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Analysis Retro Hardware Sega Europe's Dreamcast launch planning document from June 1997 (GAF EXCLUSIVE!)

nush

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A long haul flight from wherever you are.
D Peripherals



Question of a multiplayer adapter is interesting as it shows again that the hardware spec was far from decided at the time. Dreamcast shipped with 4 controller ports so it's redundant.
 

theclaw135

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In retrospect, all the FPS games in 1999 hurt Sega's credibility in being able to keep up with industry trends. Dreamcast's launch window had nothing to ward off the collective wave of Quake 3, Unreal Tournament, etc. DC ports of those games took months to arrive.
 
Jul 24, 2016
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Slightly strange considering the type of paper, that using the table and other areas a a measurement that doesn't look like 90's print sheets, that looks like something out of the 2000's, and there's a lot of faux Dreamcast stuff out there, however who know may be reprinted.
Really interesting that they were considering publishing for Sony well before they pulled out of the console market.

They were considering publishing for 3DO as well, but they wanted control over the hardware for their games. By the time the situation worsened again to bring back the question of staying on the path Sony was the new focus, and again Sega backed off because they wanted control of the hardware and expected it to correlate with the software quality, also they wanted all the money since they were bleeding since 93-94.

So if the Saturn turned around (it didn't) or the Gamegear didn't require high expenses to keep a float (it did), or the "sequel" to the Gamegear was able to secure high production and marketing budgets ( it didn't) and sell better than the gamegear (it didn't) or if the 32X was a bigger deal than it was (it wasn't) or if the educational wing took off (it didn't) or if their insane arcade investments were as future proof as they though (they weren't) or brought in the spectacular profits they were predicting (not even close) Sega staying on hardware would have made sense if they hit a home run, somewhere, but they didn't, and still chose to stay, and they ended up hurting themselves severely as a result, while also launching a console they couldn't afford to launch, which was launched off margin+ some rich japanese guys money and some associated donors, which meant a limited sales and marketing campaign and not being able to flesh out the 'stand -out" features.

I actually think that if Saturn was the last console and they supported it for profit as much as possible until 98 Sega would have been in a better place than they were in 2001. A much better place, imo.
 
Jul 24, 2016
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Doomed to repeat history...

This doesn't make sense, how was MS doomed for being 100% correct? 360 was a big deal, Wii brought in an audience they got lucky obtaining anf sat on them until they dried out while the gaming narrative was focused on a titan 360 vs. a crumbling PS3 which was a massive commercial failure even after they turned things around. Then when Nintendo basically screwed up an passed every opportunity to keep or stabilize the Wii's non-gamer audience, Microsoft made Kinect and took whatever was still left and the Wii basically died in 5 seconds outside a niche group of Just Dance buyers. Which was a couple years after Nintendo said they weren't competing with the other two as Wii sales were starting to rapidly drop.


Most versatile console ever you could say they started Xbox Live.

Hmmm, they aren't that similar, MS already greenlit the Xbox project less than one full year after the console launch and Sega Net was still flaky. If you're just talking about being among the first to try integrated online in any form Phillips beat DC by 2 years anyway.
 
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I had the printout, that I photographed. It was actual A4 standard.
Which doesn't address or refute my point. Either way, as i said before (which you also dismissed) it could be real. Plus the paper isn't the only reason for skepticism.

BTW don't assume that people thinking the document may be suspicious think YOU intentionally are pushing out a fake document, I believe you clearly think its real so I do not believe you had ill-intentions.
 
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wtftad

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Well the excel spreadsheets I could show you for AAA games that were used during production and post production don't look nearly as clean as this doc.

...And there are cruse words all over them

...And people don't use spell check

Sorry to burst anyone's bubble but professional game development (at every level) isn't clean and tidy. Its mostly people working to a deadline. So shit has to get done.
"Play books" and "burn down charts" and all that shit do not look pretty. Those internal tools look mostly like a grizzly battle field; everything covered in red Excel highlights and human tears.
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
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These are very fascinating documents, thank you so much for sharing them. We need to preserve as much history as possible, especially for an industry notorious for burning everything deemed "old."
 
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wtftad

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Not too sure a Professional Document would say "Pissed off Retailers" but will give credit for finding that document.
If you are part of the same team that released the Saturn in Europe...and you are building a marketing plan for your next release in said market......a SWOT process is most certainly part of the planning rhythm.

