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The Very True story of how Dreamcast almost released in 1996 and could have beaten PS2

It is simple you get Market share you get wide development support and a wide range of games, no different from the MD or PS. Car games have been around for years, I think the likes of Horror and music games owe a lot to PC development myself. I remember the amazing Virtual Guitar on the PC in 1992 or 93, you had Alone in the Dark series and you even had the likes of Dr Huazer on the 3DO, The PS just made everything more mainstream and I'm not knocking it for that.

Good point to bring up AiTD, Dr.Hauzer, Virtual Guitar (which I haven't heard of until now tbh). Those games certainly did exist pre-PS1 and I guess with a more fully-backed Saturn more of those type of games would've came to it. I mean Saturn did get AiTD ports anyway, they were even going to get RE2 until Capcom cancelled it internally.

Also, you talk of supporting the MD late, but it got SEGA nowhere. The likes of Comic Zone, VectorMan 2, Ristar Ooze all flopped or sold in low numbers. It was clear that after 7 years of being on the market Mega Drive owners had enough and were looking for new stuff, even the later Sonic games like S&K, Sonic 3 sold in nothing like the numbers of Sonic 1 or 2 despite a massively expanded userbase. SEGA thought people wouldn't have the money to jump on the next gen, but they did and we were ready to jump and that was SEGA's huge miscalculation in the west IMO

There're are few factors here we wouldn't know about; for starters, the actual number of cartridges SoA and SoE decided to manufacture for those games, which would have absolutely impacted total sales. We know SoA limited the production of Phantasy Star IV in America for example, due to it being what they deemed a niche genre, but for all they knew the game could've sold more copies if they manufactured more carts (and playing the game ATM, I can definitely say it would've gained more sales based on the quality alone).

Sonic is more of a curiosity here because I think it was well-known at the time the game was cut into two halves, which may've impacted the number of people wanting to buy it, if they were expecting a full game. Maybe some of them were waiting for a cartridge release combining the two together, but it never came, therefore they never bought either version individually. We simply don't really know on that one, but I'd like to think it's at least part of why those numbers were lower. There's also the possibility that Sonic 3/S&K didn't seem as stand-out to the market by 1994 compared to something like Donkey Kong Country (even if the gameplay were just as good if not better), due to it being "normal" 2D.
 
I'm not saying your view is wrong BTW, but that's what I think. I do agree with you over the SVP chip mind; Again SEGA should have stuck with the original plan of making it in a lock-in cart, so the user would only need to buy it once and it could have opened up the door to some more 3rd party games. But for me SEGA needed to do what basically Nintendo does, Sony did and what MS did with the Xbox. You drop more or less all In-House support and have all your In-House teams move to make games for the new consoles and leave the old console to price cuts and 3rd party developer support

Okay, I can understand this POV tbh. I think a middleground, where Sega does a SVP add-on lock-in style cartridge, and does a MD/MCD combo unit as a new SKU instead of 32X, for 1994 while shifting 1P dev fully to Saturn would've been a pretty good move. A 2.5D Sonic game in the Saturn's 1st year would've been technically impressive and had a lot of brand name power to go along with it, for example. Not cancelling the Eternal Champions sequel would've done a lot for Saturn, too, and making Vector-Man a 2.5D type of action-adventure run 'n' gun would've worked well for a Year 1 Saturn game.

Maybe that type of software strategy allows them to keep the Saturn design close to the final version we actually got, which'd of meant no BC, but they could always have either released a BC add-on module for Saturn to play MD and Mega CD games in 1997, about when the remaining MD owners would want to finally jump to a next-gen option, this could've also worked to add value to the Saturn ecosystem at that point if that type of add-on were priced cheap enough ($50 MSRP), and it'd avoid the stink of being an add-on to "boost" Saturn performance in the way the 32X was seen in relation to the MegaDrive.

You still get a scenario where PS1 is the better 3D machine, but you also get a Saturn that's plenty capable in its own right, isn't rushed to market in America, gets key 1P titles in the first year that compare well to PS1's stuff while having pre-existing brand recognition (Sonic, Eternal Champions, etc.) and gives more time for a proper SDK toolset and environment to come about (Saturn SDK environment drastically improved by late 1995, about when the system would've normally came out in NA to begin with). And, it also maybe gives Sega more incentive to lean on games designed for the home rather than relying as strongly on arcade ports of magnitudes-more-powerful Model 2 games, playing to Saturn's strengths better and creating a sense of exclusivity for Model 2 games that could've driven more traffic to arcades.

