Question from WrathOfTheNooB
Why did the Dreamcast have to die?
Of all the consoles of it's time, I'd say it was the least deserving...
Top Voted Answer
First thing to remember is that the Dreamcast was quite successful in Japan and enjoyed a full system lifespan lasting from fourth quarter 1998 all the way through first quarter 2007. When we're discussing this what we are really talking about is the lifespan of the console in the English speaking world.
Poor marketing played the biggest role in its demise, more so than any other reason yet given, though it was not the sole factor.
The DC did not have shipping issues at launch as untrustful else previously answered either. He's clearly confusing the Dreamcast with the PS2, which very famously did have availability issues at the time of its launch. The Dreamcast set a sales record with over 200,000 units sold at launch.
Below is a brief run down of factors that led to the systems eventual demise:
1. Poor marketing.
Sega's marketing department really dropped the ball with the DC. Advertising for the system post launch was rather sparse.
2. Lack of retailer trust.
Retailers were not soon to forget the costly Sega 32X fiasco, nor the all to short lived and poorly supported lifespan of the Sega Saturn. In most retail stores, the Dreamcast merchandise was relagated to as minimal shelf space as possible in a typically out of the way area within the electronics department. The already dying N64 was given better, higher visibility shelving generally.
3.Poor leadership at Sega of America (SoA)
Peter Moore, who was during that time period the president of Sega of America, cared more about lining his pockets with cash and making his resume look good than he did about tending to the company he was suppossed to be running. Well, he ran it alright, right into the ground. What happened was that Sega of Japan's president, Mr. Isao, died and Moore manipulated something the man had said in a statement/speech or something not long prior to remove Sega from the hardware business. Mind you, it was a chaotic time at Sega so I think most of the employees honestly beleived they were doing the right thing. Not long after that Peter Moore contracted out SoA's hardware development department to Microsoft to aide in the development of the Xbox. This placed Moore right where he wanted to be and sure enough, Microsoft "hired him away" from Sega for a staggering amount of cash and incentives. What better way to get in good with your future employer than to sabotage the competition, right?
This was really the lesser of the issues, but Sega really did still have some rolling debt dating back to the nearly disastrous Saturn development fiasco. Nothing that the success of the Dreamcast couldn't have solved given another year or two on the market, but it still played a factor nevertheless.
5. Lack of localized titles
Again, this goes back to poor management at SoA. Sega of japan was cranking out tons of awesome first party titles, but Sega of America didn't think the US market would care about them so they relied heavily on games from third party developers. Remember kids, Nintendo localizes nearly 90% of their titles for English speaking markets and has had great sales success from doing so.
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Taken from an article about Dreamcast, this excerpt explains the reason behind the console's fall:
"What happened was that after the success of the Megadrive (Genesis) Sega got all kooky and seemed to put out a new system (or variation) every month. They had the Sega CD, the Master Converter, The Genesis 2 and 3, a Megadrive/CD combo, the 32X add on, a Megadrive/CD/32X combo, and finally the Saturn in addition to several other systems that were announced but never saw the light of day like the Neptune or the Sega VR system. This gave Sega a reputation for vaporware. So when the Saturn got stomped by the Playstation and N64 instead of supporting their already established user base with the Saturn, Sega decided to go one better and came out with a whole new system, the Dreamcast. And while it is a superior system in every way (and still hasn't shown it's age in my opinion) Sega made the mistake of not making the Dreamcast backwards compatible with the Saturn. That meant that all the loyal Sega people had to shell out $250 for a brand new system that essentially did the exact same thing as their Saturn they just bought a year before. And while the Dreamcast did eventually attain a library of 200+ games (most of which look and play as good as anything on the newer systems today) it suffered greatly from the gaming public's fear that in two years the system would be abandoned as soon as the next big competitor came along. Thus it never sold as well as it could have, and as soon as the Xbox, PS2, and Gamecube showed up people dropped this system like a bad habit."
Basically, SEGA went through a couple of problems. First, they weren't able to initially sell as many systems as they'd hoped to because of a shipping error on the launch day. Next, the system only had few strong game titles to keep it up, whereas systems like N64 and playstation had many, many good titles.
The nail in the Dreamcast's coffin was the PS2. It had the capability to play DVDs, which at the time was a big deal, because not only was the system next-gen, but it play a format that was next-gen. So when it came out, people saved their money and bought it instead of buying dreamcasts.
It is simple, people had less faith in sega, the third party companys went to the ps2 and the n64, leaving the dreamcast out to dry.
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