You detail your previous launches Strengths.
You analyze your previous launches Weaknesses.
You point out/discuss your current plans/launches Opportunities.
You identify Threats to your current plan/launch (mostly competition).

If I was on that team and our heads were on the chopping block (which at this point in Sega's hardware life they most certainly were) I don't want to see bullshit like "Revisit key retailing partnerships and create a cohesive Teachable Point of View around our brand and how it can be leveraged to help them drive growth in key product categories". I want the team (at every level) to understand what went wrong "We pissed off retailers".

But all of this is moot....real marketing plans are painstakingly created Illuminated Manuscripts usually reproduced from an Incunable that only the highest order of marketing monks have access to. :goog_devil:
 
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If you are part of the same team that released the Saturn in Europe...and you are building a marketing plan for your next release in said market......a SWOT process is most certainly part of the planning rhythm.

You detail your previous launches Strengths.
You analyze your previous launches Weaknesses.
You point out/discuss your current plans/launches Opportunities.
You identify Threats to your current plan/launch (mostly competition).

If I was on that team and our heads were on the chopping block (which at this point in Sega's hardware life they most certainly were) I don't want to see bullshit like "Revisit key retailing partnerships and create a cohesive Teachable Point of View around our brand and how it can be leveraged to help them drive growth in key product categories". I want the team (at every level) to understand what went wrong "We pissed off retailers".

But all of this is moot....real marketing plans are painstakingly created Illuminated Manuscripts usually reproduced from an Incunable that only the highest order of marketing monks have access to. :goog_devil:
It is certainly interesting stuff, I'm just surprised at how terrible the grammar is and that they used the US Formatting of dates. :LOL:

I am looking at the document in awe simply for the incompetence. :) Feels like a "no shit sherlock" to these problems I guess. I do honestly feel for those who written this up as it I can imagine their final days of the Saturn were probably brutal.

SWOTs feel new though, but I can imagine that they are an old time thing.

Noticed Lion Head is mentioned but they formed a month later. Did Peter mention his intentions to make the Studio to SEGA UK a month before?
 
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v1oz

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It's says PC based hardware then lists the Hitachi SH4 that isn't even X86 and has more in common with the Sega Saturn than a PC.

Also it's interesting that they were aiming for a GPU at least as fast as the Model-3 arcade. But by all accounts VF3tb was far from arcade perfect.
 

wtftad

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It is certainly interesting stuff, I'm just surprised at how terrible the grammar is and that they used the US Formatting of dates. :LOL:

I am looking at the document in awe simply for the incompetence. :) Feels like a "no shit sherlock" to these problems I guess. I do honestly feel for those who written this up as it I can imagine their final days of the Saturn were probably brutal.

SWOTs feel new though, but I can imagine that they are an old time thing.

Noticed Lion Head is mentioned but they formed a month later. Did Peter mention his intentions to make the Studio to SEGA UK a month before?
Yeah, the whole SWOT process was late 60's early 70's and was used (and still is used) across many industries.
Peter worked for Bullfrog if I am not mistaken and Bullfrog released a crap ton of games for SEGA over the years. Generally speaking studios are not formed overnight and I can see any platform holder reaching out to previous/new studio partners for content/work especially for new hardware.

Could be fake or it could be real. I wouldn't dismiss it on the quality (or lack) of the grammar in the document.

Halo 2 for vista shipped the master disc with a development build error message containing a man pulling down his pants and showing his ass. This was part of the build process that would blink an annoying image of a dudes ass if someone didn't check in .ass files properly.
In this case it was because an old build machine was used to create a master image/submission build because the actual build machine was on the fritz.

This type of "unprofessionalism" happens all the time.
 
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nush

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"Invite Nintendo and Sony to publish on our format". Good idea

That's actually a Japanese company respect thing. Sega actually went to Sony and Nintendo and presented the Dreamcast to them as Sega had been presented their competitors consoles in the same way. You know they are going to say no anyway, but you give them the respect to refuse. "The door is open if you need/want".
 

RAIDEN1

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Couple of things missed out on the document: Low Points: Sega Saturn...Sega knew all too well that the PS-X wiped the floor with the Saturn globally...and they had a battered reputation to amend with the Dreamcast...the other part being: "The Great Unknown": -Sony, minute PS2 shows up Dreamcast days are numbered, they have the market briefly between 1998-2000 after that all its gone...if you think about it, Sega were on borrowed time throughout the life-span of the Dreamcast Project....(as a hardware manufacturer) they are fortunate to be still somewhat standing today otherwise they could easily have ended up like Atari/Commodore/3DO..
 