I'd of love to see what that timeline'd of entailed. IMO, a strong-but-not-completely-dominant 1st-place Sony, healthy 2nd-place Sega, and pretty-close 3rd-place Nintendo (home console-wise; they'd lead in portables still). We'd probably of still had Sega around for Dreamcast and their relationship with Microsoft even stronger, MS basically leveraging Sega through proxy to battle Sony without doing so directly and, possibly, see Sony support Nintendo more directly at least in portable space (meaning no PSP, but Sony supporting the DS with games and hardware design, enhanced premium models akin to the JVC/Hitachi-style Saturn variants, etc.). It's an interesting thought experiment for sure.

EDIT: Sorry about breaking this up into two posts; GAF has been really weird the past week "running into problems" with posting some of my replies. Dunno if it's a glitch or bug or what, certain comments that aren't even that long just fail to post unless I break them up into smaller ones.
 
I'd of love to see what that timeline'd of entailed. IMO, a strong-but-not-completely-dominant 1st-place Sony, healthy 2nd-place Sega, and pretty-close 3rd-place Nintendo (home console-wise; they'd lead in portables still). We'd probably of still had Sega around for Dreamcast and their relationship with Microsoft even stronger, MS basically leveraging Sega through proxy to battle Sony without doing so directly and, possibly, see Sony support Nintendo more directly at least in portable space (meaning no PSP, but Sony supporting the DS with games and hardware design, enhanced premium models akin to the JVC/Hitachi-style Saturn variants, etc.). It's an interesting thought experiment for sure.

Sony was always going to have better Hardware, SEGA could not match the PS $500 million dollar budget. But a SEGA focused on just one platform could have put up a much better fight and maybe even have beat the N64 and come.2nd. It's not always about having the best system to develope on, the most powerful system winning outright as the likes of the Cube and Xbox show against the PS2

I don't get the point over Eternal Champions either.It didn't sell that great on the Meg Driive, the Mega CD version sold like crap and the spin offs sold poor too, so why one would expect a Saturn version to be a smash puzzles me a little, sorry.

Sadly we will never know how much better SEGA would have done without the 32X. Also with regard to the DC SEGA made some silly mistakes... Rushing the Hardware out in Japan and key software titles like Rally 2. I also think SEGA rushing out Daytona USA on the Saturn was another fatal mistake
 

Knightime_X

Member
Would be terrible. Every console added something.
I disagree.
Sega Saturn would've continued with 2d graphics and Arcades would likely have beefier 2d games.
There is no telling how awesome 2d could have been if 3d wasn't forced the way Sony pushed it.

Sure, we would've gotten 3d eventually, but hardware would've also improved.
The 3d games could have looked better due to 2d generation lasting a tad bit longer.

Something like N64 had power closer to dreamcast and dreamcast closer to Xbox.
In another timeline this TOTALLY happened and god knows what legendary games lie there that we'll never know about.
 
Sony was always going to have better Hardware, SEGA could not match the PS $500 million dollar budget. But a SEGA focused on just one platform could have put up a much better fight and maybe even have beat the N64 and come.2nd. It's not always about having the best system to develope on, the most powerful system winning outright as the likes of the Cube and Xbox show against the PS2

Well we can agree to the points that PS1 was always going to have the better 3D hardware and that the most powerful console rarely wins its generation. I do also agree that a better Sega would've edged Nintendo out that generation on the home console front to take 2nd, and with them both being pretty strong PS1 while still 1st would've seen lower overall sales. Likely closer to the 60 - 70 million LTD range vs. what it actually saw in 100 million LTD.

I don't get the point over Eternal Champions either.It didn't sell that great on the Meg Driive, the Mega CD version sold like crap and the spin offs sold poor too, so why one would expect a Saturn version to be a smash puzzles me a little, sorry.

TBF, Sega didn't necessarily have a robust marketing budget for Eternal Champions, probably didn't push a ton of carts out to shelves, and had that much more of a reduced marketing budget for the Sega/Mega CD version. That said, it still had its fanbase, and with Sony locking up MKIII exclusivity for PS1 for six months, Sega needed something to counter that type of fighter.

Eternal Champions would've been that game, while also garnering more goodwill with their MegaDrive/Genesis fanbase which could've only helped moving into the 5th gen. So it was a mistake on their part to shelve it for Virtua Fighter in the West, considering VF never really caught on outside of Japan and parts of Asia anyway.

