look at Switch's sales figures. No matter how much you might try to contort piracy into being as crippling a problem as it was for DC, it just clearly isn't.

I think DC and Wii U are far more alike than DC and Switch TBH (and they're still very, very different).
 
It's a portable, you take it off the dock and it still works, unlike the Dreamcast or PlayStation.
It's a Nintendo portable with Pokémon.... and people don't get why it's a success!

Nintendo has no money problem, SEGA was almost dead and alive when the CD came in the market. There was mostly no ads and they were not well targeting the core audience. The WiiU is Nintendo's DC... and I love it!
 

Trimesh

Banned
Problem was: Sega pirated himself. They added the CD-Rom support (Mil-CD) which was barely used in EIGHT games. And not only that, they also included the executable scrambling tool in the Katana SDK, which was an absolutely stupid move and allowed Utopia to create the boot CD and other groups to create the self-boot games.

Mil-CDs were not inherently a problem - the problem was that the when you booted a Mil-CD it was supposed to lock out any further data reads from the optical drive until the next hardware reset - but this lockout was in fact reversible in software - the mechanism needed to do so was not obvious and was not documented anywhere, but it was figured out anyway. Once again, attempted security through obscurity fails.
 

stranno

Member
Mil-CDs were not inherently a problem - the problem was that the when you booted a Mil-CD it was supposed to lock out any further data reads from the optical drive until the next hardware reset - but this lockout was in fact reversible in software - the mechanism needed to do so was not obvious and was not documented anywhere, but it was figured out anyway. Once again, attempted security through obscurity fails.
The Mil-CD protection was the scrambled executable. That was figured out because the scrambling tool was packed with the Katana SDK.

You can still use that tool nowadays.
 
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But doesn't the fact that hacking is both possible to begin with and you yourself admitting to hacking, pave the way to the Switch being fully homebrewed well before a successor system arrived and making hombrew a common place for Nintendo platform?
No, that doesn't really follow to me. By 5 years into its lifecycle Wii U was completely open for homebrew to anybody. 5 years into the Switch lifecycle and we are still closed for business for homebrew for the vast majority of consoles. We have yet to see if any exploit will surface that will both allow easy softmodding and remain available through system patches (as both Wii U and 3DS have done).
 

Neo_GAF

Drunken Prophet
i think i understand what you mean, but sega at that time and nintendo NOW are two complete different states in the history of videogames.

nintendo sold despite switch being hacked to its barebones more games than ever in their history. the nes, ds and even wii will not hold up. switch sells so much and it is unbelievable. i dont have as many games on my switch as back then on my wii or ds, but the catalog is insane and people are willingly buying inferiors versions of their favourite games on the go. this is significantly different from dc or any other system ever. we are truly living in the best time ever for a videogamer. games basically everywhere for free(EGS and game pass) and good games for "on the go". so many games only available on older consoles or SWITCH. this is legendary.
 

McRazzle

Member
Online.

On the subject of Switch Online, I feel Iwata, if he was still alive today, would have had a different approach to Nintendo Online.
WTF?
Iwata is the reason Nintendo online is the condition it's in.
He had 13 fucking years to fix their online service, but he was too busy going after Youtubers and fan projects instead.
 

Trimesh

Banned
The Mil-CD protection was the scrambled executable. That was figured out because the scrambling tool was packed with the Katana SDK.

You can still use that tool nowadays.

You are missing the point - if you build a Mil-CD image using the tools in the SDK and boot it then the "read data" functionality on the GD-ROM drive is disabled before control is transferred to the payload - the only commands that still work are the ones associated with playing audio tracks.
The scrambling was just obfuscation - and you didn't even need the tools in the SDK to figure it out, because all you had to do was reverse the loading algorithm in the boot ROM.

If the system had been implemented in exactly the same way - but the flag in the GD-ROM controller that disabled data reads was actually permanent and only clearable via a hardware reset then the system would have been secure. If you have access to the SDK, you can try this for yourself - just build a Mil-CD image with a payload that attempts to read data off the CD and boot it. The reads will all fail - then unscramble the executable and replace the boot section with the one on the Utopia boot disc - and the reads will start to work.
 