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Hulk_Smash

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Never realised the UK launch price was £399, makes the PS5 and Xbox Series seem incredible value in comparison.

That’s because today’s gamers are the only tech consumers that bitch and moan about new and better tech costing more money.
 
Jul 24, 2016
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A4 is A4, since the standard was introduced in the 70's. What a strange comment to make.

It's only strange if you are smart enough to differentiate the words "A4 paper" and "What the paper is made of" which seems to be an issue for you and the other guy for some reason. Reliability from brands was a big part in the 90's too, maybe neither of you were born yet.

Couple of things missed out on the document: Low Points: Sega Saturn...Sega knew all too well that the PS-X wiped the floor with the Saturn globally...and they had a battered reputation to amend with the Dreamcast...the other part being: "The Great Unknown": -Sony, minute PS2 shows up Dreamcast days are numbered, they have the market briefly between 1998-2000 after that all its gone...if you think about it, Sega were on borrowed time throughout the life-span of the Dreamcast Project....(as a hardware manufacturer) they are fortunate to be still somewhat standing today otherwise they could easily have ended up like Atari/Commodore/3DO..
3DO was in the same position as Sega after they dropped the Dreamcast, a third party software maker, so not sure what you mean by this. Difference is 3DO dropped out intentionally because of the 3DO fire sales, which greatly increased sales but price cuts and free game giveaways to compete with a major financial corporation like Sony is not Something a slightly-better than a startup company could really deal with. M2 production to compete and manufacture would have been a sunk cost, which is usual for consoles but 3DO was already heading in the red, best to sell the hardware division to Samsung and go third party with cash than go bankrupt, and move whatever debt is left over after the Samsung Sale to Panasonic. Of course, 3DO wouldn't survive but that's another story. I mean technically, Sega barely did as well, the merger is what really saved them.

As for the PSX, that's not the issue, PS2 isn't the issue either, I think most people forget that almost everything Sega did in the 90's made no profit or just broke even (before Dreamcast) in any division (Arcade, portable, console etc,) outside some exception in the first few years of the decade. The Saturn lost money quickly, the Dreamcast project was never going to "beat" Sony or "beat" a new comer like MS.

The whole point of the Dreamcast was to do ENOUGH, to have green and restrategize. Dreamcast was launched on margin and personal money from major investors in the company. They were literally making a bet in Vegas. By the time the Xbox demos and launch date was coming, as well as the Gamecube Sega was not in a position to continue, they even moved to a "low supply, focus on profit" phase and that didn't work either.

A lot of people make the Dreamcast seem like a Black and white story, it wasn't Sega was already in a bad position for years just people want to try and cling to Sega being some smart company run by geniuses, instead of the success of the Genesis being a fluke mostly caused by SoA which pissed of SoJ.
 
Jul 24, 2016
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It's says PC based hardware then lists the Hitachi SH4 that isn't even X86 and has more in common with the Sega Saturn than a PC.

Also it's interesting that they were aiming for a GPU at least as fast as the Model-3 arcade. But by all accounts VF3tb was far from arcade perfect.
VF3TB has nothing to do with the hardware, as Naomi is stronger (and cheaper) than the Model 3, so that doesn't cut it.
 

nush

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A long haul flight from wherever you are.
maybe neither of you were born yet.

He says to a guy with a fucking Terry Thomas avatar and name.. :messenger_tears_of_joy:



There's a noticeable group of over 40 GAF who assume they are talking to people younger than them and are completely condescending. Newsflash, there's loads of over 40's here but most of them are not using their age to bludgeon people to death with their opinions. You weren't even a bubble in your dads ballbag when I was born.
 
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marquimvfs

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Wait. I thought that it was a planning document. In that state, it's a mere list of topics for a reunion, or an index for a plan...
 
Jul 24, 2016
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He says to a guy with a fucking Terry Thomas avatar and name.. :messenger_tears_of_joy:

I don't have an avatar, nor do i get what your referrencing.

Also the Dreamcast released outside of japan in 1999, you don't need to be over 40 to use your brain, which you don't seem to be using anyway.
 
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Yeah it was most likely a poor conversation by Genki because of unfamiliarity with the DC hardware.
Which is naomi hardware, so it's likely they didn't really touch the arcade machine first or did so at the same time of making 3TB. It is a different architecture from Model 3 so that makes some sense.