Sadly we will never know how much better SEGA would have done without the 32X. Also with regard to the DC SEGA made some silly mistakes... Rushing the Hardware out in Japan and key software titles like Rally 2. I also think SEGA rushing out Daytona USA on the Saturn was another fatal mistake

Sega basically made almost all the same mistakes with Dreamcast in Japan that they did with Saturn in America WRT their launches, so it's not too surprising that what fate befell Saturn in the West befell Dreamcast in Japan 😢.
 
Sega basically made almost all the same mistakes with Dreamcast in Japan that they did with Saturn in America WRT their launches, so it's not too surprising that what fate befell Saturn in the West befell Dreamcast in Japan 😢.
Yeah. SEGA had a nasty habit of rushing out software, more so if its share price dropped with any announcement of a delay
 

Futaleufu

Member
This story reminds me of how the gaming landscape could've changed if Atari had released the Jaguar in 1991 instead of 1993
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Back in the 90s, Sega's arcade division ruled. So home consoles were second fiddle. People were still loving arcades. Not exactly sure when but somewhere around 2000 maybe is where gamers said forget it to dusty arcades and played games at home which were close enough.

Sony never had to deal with that so their gaming budget could go all into PS.

Sega back then was dabbling with consoles, Game Gear, arcade machines, they even had that Pico thing. They were so spread out shotgunning whatever they could. All the while Sony was PS1 and Nintendo was one console and one handheld. Forgot, Nintendo also had Rare that did some arcade games like KI.

What also hurt Sega too (IMO) was their reliance on arcadey games and ports. Not as bad as Atari releasing Centipede and Joust on a million platforms and computers, but it gets to a point you need some different games as the trend at that time was more complex games.
 
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I still have my Dreamcast, I really liked it and felt sad that it was one of those consoles that met it’s unfortunate demise. At the end of the day, although I love almost all consoles, I’m a Sony gal. I appreciate those older consoles for the memories and the ideas that next gen consoles have still continued using.
 

ParaSeoul

Member
Dreamcast didn't fail because it didn't sell,it was selling well but not enough to get Sega out of the hole it dug itself into. It failed because Sega didn't have enough money to keep supporting the thing,it would have had to be doing PS2 numbers to keep Sega afloat.
 
Yeah. SEGA had a nasty habit of rushing out software, more so if its share price dropped with any announcement of a delay
Hmm perhaps software-wise, but the only two big examples of that platform-holder wise were Sonic Adventure and Daytona USA. Virtua Fighter would've qualified except Sega actually had VF Remix ready before the surprise May launch, Pandemonium Games covered it in a documentary. So that was a self-inflicted wound probably to encourage double-dipping when they could've put out Remix from the get-go even with the May launch tbh.

But I was speaking more about in terms of the hardware because even with the Saturn's May launch, most of the launch games were held off until September, when it was going to release originally. Other games like Panzer Dragoon probably would've gotten a bit more polished with a September launch but they were pretty much complete when they dropped even if it ended up being pre-September. In general though with Dreamcast, IMO they launched it too soon in the Japanese market, they should've considered delaying until Q1 1999 for that region or even Q2 1999 if it could've meant getting DVD for example.

Would've still gotten them some time ahead of PS2 and with a feature the PS2 ended up almost 100% selling off of in that region for the first year, taking that away from Sony. Could've worked out real well for them, although it probably would've meant a delay in NA until likely September 2000, putting them VERY close to PS2. But I think even in that timeline Dreamcast would've done decently enough, thanks to stronger Japanese support with a later launch in that territory, and it would've gotten them a pretty comfortable 2nd place leaving Nintendo and Microsoft to fight for 3rd place and MAYBE fight with Sega for 2nd later on in the generation.

Back in the 90s, Sega's arcade division ruled. So home consoles were second fiddle. People were still loving arcades. Not exactly sure when but somewhere around 2000 maybe is where gamers said forget it to dusty arcades and played games at home which were close enough.

Sony never had to deal with that so their gaming budget could go all into PS.

Sega back then was dabbling with consoles, Game Gear, arcade machines, they even had that Pico thing. They were so spread out shotgunning whatever they could. All the while Sony was PS1 and Nintendo was one console and one handheld. Forgot, Nintendo also had Rare that did some arcade games like KI.

What also hurt Sega too (IMO) was their reliance on arcadey games and ports. Not as bad as Atari releasing Centipede and Joust on a million platforms and computers, but it gets to a point you need some different games as the trend at that time was more complex games.