Dream-Knife

Member
The amount of people who pirate or hack games is much lower than people think. Also, piracy culture isn't what it was 20 years ago. Today there are more consumers, and less people who know how to use a computer beyond using chrome.

In addition, Switch is a handheld, hackable switches haven't been produced in 3.5 years, game prices aren't as high due to inflation (wages have stagnated though), and Nintendo's IPs are well established at this point that you know what you're buying.

Everyone pirated on PS1, but that was 25 years ago.
 
I think you are under appreciating how easy it was to play pirated Dreamcast games. You literally burnt a normal CD and you were done - and everyone had CD burners back then. It's actually kind of insane to think about how easy it was, especially considering it was so early in the life of the system. You can play burnt games on a PlayStation or PlayStation 2 with a memory card these days, but during their prime you needed soldered mod chips still (or were down with wrecking your console's drive doing hot swaps).
 
I love Nintendo and the Switch, which is why I'm so critical about it. Could I be comparing apples and oranges here? Or does it seem as though the things that plagued the Dreamcast are also plaguing the Switch today? If you are the majority of consumer, you don't see this, if you are the minority, we justify it.

Hardware.

Both consoles come from an extremely poor predecessor, the Sega Saturn and Wii U. The Saturn was expensive in its respected generation and the Wii U's had lack of 3rd party support and an unconventional controller. Many Wii U loyalist combatively blame other reasons (I'm was one of them too) why the Wii U failed.

The Dreamcast was ousted by the PlayStation 2 and Xbox's games and graphics. Today, we see PC hardware take an interesting turn in gaming as they have become smaller, portable and handheld, The UMPC. Both the SNES mini and Switch have caused a sort of Pandora's box in creating Emulation handhelds and Handheld PCs.

Online.

When talking about the Dreamcast, the entire gaming industry have universally said the Dreamcast was before its time. (Though sarcastically, when would have been the right time given that Xbox would release 2 years after?)
The Switch, on the other hand, has poor Online service for a premium price.

On the subject of Switch Online, I feel Iwata, if he was still alive today, would have had a different approach to Nintendo Online.

Pirating.

Because the Dreamcast used CD-ROM as opposed to its rival the PlayStation 2's DVD ROM, it suffered with game pirating crippling game sale, the final nail in its fate. Today, The Switch has been pirated, home-brewed all the way down to the Operating System Level, quicker than any Nintendo console before it. Not only have games been ported to PC, but the entire Switch OS can be emulated. All of this before the Switch gets an official successor.

Both the Dreamcast and Switch are from different generations and different times. The dreamcast had cult classic games, but suffered from timing being between a fast, changing market. The Switch in a way is suffering in silent given its popularity.

You and I know we can't really compare Switch to PCs even when PC now can emulate the Switch 1:1 So with that, would things be a lot different for Switch then if Sony and Microsoft had handhelds?
The Saturn wasn't poor, but the best console ever made and Piracy was far more wide spread on the PS than the Dreamcast.
The difference was the PS still sold loads of hardware and had massive 3rd party support. You only needed a small percentage of PS fans to actually buy games to still make millions in profit
 

Ozzie666

Member
Playstation 1 sales are even more impressive considering the amount of 'silvers' and people selling them. Not to mention cd burners. It was pretty rampant. From my understanding Japan consumers were fairly against Silvers and piracy in general, but sales in the rest of the world were crazy. Anyone one remember legitimate video game shops with the secret binder of silvers under the counter? Unlike the 16 bits, you didn't need every changing devices to keep up. Sega dropped the ball on Dreamcast, barrier to entry for copied games was fairly low. No mod chip, no nothing. Switch still has a barrier of entry, and those first generation switches are getting harder and harder to come by.

Saturn has silvers too, but they had such poor world wide sales, they couldn't do what Sony did. Survive.
 
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