Dunno, was this really as hurtful as people say? Or was it Sega's way of doing it that wasn't great? What I'm saying is, Sega didn't really do a lot of extra content into the home port of their arcade releases, compared to say Namco. Just look at all the content Namco added to the Dreamcast port of Soul Calibur, or the PS1 port of Tekken 3 (which IMO was the best full-package fighter that whole generation).

A lot of Sega's arcade ports to Saturn were rather bare, then you get to the Dreamcast port of Daytona USA that lacked courses present in the Time Warner version of Daytona CCE for example. Arcade-style games still did pretty well that gen; look at Tekken, or the Burnout series, Tony Hawk games etc. And it's not like Sega's games lacked depth; VF3 was arguably the most complex 3D fighter on the market at least until VF4 came out, Virtual-On had a lot of depth to it, there was a lot of skill and nuance involved with games like Daytona USA, even.

But, they didn't tend to add a lot of home-exclusive content to their ports and I think that kind of did hurt them as time went on.

This story reminds me of how the gaming landscape could've changed if Atari had released the Jaguar in 1991 instead of 1993

Thought that one was about Atari releasing Panther in 1991 instead of cancelling it, and giving Jaguar an extra year of development?

Which would've been an interesting timeline in its own right.
 
Hmm perhaps software-wise, but the only two big examples of that platform-holder wise were Sonic Adventure and Daytona USA. Virtua Fighter would've qualified except Sega actually had VF Remix ready before the surprise May launch, Pandemonium Games covered it in a documentary. So that was a self-inflicted wound probably to encourage double-dipping when they could've put out Remix from the get-go even with the May launch tbh.
VF remix didn't come out in Japan until May 1995, So I doubt it would have been ready for the early rollout of the Saturn in the USA. Panzer Dragoon was quality software it didn't need any more delay. It was more games like Clockwork Knight, Daytona USA, Victory Goal that needed to be held back for a few more months of programming, likewise for the likes of Shenmue, Sega Rally 2, Sonic Adv on the DC.

Still going early can work out as MS showed with the 360 LOL
 

Rest

Banned
sega killed sega consoles

Yup.

SEGA made too much hardware, charged too much for it, oversaturated the market, confused their customerbase, and had super shitty direction in North America.

Too much hardware: SEGA Genesis, SEGA CD, SEGA 32X, SEGA Nomad (←those are all just the Genesis,) SEGA Game Gear, SEGA Pico, SEGA Saturn. Those all came out within 7 years.

Charged too much: The SEGA Saturn was $399. That's $750 today. No one was going to pay that for a console that was similar to others that cost way less.

Oversaturated the market: The 32X and the Saturn were both released in 1994. The 32X was an add on for the Genesis that kinda-sorta-almost made it a next gen console. The Saturn was an actual next gen console. As a consumer, how do you know which one to buy? Which is going to have more or better games? Where do you put your money?

Confused their customer base: See above

Shitty direction in North America: SEGA North America told developers and publishers that they couldn't make 2D games for the Saturn. Also, SEGA NA refused to allow publishers to bring RPGs to North America because "they're too Japanese." You know, RPGs like Final Fantasy, which became an absolute juggernaut on Playstation and sold millions and millions of copies all over the world. Not allowed on the Saturn. That's not even getting to the part where SEGA NA pissed off a ton of developers, publishers, and retailers with a surprise early release, catching publishers and developers flat footed with no games ready to print, and giving a TON of sales to a handful of large chains, and fucking over other large chains, regional stores, and local retailers. Retailers said "fuck you right back" and refused to stock the Saturn, locking it out of major portions of the North American market. Oh, and publishers and devs also cancelled a bunch of games, too.

And we haven't even gotten to the fact of the hardware bombs. 32X? Bombed. Nomad? Bombed. Saturn? Bombed. Dreamcast? Bombed. SEGA had such an unfocused plan in the 90s that it didn't matter how great the Dreamcast was, they burned bridges with industry partners, confused consumers, and kept stupid policies in place. (Remember the "no RPGs in North America" bullshit for the Saturn? The kept that nonsense up for the Dreamcast, even though they just watched Playstation customers go hog fucking wild on RPGs.)

SEGA stopped making hardware because they had their heads up their asses about what do develop, how much to spend on it, how to market it, and how to build a proper library.

Nintendo, SONY and Microsoft have none of those problems. They're all going to stay in the hardware business.
 
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